Dear Annie

Dear Annie: Early on in our marriage, we had occasional “what I need from you” meetings. I told him that when it came to Christmas, what I needed was something sparkly, something that smelled good and something soft. Then I proceeded to give him a few ideas in those departments. After that talk, he had a clear sense of how to please me, and he felt happier, too. We also had meetings in which we listed all household and child care tasks and divided them up.

I will also say that we have gone to marriage counselors for a series of visits roughly every decade. I have made the appointments, and he has begrudgingly gone, but he has always been happier and our marriage stronger for having done it. Clear communication has helped keep us happy.

— Sunny in Sarasota

Dear Sunny: Some people are resistant to the idea of plainly telling a partner their needs — but after hearing stories such as yours, you have to wonder why. Congratulations on 38 years of happy, communicative marriage.

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