Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: You opened a can of worms by printing the letter from "Suspicious in Illinois" about her belief that "groups of men who fill stadiums" are told to "be in control of every major facet of life." She is obviously talking about the Promise Keepers organization that literally saved my marriage, but she needs to get her facts straight. The main objective of the Promise Keepers is to be men of integrity, men who can be trusted to do what they say -- starting at home with their families.

My husband reluctantly went to a Promise Keepers rally in Seattle a few years ago. When he came home he was a changed man. He said they spent an entire afternoon on "how to honor your wife," and he worked hard to live up to what he had learned -- like really listening to me, spending time alone with me (outside the bedroom), and insisting that the kids respect my decisions.

Our marriage immediately took a turn for the better. We still have our troubles, but because of Promise Keepers we're working them out. I'm glad my man is a Promise Keeper! -- JANE CULBERTSON, LAKE OSWEGO, ORE.

DEAR JANE: The vast majority of the mail I have received about the Promise Keepers has come from enthusiastic wives such as yourself. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: My husband belongs to that group "Suspicious" says preach that men should control every major facet of life. She's wrong, Abby. They aren't male supremacists.

Frankly, any group that helps my husband grow spiritually and brings him closer to me I will support 100 percent. Marriage is very difficult in this age, and we need all the help we can get.

I handle the finances in my family because I'm better at it than my husband, and we're partners who use each other's abilities to build a successful marriage. -- HAPPY MY HUSBAND KEEPS HIS PROMISES, NORFOLK, VA.

DEAR HAPPY: If you are handling the finances, you would hardly qualify as a subjugated woman. Thank you for the input. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I have just returned from serving as a volunteer for one of those conferences that "fills stadiums full of men." I heard 100 percent of what was said during a two-day Promise Keepers conference of about 55,000 men, which my husband and several friends attended.

At no time were the men told they should be in control of every major facet of life. No male supremacy messages were given at all. They WERE instructed to give that control to their Maker and God.

All day long I assisted attendees as they purchased T-shirts, caps, books and tapes to take home to their families. The men treated me with the utmost respect and honor, thanking me for my willingness to volunteer my time.

They spoke of their wives with love and respect. Nothing was said or done that was in any way demeaning or condescending to women. The Bible was used as the source for all instruction. The Bible speaks of the leadership of men, but never in such a way as to put down women.

My husband and I have just celebrated 30 years of marriage. When he began to assume his God-given responsibilities, our marriage improved. We have worked together for 25 years, and the biblical principles that have governed our marriage have also governed our business.

Thank you for the chance to speak my mind. -- CHERYL CRAIN, LEWISVILLE, TEXAS

DEAR CHERYL AND THE MANY WOMEN WHO WROTE IN SUPPORT OF PROMISE KEEPERS: Thank you for your heartfelt input. I learn from my readers every day, as my readers say they learn from me, and I thank you for your candor.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600