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by Sheryl P. Kurland, author
Everlasting Matrimony Pearls of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 years Or More.


In this column – “Back-Talk!” – we go back to the real-life relationship experts – couples who have been married 50 years or more.  Husband and wife will each give their experienced answer to a relationship problem.  


I am engaged to a wonderful man whom I love dearly.  We have many things in common and enjoy our time together.  We have only one problem, but it is a big one.  He is a spender and I am a saver.  He loves to shop for clothes and electronics and only buys the best of everything.  When we travel, we stay in the finest hotels and enjoy great meals.  I certainly can't complain about that, but I have simple tastes, am satisfied with much less, and my bank account and investments are substantial.  He, on the other hand, has very few assets.


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I love my wife, but lately she’s developed a negative attitude.  In recent years, we have experienced a number of personal disappointments and family tragedy.  Things seem to have finally reached a calm, but my wife has turned into a total cynic.  Her negativity is draining the life out of me.  What can I say or do to help turn this situation around?  Please do not suggest counseling; she won’t go.  Samuel


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I have become an "interpreter," and it's driving me nuts.  My husband mumbles.  Our six-year old child speaks like a child.  So, when my husband and child talk to each other, conversations get completely jumbled.  Because I have an ear to understand both of them, I end up fielding questions, intercepting conversations, and interfering when arguments break out due to misunderstood words.  If I don't do this, then they are hearing wrong information from each other, and often get mad at each other.  I'm getting mentally exhausted.  I want to get out of this position, but I'm afraid of the bedlam that's certain to break out.  What solutions can you offer to resolve this entire situation?



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My husband dresses like a total slob on weekends but wears suits and ties during the week for his job.  Come Saturday and Sunday, he puts on the same ugly plaid shorts and raggedy t-shirts.  And he shaves only if we're going out on Saturday night.  It's very unappealing and makes me feel that he doesn't care about our relationship.  His excuse is "I work hard all week and like to relax on weekends.  I'm the same person no matter what I'm wearing."  I don't expect him to be a fashion statement, however, his "condition" is a real turn-off and I can't stand him hugging or touching me.  He says it wouldn't bother him if I was the way he is, which, of course, I would never be.  Am I being too harsh?  Can you shed some light on this controversy?
- Marie


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My wife and I met a lovely couple at church a few months ago and we often "double date."  We have been married 10 years, and the couple has been married 8 years.  We have noticed that the husband, every so often, says things that are denigrating and condescending to his wife.  Outwardly, she sloughs it off.  But we know his remarks must deeply hurt her feelings.  I'm not one to get involved in other people's business, however, my wife and I have been mulling over having a talk with the husband.  Do you think this would be appropriate?  If "yes," do you feel I should speak with the husband by myself, or both my wife and I should talk to him together?  Or do you think we should have a heart-to-heart with both of them at the same time?  The other concern is that by sticking our neck out, we are risking losing their friendship, and that would be more destructive to the wife.  What suggestions do you have?

- Bob


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My wife and I are having a major disagreement over who gets to do what and when.  We live in a two-story condominium.  Upstairs is "her" exercise room -- her pride and joy, and she exercises faithfully every night from 7-8 pm.  During that time, I relax and watch "my" programs on our big screen TV -- my pride and joy, located in the family room downstairs.  Soon, we are going to have major remodeling done downstairs, and all of the furniture has to be moved upstairs.  One area getting a facelift is the kitchen, which is predominantly "her" domain.  The remodeling will take 6-8 weeks.  The only place the big TV will fit is in the exercise room.  My wife is adamant that I cannot watch TV while she exercises.  She tells me to watch the TV in our bedroom, but it's just not the same on a small screen.  I asked her if she would modify her exercise schedule to trade off.  She refuses.  I think she should compromise, especially since the kitchen, "her" area, is where a major part of the remodeling is taking place.  We're at a stalemate.  Can you offer a fair solution?
- Max

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I have never been jealous of my wife until now.  She recently accepted a fantastic job in a company in which her peers are predominantly men.  I am so proud of her, but underneath I am anguished.  I have absolutely no reason to doubt her loyalty to our relationship but a sense of suspicion is already stirring.  Intellectually, I know this is ridiculous.  I just don't know what to do to stop the jealousy from getting out of control and possibly becoming destructive to our relationship.  How can I arrest these feelings?

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Do you have a relationship problem you need help resolving?  Submit questions to Sheryl Kurland, author of Everlasting Matrimony,
at  She’ll have your question answered by a couple married 50-plus years. 
Visit her book web site,

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