Dear Readers:

Friday is Valentine's Day. While we celebrate that special day with cards and flowers, remember also to send a message from home to our brave young men and women in the military who, in great numbers, have been deployed to places far away from loved ones.

Regardless of one's personal political beliefs, our troops deserve all the support we can give them. So don't forget to join me in sending a Valentine's Day greeting via www.OperationDearAbby.net.

Dear Abby:

After a long and happy marriage, I became a widow three years ago, and am soon to marry an old family friend, "Vernon." His wife was a dear friend of mine who was killed several years ago. Vern and I are trying to get our personal business in order ahead of time, so there will be no ill feelings among our adult children.

When I die, I will be buried next to my first husband, and Vern with his late wife. My question is, how should my name appear on the headstone, considering the fact that I plan to become "Mrs. Vernon Jones" when we marry?

My son is upset that I'd give up the "Smith" family name. I don't want to create friction between my son and my new husband, but I do plan to take Vern's last name and am surprised at my son's strenuous objection.

How should this be handled, Abby?

"Mrs. Smith" in Marietta, Ga.

The name on your headstone should probably read "Jane Smith Jones" to avoid confusion. Although it is upsetting to your son that you have chosen to adopt your new husband's last name, he will have to adapt to reality. One lesson I have learned over the years: You cannot solve every problem -- particularly if the problem isn't yours to begin with.

Dear Abby:

I am an ambitious 22-year-old college senior. Two years ago, I met the man of my dreams. His name is "Wayne" and he's a youth minister. I feel like I've met my life companion.

The problem is that Wayne has a huge fear of commitment. On two separate occasions, we were engaged and about to make the announcement. However, at the last minute Wayne changed his mind and broke off our entire relationship with, "I need time."

Please tell me what to do. I am beginning to have difficulty trusting him with my feelings because he has hurt me twice by bailing out.

Heartbroken and Confused in Alabama

Wayne may be the man of your dreams, but he clearly is not ready to make a lifetime commitment. Give him credit for being honest and all the time he needs, but in the meantime, date others and don't isolate yourself. "Mr. Right" for you may be just around the corner and as ready as you are to settle down.

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2003, Universal Press Syndicate