DEAR ABBY: At all three weddings I've attended this summer, the pastor (one Catholic and two Lutherans) described the wife's role as the homemaker and mother, while the husband was described as the "provider" and head of the house.

I recently divorced after 30 years of marriage, and although I know better, I still feel that I failed because of what was instilled in me since my childhood - that it's the woman's role to "keep the home fires burning."Abby, I wish that today's pastors would stop preaching theories that are programmed for failure. The submissive wife may spend 30 years trying to fulfill this impossible goal. And the assertive wife may be inclined to distance herself from the church. - HAD MY WAY

P.S. I can't guarantee that I won't stand and scream in church if I hear this sermon one more time!

DEAR HAD: No woman - or man - need feel like a "failure" because of a failed marriage. It takes two to make a marriage work, but only one to louse it up.

DEAR ABBY: My husband had an affair with his secretary. She wanted him to leave me. When I told him I was aware of what was going on between them, he said it was over and he loved me - not her!

I asked him to get rid of her. He said he would - in time - but it's been three months, and she's still in his office.

Am I wrong to want him to get a new secretary? I feel hurt that he hasn't made good his promise yet. This bothers me because every time I call my husband, she's the one I have to talk to first.

What should I do? Should I believe him when he says it's all over between them? - UNTRUSTING AND UNHAPPY

DEAR UNTRUSTING: Your signature speaks volumes. You and your husband should see a marriage counselor and try to get your marriage back on track. (If he refuses to go, go without him.) You are not wrong for asking him to get rid of her!

Whether the affair is over or not, his secretary should not be in his office. The temptation for both of them might be too much to resist, so absolutely insist that she be replaced.

Of course, if they want to get together, they will find a way, but why make it easy for them?

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem I've never seen in your column, and I'd appreciate a prompt reply because it's been preying on my mind.

I have gone to the same hairdresser for years - I'll call her Marietta. Anyway, while Marietta was on vacation, I went to another shop closer to my home and happened to get a hairdresser who does a better job and charges less.

I suppose most hairdressers are used to having customers switch to someone else, but Marietta was more like a friend. I don't want to lie, and I hate to hurt her feelings, but I feel guilty ducking her.

I'm turning to you because you seem to have all the answers. - SWITCHED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR SWITCHED: Don't lie, and stop ducking Marietta. Either call her or go to see her and tell her honestly that you have found a hairdresser closer to home who does an excellent job and charges less.

And don't feel guilty. You are entitled to patronize whomever you wish for your own reasons.

People are eating them up! For Abby's favorite recipes, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)