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#786916 - 10/09/12 12:01 PM How to help a friend with marriage problems
Lori - Marriage Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 11/26/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Orange, CA USA
Statistics show that 75 percent of couples don�t even seek professional counseling before getting a divorce. Instead, they phone a friend.

How to Help a Friend with Marriage Problems
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#787399 - 10/11/12 09:13 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Jeanette - Editor Offline

Chipmunk

Registered: 12/11/04
Posts: 1893
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
i think one of the biggest problems turning to a friend to have someone to lean on during times of crisis is are they going to keep it between us or go blab it to all of our friends. While it is tempting to run and gossip about someone to your other friends, you have to remember how will that affect the relationship of the couple and the relationship you have with your friend.
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#787635 - 10/13/12 07:14 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Elephant

Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 4590
Sometimes the problem with confiding in family or friends is that they form a certain opinion about your spouse, and even if you work things out in your marriage, your friend or family member may hold a grudge against your spouse, and you may hear about it down the road and feel that you need to defend your spouse all the time. Then there is the "I told you so" if things don't work out.

Sometimes friends and family are supportive, but the emotional ties they have with you can be a detriment to you working on your marriage. I think it is best to get the counsel of a professional, in addition to venting to a friend or family member, just to keep proper perspective.
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#787809 - 10/14/12 07:44 PM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Lori - Marriage Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 11/26/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Orange, CA USA
So true! People choose sides. You can get over it, but they can't.
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#801241 - 01/17/13 10:38 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Darlene Renee Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 15
Loc: OHIO
I have often had friends, family, and even neighbors come to me with marital turmoil and I agree that the best thing to do is just Listen. and Repeat Key words that they say, so that they are given the chance to reflect on what they meant and how they really feel. As for taking sides, I have always believed that if one party isn't in any immediate physical danger, then providing objectivity is the best course of action, providing you extend that objectivity onto the spouse as well. Again, this keeps you from being influencial and subject to ridicule and blame later on; but most importantly, you are giving your friend the chance to step outside of him/herself and absorb the situation from the spouse's point of view. By the time the "venting" session is over, the immediate calm that overtakes your friend allows for a new and open perspective of the situation at hand that can generally be easily handled by both parties together and coming to a more satisfactory conclusion on how to handle it as a couple; opposed to relying on outside interference.

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#801685 - 01/19/13 05:13 PM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Darlene Renee]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Elephant

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 4017
Loc: TX
I agree, but if you happen to be a friend or family member within the situation, it can be difficult to be unbiased, depending upon the person in front of you.

I have a saying..."There's 3 sides to every story. His, hers and the Truth."

Especially, if you're the empathetic ear, monitoring what you say, really is essential when they're all people you care for deeply! wink
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Karen Elleise
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#801717 - 01/20/13 01:36 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Darlene Renee Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 15
Loc: OHIO
Hi Ellise, Thank you for your words of wisdom, and believe me, being the empathetic ear has its drawbacks and there are times that neutrality becomes a test of strength, patience, and will power, but somehow I have managed to develop such a sense of trust that I have become the go-to person because they know that in the end, despite what I say, the ultimate decision is theirs, and I always direct them to getting to the truth themselves, or at least facing it. It's up to both parties to resolve the situation together or go their separate ways. Sometimes, I may share personal experiences as a way to help them look more closely at their own situation, but my goal, when approached, is to assure that they have time to think things through in a more calm and rational state as a means of eliminating the impulse of making rash decisions that they may later regret.

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#801734 - 01/20/13 05:19 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Lori - Marriage Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 11/26/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Orange, CA USA
It's hard to know the right thing to say, and sometimes, just listening seems to send a message that we tacitly approve.

Good friends want the best for each other. It's not so much a matter of being neutral--because we are on their side--but allowing our good friends to come into their own power in their own good time. Forcing them to face hard truths before they are ready is like wrenching open the chrysalis of a butterfly before it is ready to hatch.

You are right, Darlene, in saying that it is a test of patience and trust. I am learning that now. In the past, I gave out unsolicited advice too prematurely, and it didn't help anyone.
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Lori Phillips
Marriage editor

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#801796 - 01/20/13 09:17 AM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Darlene Renee Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 15
Loc: OHIO
I love your butterfly analogy. I'm not that creative yet. I don't mean that I didn't agree with friend or obviously side with her, but I never attempt to influence her; thereby maintaining a neutral stand point. Letting her air out her laundry, and providing an understanding, empathetic ear encourages the friend to become a little calmer and more rational. Then you can repeat what she says so when she hears you say it, something inside her clicks; and in most cases, she retracts half of what she said and is more open to exploring her mate's point of view. I still have moments of giving out unsolicited advice, it's a defense mechanism that immediately reminds your friend that she doesn't have to go through it alone. When she becomes defensive of the person she is having problems with, I say. You're welcome. After all, a little jab at the mate may be what she's hoping for, but the reality of hearing it, reminds her that maybe things really aren't as bad as they seem. I am glad to have this opportunity to discuss this with you, because I am always interested in being able to assist, and more importantly, learn something new.

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#807081 - 02/20/13 03:22 PM Re: How to help a friend with marriage problems [Re: Lori - Marriage]
Lori - Marriage Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 11/26/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Orange, CA USA
Well then, you are wiser than most. You have a natural counseling instinct. smile
_________________________
Lori Phillips
Marriage editor

BellaOnline.com Marriage
Twitter: @BellaMarriage

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The Dream Collective
Dreams: What are you trying to tell yourself?
Twitter: @tweetdreams4u
and @flutterby03

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