Within seconds of "Talk" magazine's arrival at the newsstand, Hillary Clinton's disclosures about coming to terms with her husband's dysfunctional behavior were being analyzed, criticized and/or ridiculed. ["Family Secrets; Please, Mrs. Clinton! We'd Rather Not Know," Richard Cohen, op-ed, Aug. 3.]

Why she finally decided to reveal details of her private struggle is not clear. After rampant speculation by the news media as to how and why she endures the strains on her marriage, and because her silence has not deterred some "journalists" from airing speculative analysis, it would be understandable if Mrs. Clinton went on the record hoping to quell the never-ending questions.

With customary grace and dignity, Lady Bird Johnson responded to questions about her late husband's legendary womanizing, saying, in essence, that she believed her life was better with Lyndon than without him, that they functioned best as a whole rather than two separate parts. Fortunately for Mrs. Johnson and her family, LBJ's paramours did not capitalize on their dalliances with the political giant, nor did his adversaries exploit his reputation while he held public office. And apparently there was a zone of privacy the press did not invade in those days.

The Clintons' marriage has been scrutinized to a degree few marriages could withstand. Partners who attempt to keep a marriage intact for better or for worse make difficult decisions. Now that divorce is a widely accepted option, there is a tendency to question those who summon the strength to focus on the "better" while coping with the "worse."

Mrs. Clinton has been asked about the challenges in her marriage. She has responded. Must those who do not like her response tear it apart? It is her marriage, her choice. Let us leave it at that.

JANICE VICKERS

Arlington