DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends' child died a year ago from SIDS. It was so sad, and I know it has been tough for them to recover. But they don't talk about it.
I just realized the anniversary of their child's death is approaching, and I'm wondering if I should say anything. I love these people so much and want them to have all the happiness in the world. I wonder if bringing it up would make them uncomfortable. But I also don't want to be insensitive by not saying anything. What do you think is appropriate? -- Eggshells, Jackson, Miss.
DEAR EGGSHELLS: It's lovely that you remembered this child's death. It shows that you are a good and conscientious friend.
I don't think you should call your friends to say something about the anniversary. You may want to send them a lovely card that says you are thinking of them on this special day. Write that you love them and are holding them in your prayers. In this way they receive your good wishes, but they do not need to respond unless they feel comfortable doing so.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been going through a rough spell. The other day, we learned that two young friends had just gotten engaged. Instead of congratulating them, my husband went on a tear, telling them how marriage leaves a lot to be desired. He went on and on, and it got uncomfortable. I tried to change the subject, but that just got him more revved up.
I feel so bad. I think I should say something to the couple, but I don't want to reveal too much about our marriage. We are close to these people, so we will see them again. -- Embarrassed, Cincinnati
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Guess what? Your friends already know there's trouble in your paradise. Your husband has revealed it.
You have choices for moving forward with this couple. First, you can let it be. You four shared an awkward moment that can simply pass.
Second, you can reach out to the couple and share some of your personal insights about marriage. Without revealing too many personal details, share with them that marriage has many twists and turns. This includes, for most couples, periods when the relationship seems brittle. If you have suggestions on how you and your husband navigate tough times, be sure to share them.
By all means, wish them the very best in their lives. I would suggest they get premarital counseling, where they can talk about and explore their values and goals. They also can ask about strategies for fair fighting. You and your husband also may want to get some counseling to see if you can mend your fence.