Written by Mitch Temple
Ten practical tips to help and encourage a friend in a struggling marriage:
- 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.
- Listen. Listening doesn’t mean simply hearing. It involves empathizing, seeking to understand and expressing genuine interest.
- Don’t give advice. Your main job is listening. Leave the advice-giving to a pastor, counsellor or mentor.
- 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.)
- Help them think outside the divorce box. Family.ie can help 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.
- Help them find the right help. Locate a good, licensed Christian counsellor in their area. Ask your pastor for a referral to local Christian counsellors
- 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.
- Refer them to helpful websites. Websites such as Authentic Intimacy, http://www.pureintimacy.org/, and Family.ie offer articles, practical advice and resource recommendations on various marriage issues.
- Encourage them to work on their problems together and not simply expect them to be solved on their own. This is a good place for a couple to start in addition to working with a professional counsellor.
- Refer them to solid Christian-based books and seminars. Contact us for a recommendation of marriage books and resources to strengthen a couple’s faith through a difficult time.
© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.