DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been married to my best friend for 10 years now. I had a day off from work, and I decided to wash his laundry. I usually check the pockets of his clothes to see if he left anything in them, and to my surprise, I found a receipt saying there was purchase of condoms. I am livid -- we have been married for 10 years, so why would he need to purchase condoms at this stage in our marriage? When my husband came home, I questioned him about the receipt. He said he made the purchase for a friend from college. I know marriage has its difficulties, but do you expect me to believe my husband? Why wasn't his friend able to purchase his own condoms? I don't know what to think right now, and I need some clarity. -- Fool in Love, New York City
DEAR FOOL IN LOVE: It is understandable that you would be livid. Unfortunately, cornering your husband to confront him about the receipt surely made him defensive. Why don't you revisit this sensitive issue with a cooler head? Tell him you need to address it again because the discovery really threw you. Ask him to tell you the truth about what is going on -- with his friend or him.
Start the conversation by telling him how the discovery made you feel. Explain that you were shocked to see the receipt, that it immediately made you question the sanctity of your marriage and that you really want to know what is going on. Tell him that it is hard for you to believe that he bought those condoms for someone else. Ask him to share more with you on that topic. If he is reluctant or refuses, speak about your marriage. Explain to him that your heart tells you that this has rattled the covenant of your marriage and that it is important for you to have a full, honest conversation with him about this in order for you to regain your trust in him.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My children would like to participate in Halloween festivities this year; however, due to our religious affiliations, we will not be able to. I would hate to tell my children that they would not be able to participate. Do you have any suggestions on how we can have fun without disrupting our religious beliefs? -- Looking for a Treat, Newark, N.J.
DEAR LOOKING FOR A TREAT: If you are firm on your beliefs, you need to convey that to your children. The conversation needs to include specific religious details that support your position so that you can educate your children.
Further, you should talk to your children about embracing your family's values, even when they differ from others in their peer group. As it relates to doing something fun for your children, yes, you can come up with an alternate activity. Perhaps you can go to the movies or plan a fun family dinner. What you do not want to do is imitate Halloween in a watered-down way. Do not confuse your children about your views. At the same time, do not teach them to pass judgment on their friends who may celebrate the holiday.