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Smile: You've got the supportive marriage they keep trying to get

Smile: You've got the supportive marriage they keep trying to get

Q: My wife has a good friend who will soon be married for the third time. Her first two marriages ended in divorce. The woman's soon-to-be husband will also be married for the third time. (One divorce — his second wife died.)

We attended her first two weddings, and now she wants us there for the third. I see this woman perhaps once a year, and I've never met her intended. They live locally.

I really don't want to go; I think it's a farce. A third wedding, even if at their house, seems a bit much. However, I know I'll end up going. My wife doesn't ask much from me, and yes, she thinks it's a farce, too.

I have all kinds of great lines that I'm not going to be able to use, but I'm at a loss.

Have you or any readers attended multiple weddings of the same person who wasn't related?

I don't remember what we gave her for the first two. Any suggestions?

Baltimore

A: I'm not sure what our experiences would bring to this, and as for the gift, you and your wife are veterans; you'll figure something out.

But thanks for the invitation to a group scoff.

I agree, the worst case is that this wedding is a farce and your swallowed one-liners will be wittily accurate. But it's also possible this is a chance at happiness for two people who have been through the ringer. I'd rather not be photographed in that particular piling-on.

For people who can't take the charitable view (or won't agree to have it forced upon them), my advice is normally to decline to attend. Either you root for the marriage or you don't go.

However, your reason for going is actually a sweet celebration of marriage unto itself — your wife doesn't ask much, and this is her good friend, so of course you go. Maybe that's the smile you bring with you to the ceremony: gratitude for having what so many people are willing to try more than once to achieve. A supportive partnership really is a beautiful thing.

And if that doesn't move you, then try the numbers: With three divorces between them, they're averaging 1.5 per, and they're getting hitched at their home. Surely it could be worse.

Come grow old with me — and please trim those nose hairs

Q: The love of my life is getting to the age where he really and truly needs to start using a nose-hair trimmer. How do I say that in nice words?

Wannabe Nice

A: He's the love of your life, that's a nice touch — and I suppose this is a fine opportunity to remind him that your growing old together remains your guiding dream and defining privilege, since this particular dream is sprouting signs of being well under way.

Unfortunately, the more cushiony your phrasing, the more consequential it's all going to sound, when we're really just talking nostrils here.

But if you don't have it in you to take his hands in yours and say, "There's no good way to say this: I think it's time we got you a nose-hair trimmer," then framing it in terms of growing old with the love of your life is the cushion I'd recommend.

Smile: You've got the supportive marriage they keep trying to get 08/10/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 9, 2010 4:10pm]

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