Today's families: a work in progress

I appreciated that your Feb. 19 article "When a part-time job equals full-time work" highlights the new trend of dual-career couples choosing to have one spouse switch from full-time to part-time employment. However, it sounds as if the problems still created in such households do not stem from this arrangement, but rather from the growing problem of narcissism.

My husband and I recently moved because he finished his doctoral degree and got a very good job offer elsewhere. I gave up my full-time job to relocate and, considering the tough economic times, have had difficulty securing full-time work in our new area. I have since picked up a part-time position and gladly use the extra hours in my day to take care of all the necessary household chores I can. This way, my husband and I are able to spend our evenings enjoying one another. We spend more quality time together and he is less stressed because he comes home able to unwind after a long day at work. I am not angry because I have done more of the household chores than he. On the contrary, I am very happy to have been able to contribute to strengthening our relationship by giving us more time to do fun things together and to relieve some of his stress and workload. Likewise, my husband is extremely appreciative and supports our relationship in any way he can.

The bottom line is that marriage is not about an equal-opportunity arrangement where each side gives and gets an equal amount. It is about a commitment to each other, unconditional love, and putting others ahead of oneself - such an attitude is what can make a marriage relationship so amazing.
Kellie Allman
Annapolis, Md.

Regarding your Feb. 19 article "One child, four parents": The father of my daughters and I have been divorced for 24 years - since they were 8 and 6. I have been remarried for 23 years and their father for 14. We have been participating en masse in our girls' lives for what seems like forever. And now that we have a grandchild in common, we spend holidays - secular and religious - together. Everyone benefits. Focusing on the kids helps, and seeing them happy is very gratifying. We used to be an oddity. It's nice to learn that we're becoming more the norm.
Ruth Ross
West Orange, N.J.

Seeing the US as a tyrant is cynical

In response to your Feb. 13 editorial "An empire too far": Your assertion that President Bush has precipitated a split in both NATO and the UN by requesting that they live up to their promises and resolutions has the cart before the horse. The failure of your argument lies in the presumption that the challenges we face today are born of a clumsy or cynical American drive for world dominance and tyranny.

Not true. The attendant diagnosis of "imperial overreach" is a defeatist and cowardly justification for inaction, appeasement, and accommodation of a regime responsible for killing more Muslims than any other single agent in our generation. Iraq illegally possesses weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein clearly has no compunctions against employing them. At some juncture, the US has a mandate from its citizens to do the right thing when the interests of a minority (France, Germany, and Belgium) prevent multinational organizations from defending the liberty that inspired their charters. President Bush is valiant to do the right thing when it clearly lies outside his best political interests. You should recognize and honor his fidelity to the oath of office.
David H. Gurney
Colonel, US Marine Corps

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