Ten Ways to Help a Friend Who Has a Struggling Marriage

It’s common to know someone whose marriage is in trouble and to be unsure how to help. These 10 practical tips will help you get started helping others.

More Information:

Here is an excellent article on the topic from Focus on the Family:

1) Pray for them by name. Ask God to intervene in their marriage. Ask God to give you and others wisdom to know how to help. Pray in their presence as well as when alone. Send emails and note cards of encouragement.

2) Listen. Listening doesn’t mean simply hearing. It involves empathizing, seeking to understand and expressing genuine interest.

3) Don’t give advice. Your main job is listening. Leave the advice giving to a pastor, counselor or mentor.

4) Don’t make the problem worse. Don’t allow your support to be seen as an encouragement to give up or get a divorce. Your job is to help steer them toward the proper help and reconciliation (If addiction or abuse is involved, make sure they get the professional help they need and are safe).

5) Help them think outside the divorce box. Booklets such as When Your Marriage Needs Help, Should I Get a Divorce, and Marriage and Conflict can give couples both research and practical advice to help them consider the facts about divorce and how to get the help they need for their marriage. All are available from Focus on the Family.

6) Help them find the right help. Locate a good, licensed Christian counselor in their area. Ask your pastor or a Christian physician for a referral. Focus on the Family offers a free counseling consult as well as a free referral service to a Focus-screened marriage therapist.

7) Connect them with a mentor couple. If you are not qualified to help, call your pastor to recommend an older couple who is willing to mentor a younger couple.

8) Refer them to helpful Web sites. Web sites such as TroubledWith.com, Pure Intimacy.com and FocusOnTheFamily.com offer hundreds of articles, practical advice and resource recommendations on various marriage issues. Focus also offers a Marriage Forum designed to give couples a safe place to talk about struggles and successes in their marriage.

9) Encourage them to work on their problems and not simply expect them to be solved on their own. Focus offers an online Marriage Checkup which measures over 18 major areas of marriage – identifying both strengths and weaknesses. This is a good place for a couple to start in addition to working with a professional counselor.

10) Refer them to solid Christian-based books and seminars. Visit the Focus on the Family Online Store for marriage books, broadcast CDs and resources to strengthen a couple’s faith through a difficult time. Key resources like Yes, Your Marriage Can Be Saved, Love and Respect, Love Must Be Tough, First Five Years of Marriage, Help! We are Drifting Apart, Breaking the Cycle of Divorce, Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage and others can provide needed encouragement and direction.

Also, my and Barb’s book, His Brain, Her Brain: How divinely designed differences can strengthen your marriage can be found here.

One thought on “Ten Ways to Help a Friend Who Has a Struggling Marriage

  • Marriage counseling does not always work. It helps couples realize sometimes it’s better just being together. However, in many cases, when a couple approach a therapist for help, it is more likely to restore the bond of love they share if they follow guidelines.

    Here are some tips you can take to ensure you get the most out of their counseling sessions.

    Be at your appointments on time. Whether your schedule of marriage therapy sessions five times a month or every two weeks, be sure to keep your appointment. The therapist agrees to commit to helping you, so you must commit to making your marriage work.

    Make sure you are honest with your counselor and companion. The point of counseling is to uncover hidden emotional problems or other in a marriage, communication difficulties or other problems that may be preventing the realization of true love you deserve. Be sure to take time to trust your therapist and partner in the presence of his counsel.

    If you say five things at the same time in the session, and then deny it later, basically defeat the purpose of counseling. You should not say anything bad their counselor will be surprised. Most therapists have played the most remarkable stories, so anything he or she is discharged. You can feel safer disclosing embarrassing information about his sexual intimacy or anger issues in the presence of a counselor, so that during the sessions, this is an ideal opportunity to express their feelings in a safe area.

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