DEAR ABBY: I have been married for seven years to a man who curses something awful. We have three children, and he curses at them, too, when he's angry. I'm afraid his verbal abuse is destroying our children's self-esteem, and I have asked him repeatedly to stop it. I even threatened to leave if he doesn't clean up his act.
When he swears, it sends shivers up my spine and I get angry. We used to have heated arguments, but I have learned to watch my mouth. I thought he would get the idea if I set an example, but he didn't even notice.
He was in the Navy, and for a long time he blamed his cursing on his time in the military. Well, he has been out for 12 years now and that excuse is a little tired. I have made plans to leave him and will stick with my decision unless he's willing to make a serious effort to control his mouth. In the meantime, what do you suggest I do? I've tried everything -- even prayer. -- READY TO WALK IN VIRGINIA
DEAR READY TO WALK: In the "meantime," try earplugs for the children and a swear box for your salty-mouthed spouse. (If you don't know what a swear box is, it's a container into which an agreed-upon amount of money is placed every time a curse word is uttered.) Use the proceeds to tide you over after you've left him if the swear box doesn't cure him.