DEAR ABBY: Our 40th wedding anniversary will soon be here, and my wife, "Nancy," and I are considering renewing our vows. We were married when I was in the service during the Vietnam War, so we had only a rushed ceremony with a justice of the peace.

I would like a full-blown wedding for my dear wife. I picture Nancy walking down the aisle wearing her white gown, looking as beautiful as the day we were first married. My children, now adults, think this is unnecessary and a waste of money. (We don't have much &

we're on Social Security.)

I think my wife deserves the wedding she never had. Nancy has been through so much stress with all the surgeries I've had. I feel the love of my life and mother of my children deserves the wedding she was dreaming of. What do you think?

"" STEVE W. IN PHOENIX

DEAR STEVE: Frankly, I think what you're considering is a beautiful gesture, but you have already given your wife the kind of MARRIAGE most women dream of &

a lifetime with a husband who demonstrates his caring and devotion. If you can afford the kind of renewal of vows you're considering and Nancy can still fit into that dress, then go for it. However, under no circumstances should you spend more than you can afford.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend "Julie's" 13-year-old daughter, "Marci," used to be a little overweight, but she has recently lost most of the extra pounds. Julie keeps telling Marci how great she looks "now." (I never heard her tell her daughter that she looked great when she was heavier.) I compliment Marci by telling her she looks terrific, but that I always thought she was beautiful &

no matter what her weight was.

In this day and age of eating disorders in young girls, what is the proper way to offer a compliment when a teenage girl loses weight so that she won't go overboard from suddenly hearing a lot of praise?

"" CONCERNED FRIEND IN DEERFIELD, MASS.

DEAR CONCERNED: Your way. To do otherwise could cause a girl to develop an eating disorder, if she doesn't already have one. You should also compliment her on her other good qualities because it's important that young women feel valued for more than the number on their bathroom scale or their dress size.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a middle-aged woman, dating a man my age. "Jack" and I are in the entertainment industry. (I'm a dance instructor, and he's a musician.)

When I have a cold, Jack refuses to see me until I am completely over it. He says he doesn't want to get sick. It has been a week since I've seen him. How does this strike you in terms of commitment, marriage, living together, being together as a couple?

I understand that Jack doesn't want to catch my cold, but we're a couple! It feels very weird to me, as though I'm not important to him. What's your take on this?

"" IN QUARANTINE IN MORRO BAY

DEAR IN QUARANTINE: If Jack plays a wind instrument, a cold could affect his ability to work. Another possibility might be that colds may hit him harder and last longer than they do you. Your boyfriend could also be germ-phobic or commitment-phobic.

I wish I could give you a conclusive answer, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait until you're no longer contagious, then "catch" it from Jack.

Dear Abby is written by , 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.