SALT LAKE CITY — George Shannon is quick to point out a particular personal shortcoming that still causes him some regret: Though he was a great provider to his wife, Carol, after 41 years together, habit, not passion, drove their union. Whenever an adjustment was needed in the relationship, Carol deferred to him. He almost always got his way.

Then, in 2010, an event that nearly killed her was the death of that well-established pattern.

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