DEAR ABBY: Many of your published letters come from unhappy married women. Some of them seem unable to get objective advice that would make themselves and their marriages happier. I'm fortunate to be happily married (33 years) to a wonderful woman who has a clear perspective.
Three pearls of wisdom she could share:
1. Don't sulk because your husband can't read your mind. Trust him; he'd like to help. And listen to your tone as you point out how he can.
2. The way you talk about him to your friends is an expression of your fidelity. Talk about him honestly, but with respect. If you do, he'll admire and encourage your close friendships and take a sincere interest in your friends as people. If your MO is to grouse and complain about him, in his mind and heart he will feel you're abandoning him.
3. Be clear that while your husband might say he'd like to treat you like a queen, you're both better off being equals -- partners, side-by-side. In our marriage, there is no "better half." There are two halves.
It's amazing how much joy we have experienced during our years together, based on this simple foundation. My esteem for my wife only grows each year -- something that seems impossible, but then again, fantastic things usually do. -- PETER, A GRATEFUL HUSBAND
DEAR PETER: Thank you for sharing those words of wisdom because they apply to husbands as well as wives. There's a saying: The higher the pedestal, the longer the fall. Partners who treat each other as equals and with respect -- and the key word is "respect" -- usually have long-lasting and happy unions. Those who complain behind a spouse's back, who denigrate rather than elevate, do not make themselves look better or their marriages healthier. I'm glad you wrote.