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

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a nice guy for two years. We started out as good friends and the relationship progressed from there. He's truly all that you could ask for. My dilemma is, he doesn't know how to read and write.

This is a very sensitive subject for him. He is 33 years old and works as a custodian for the school district. He earns a fraction over minimum wage and is making child support payments.

I have been very patient with him, but any time I raise the subject of his going back to school, we end up arguing. Now he has decided to take a part-time job in the evenings -- so there will definitely be no time for school. What am I to do? He thinks my pushing him to learn to read and write is about the money. It's not! He keeps saying he's leaving his reading and writing "in God's hands." How can I help him? -- WITS' END IN MIAMI

DEAR WITS' END: Your boyfriend's unwillingness to reach out for help may stem from embarrassment. Please explain to him that there are programs especially for people like him, and that they are easy to access. All you have to do is call your county library and tell the librarian you are looking for a referral to a literacy coalition so your friend can learn to read. Your friend will be treated with dignity, I promise.

DEAR ABBY: I would like to thank you for more than 10 years of a happy marriage. Let me explain:

I am an active-duty soldier with only 14 months left to retire after almost 20 years of service, including two tours in Iraq. In October 1995, I was deployed to Kuwait and I received three letters from Operation Dear Abby. One of them was from a beautiful lady from California. On Feb. 17, 1996, I met the young lady and married her.

Now, more than 10 years later, I am the proud father of three wonderful children.

I'm writing today to thank you for continuing the program with This was the first holiday season in two years that I was home with my family, and I want to thank you for sending me my angel. -- STAFF SGT. ROB G., FORT LEWIS, WASH.

DEAR STAFF SGT. G.: Thank you for an upper of a letter. I'm pleased to know that Operation Dear Abby brought you not only a pen pal, but also a wife, children and happiness. You deserve them all.

Readers, why wait for a holiday? How about spreading some joy by logging on to and letting our young men and women stationed around the world in the military know that they're in our hearts today, tomorrow and every day. They'll love hearing from you -- and you'll be glad you did.

DEAR ABBY: My boss's mother passed away recently and the funeral is this weekend. I had spoken to "Mrs. White" on several occasions and met her twice. My question is, should I attend the visitation, as it is my boss's mother who passed away? I don't want to commit "career suicide" by not attending -- but on the other hand, I don't think I'd feel comfortable being there. -- MISSISSIPPI MAIDEN

DEAR MAIDEN: Funerals are for the living. You attend not only as a gesture of respect for the deceased, but by your presence, to offer comfort to the living. To attend would be a kindness, and I'm sure it would be appreciated -- so go.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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

More like Dear Abby