Dear Annie: I've known "Ted" all my life. About 10 years ago, I loaned him $1,000. He never repaid it, and I could really use that money now. Ted lives in a different city, and when I call him, he refuses to discuss it.
In the past, I had given Ted money outright, but this was absolutely a loan. I made sure he knew that, but I didn't ask for a promissory note or any interest. If I hire a lawyer to sue him for the loan, I'd lose half the money paying the lawyer.
Ted's mother once warned me not to loan money to friends. What can I do? - Should Have Listened
Dear Should: You could try to retrieve the money by suing Ted in small-claims court. You generally don't need an attorney to do this, but you are likely to lose the friendship permanently. You might want to warn Ted in advance of your intent if he isn't willing to discuss the loan and reach an agreement.
Dear Annie: You get lots of letters from husbands or wives who are unhappy and asking, "What went wrong?" Maybe the trouble is that while they were planning a wedding they forgot to plan a marriage.
I performed my first marriage ceremony 60 years ago and have done several hundred since. Some were in large churches with fancy flowers, string quartets and an exquisite reception. Some were in my living room with only the bride and groom in their Sunday clothes.
There is quite a difference between a wedding and a marriage. A wedding is the civil and/or religious ceremony that ends in the signing of a certificate making the whole thing legal. A marriage is a covenant between two people who promise to love, honor and cherish each other.
My advice to any couple planning the kind of wedding they will have is to first ask what kind of marriage they will have. - Retired Methodist Minister in Texas
Dear Minister: It's true that some couples are so focused on the trappings of a wedding that they don't give enough thought to what comes after. And what comes after is meant to last a very long time.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.