DEAR ABBY: I have been married to “Andrew” for five years. I consider him to be my best friend. We have known each other for six years. I am 38, and Andrew is 33.

My problem is Andrew thinks I’m 34. I didn’t exactly tell him my true age way back when, and he believes I am four years younger than I actually am.

We want children, and I know that this is the time to come clean. But I’m not sure how my husband will react when he hears the news, and I’m afraid he may leave me. I have prayed about this, and it seems the best course is the truth. What should I do? – YOUNGER THAN MY YEARS

It would be better to tell your husband the truth while your biological clock is still ticking, rather than wait until the alarm goes off and your ovaries shut down. Because you want to start a family, this is something you need to also discuss with your gynecologist because a pregnancy after the age of 35 can be considered “high risk,” and age can also have an impact on a woman’s ability to conceive. If Andrew loves you, I doubt that he’ll leave you – but if you lied on your marriage license, you committed fraud, and he may have the grounds to do so.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 15, and class pictures are coming soon – again. I think I look better in photographs when I am not smiling. If I don’t smile for my school picture, though, the photographers make a fuss over it and insist upon taking it over and over until I give in and smile. I explain why I don’t like to smile for pictures, but they won’t listen. What can I say to them that will get them to let me look the way I want in my pictures?

By the way, my parents don’t care what my school picture looks like because we get professional portraits done as a family each year. – “SAY CHEESE” IN FOLSOM, CALIF.

The only thing worse than a scowl is a smile that looks forced. If you prefer not to open your mouth and “grin,” that should be your privilege.

There is a compromise you can strike. For a more pleasant expression without “smiling,” just lift the corners of your eyes and mouth a quarter of an inch. (Try it in front of a mirror.) That’s what I recommend you do this year.

DEAR ABBY: Please help. My husband of 52 years is going deaf, but he refuses to get a hearing aid. He claims we don’t have the money. (Not true.) I have to tell him everything two or three times, and it’s making me crazy. Sometimes he’ll misquote something our pastor said in church, and I have to tell him he heard it wrong. What can I do? – LOSING MY SANITY IN GEORGIA

When the senses begin to erode, it is not uncommon for the person to go into denial. Contact your husband’s doctor, explain what’s going on and tell him or her that your husband needs to be evaluated by an audiologist. At his next annual physical, his doctor should refer him to one. That’s when you should assert yourself and not let him “forget” the appointment.

A hearing aid may – or may not – be the solution to your husband’s problem, but the cost of a hearing aid would be a small price to pay to save your sanity.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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