DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is very religious, as is his family. He goes to church every Sunday. I was raised relatively religious, but I don't really practice anything anymore. I don't enjoy going to church, but I feel like it would be a nice gesture. Would he appreciate my going to church with him even if I don't feel the same way about religion that he does? -- Secular Girl, Miami
DEAR SECULAR GIRL: This is tricky. Your boyfriend likely would appreciate your making the effort to go to church with him if it means you might rediscover your faith. But to go to church just to make him happy, without having any interest in accessing your own spirituality, is insincere. That doesn't mean you should not go.
I recommend you take the time to reflect on your religious values and beliefs. Ask yourself why you don't enjoy going to church. Contemplate why you are interested in this man who is deeply religious, and whether there's a future for you as a couple if he and his family have very different religious views from you.
These things are worth considering, because religious beliefs figure prominently into people's relationships when religion is important to them. Couples can have healthy relationships even when one does not share the same faith or is not as zealous as the other, but I assure you it is generally easier if both are on the same page religiously.
So, talk with your boyfriend about your religious views. And go to church with him if you are willing to see if there's something there for you, too.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend recently partied hard one night and ended up very drunk and almost had to be taken to the hospital. His boyfriend also was very drunk and (BEGIN ITALS)was(END ITALS) taken to the hospital.
Both of them are fine now, and after intense hangovers they don't seem to understand the severity of what they almost got themselves into. My friend wasn't able to walk on his own without falling, and I had to help him.
How can I get them to understand that what happened was serious and that, had it been a little worse, there could have been dire consequences? -- Worried, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR WORRIED: You have every reason to be alarmed by your friends' behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 79,000 people die each year because of excessive drinking. That is a staggering number. Binge drinking for a man can be five or more drinks, while heavy drinking for a man starts at two drinks daily. Honestly, though, it's relative based upon a person's height, weight and tolerance for alcohol.
It is dangerous to drink excessively. The body cannot handle it. Scare your friends into taking it seriously by telling them the stats. That may help.