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Happy marriage recipe: communicate about big issues, let smaller ones slide

Q. I am getting married for the second time. My first marriage was a disaster because we had none of the same interests, lost the ability to communicate and stopped doing anything together. I’m certain that my “boyfriend” has bought a ring and plans to ask me to marry him. I love him, but I am scared to commit to another potential disaster. Can you give me some tips to avoid repeating the same mistakes?

Economic growth is missing ingredient

This year’s Republican presidential race has generated an unusual number of unusually bad ideas — Donald Trump on Muslims, Ted Cruz on carpet bombing, Marco Rubio on male footwear. It has also has produced one of the best: Jeb Bush’s 4 percent plan.

Flimsy, shallow and a bother just to watch

If you’ve seen one movie based on a Nicholas Sparks romance, you’ve seen them all. Like the others, “The Choice” bleeds sap and treacle. And the story, even by Sparks’ standards, is so lame I wanted to punch the movie in the face, so to speak.

Making plan for mom with Alzheimer’s should start with conversation

Q. I think my mother, who is in her late 70s, is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She is increasingly forgetful, and has become negative and nasty. She was never like this. My two brothers think that there is nothing wrong with her because they only visit once or twice a month and then stay for an hour or two. I’m with her on an almost daily basis. How can I convince them that she has a problem that we need to address?

End-of-life talks tough, but necessary

Q. I am in my late 70s. Although I have no life-threatening illnesses, I want to talk to my children about my end-of-life wishes. When they were here over the holidays, they absolutely refused to talk about it. They will be back in February, and I am determined to have the conversation. Please give me some advice on how to approach 40-year-olds who won’t have a discussion.

Dastardly deeds and fun with food are the right recipe for ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

Back in 2008, DreamWorks Animation scored big with “Kung Fu Panda,” a sharp-looking, action-packed, lovable little movie about believing in yourself, father-son relationships, master-student relationships and the funny side of overeating. It pulled in a massive $632 million around the world. Three years later, the same studio continued the same story with the same voice cast (Jack Black played the lazy but excitable and humorously annoying title character) in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which earned about $34 million more than the original.

Why ‘dieting’ is harmful

I really dislike the word diet, or more specifically, what it stands for. The root of the word is derived from the Greek diaita, which means “way of living.” Used in that context, I have no problem. It can mean: the way in which we eat. But, the vast majority of the time, that’s not the way the word is used. In our world, a diet typically refers to something temporary, associated with weight loss. And in this context, here’s the real skinny on diets: none of them truly work.

The power of the spoken word

As a child you may have used the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Your Best Life - The Chicken or the Egg

Something must come first, right? Well, this week we’re going to talk about which should come first in your workout, cardio or strength training. Humans need both, and it’s only through the combination of these (along with sound nutrition and adequate sleep) that we can ever hope to achieve our best health. In the health and fitness world it’s a cliché that “runners don’t lift and lifters don’t run.” Don’t be like this.

The greatest gift

The birth of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of the most important sequence of events of all history. His birth, life, death and resurrection are all part of the greatest gift. Jesus was God in the flesh.

To reduce prison growth, remember Texas

There’s much that policymakers don’t agree about these days, but something like a consensus is emerging about one issue: criminal sentencing reform. Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, moderates, President Obama, people who don’t like President Obama — many of them agree the United States imprisons too many people, and they even agree why that’s bad. Liberals agree with conservatives that locking up 2.3 million people nationwide is a waste of money. Many conservatives agree with liberals that it’s a waste of lives.

Cranberry sauce demands order

With Thanksgiving now in the rearview, guests gone and belts re-buckled, I have realized a few things about my family’s annual observance. Of course there are the memories, both saccharine and sad. There are the traditions and stories to be told.

Rookie’s bill would shine light on campaigns

Rep. Janna Della Rosa, R-Rogers, is a rookie, and she admits she made some rookie mistakes. During this past legislative session, her self-described rookie-ness got in her way as she tried to pass a bill that would have required legislative and statewide candidates to file campaign finance reports online in a searchable database. It failed in the House, 48-33, with 19 not voting, and never made it to the Senate.

A day of thanks

It would have been easy on Oct. 3, 1863, for President Lincoln — or anyone else — not to be thankful. The nation (or nations, depending on one’s perspective) was still mired in a terrible Civil War, and while the Union had enjoyed victories that summer in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, much bloody fighting remained. Earlier that year, Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, had been injured in a carriage “accident” caused by an assailant sabotaging the driver’s seat. Their beloved son, Willie, had died the previous year at age 11.