Typically, friends are the first ones married couples turn to for advice when their marriage is in trouble. Sometimes it can put you in the middle of their struggle, and you won't always know how to help. Here are five great tips for handling any situation that can arise.
1. Just Listen - Simply giving them a listening ear makes a huge difference. It is good for your friend to vent a little and get what they need to off their chest. By talking out loud it might bring more clarity than they think. Talking it out with a friend is therapeutic, and your silence speaks volumes.
2. Don't Get Involved - It's easy to give your advice and opinions on their situation. The best advice in this case is none at all. Help your friend work through it by listening, and try not to choose sides or weigh-in on their decisions. It's best to steer them in the right direction towards proper help, instead of trying to encourage divorce or separation.
3. Give and Get Them Support - You are a great support system for your friend, but you should find other resources to refer them to. Good resources would include, a professional marriage counselor, psychologist, or clergy. There are churches and synagogues which frequently offer marriage counseling workshops. The Internet offers endless resources of self-help programs.
4. Encourage a Solution - Instead of concentrating on what the problems are, help your friend focus on finding the right solution for them. Encourage your friend to do research to find the right program or counselor to talk with. There are state and locally supported agencies available to help a person who has no income or insurance for professional counseling. These resources are usually listed in local phone books under Government Agencies and under the Department of Human Services.
5. Just Be There - The best way to be supportive is to simply be there! Be available when they need you. Let them know you are there for support, and be willing to listen anytime.