DEAR ABBY: I am writing to tell you about some of the bravest, strongest, most resilient people I know – military spouses. So often people write you about problems, troubles or issues. Perhaps my letter will bring a smile to someone’s face.

I am in the Army, currently deployed in Iraq. Here, all I have to worry about are my soldiers and myself. They are great guys who make it easy for me, as they all act maturely and professionally.

While I am here, my wife is back home worrying about me. She does all the chores around the house, cooks, takes care of our three sons, helps them with homework, holds down a full-time job, and still finds time to keep our children enrolled in whatever extra activities they can do. She is now filling the roles of both mother and father. Her strength amazes me. Once she went away for 10 days to attend a wedding, and I had to take vacation time to keep up with the house and the kids.

I’m not saying my wife walks on water – although she swims well – but a lot of people send messages over here to the soldiers saying, “Thank you for your service.” I personally think the unsung heroes are the ones who fill the shoes of the soldiers when they are deployed.

I have been gone for a year and can’t wait to return home. I’m planning family time, Mom and Dad time, and I’m also going to let my wife have some time of her own. I just want your readers to know that soldiers have people we look up to, too, and who we think are true American heroes. – LOVING SOLDIER IN IRAQ

DEAR SOLDIER: I’m printing your love letter because I know you speak for many of those serving their country far from home. I agree that it takes a special kind of person to be a military spouse, someone with strength, courage and self-reliance. Military spouses are, indeed, unsung heroes. Thank you for pointing it out.

DEAR ABBY: I am 18, good-looking, and in great shape, but I haven’t had a girlfriend since 2000. I am pretty sure the reason is I refuse to have sex until I am married. I am very religious. When I marry and devote myself to my wife, I want to be able to truly say she has all of me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I want to look her in the eye and tell her honestly that I saved myself just for her.

A lot of girls in college are just looking for sex, and that’s not me. Granted, I do date — but after about two weeks, when they find out I don’t want to have sex, they don’t like that. It has become frustrating to the point that my parents asked me if I was gay, because I haven’t brought home a steady girlfriend.

Does any girl my age want a nice guy? It doesn’t seem that way. I’m considering changing my persona and becoming a hard-time partier and forgetting about my commitment to abstinence, because it seems that girls just want the “bad” boy. If you would respond to that, it would be great. God bless. – ALONE IN ARIZONA

DEAR ALONE: Please don’t give up or compromise your values. My dear departed Grandpa A.B. had a saying: “If you want to catch trout, don’t go fishing in a herring barrel.” Since you want a girl with strong conservative values like your own – and they do exist – affiliate with a church-based youth group, or try an Internet Christian dating service. Many girls are praying to meet someone just like you, so don’t give up.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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