Saturday, November 2, 2013

What do you do to help a friend struggling in his/her marriage?

What do you do when you see your friend, colleague struggling in her marriage? What do you do as a christian to help this friend so that you are not seen as either making it worse or delivering the wrong counsel?

I have been in this situation a couple of times; i mean, trying to help a friend. Some marriages were saved but some were not. But I have not been deterred in helping when called upon.

I would like to advise that you must realise that you are NOT mini-Jesus and every friend must take your advice or counsel. Even Jesus dying on the cross has not saved everyone that has heard the Gospel.

Here are some of the things you can do to help that friend that is struggling with marital issues.

  1. The first is to pray for God's intervention in your friend's marriage. Since God is the All-knowing God, you should pray to Him to give you the wisdom to know how to help. 
  2. Listen to your friend. This involves empathising, seeking to understand and expressing genuine interest. Empathy is the capacity to recognise emotions that are being experienced by another person. It is the identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives. It is not pitying them. Pity is just when you feel sorry for the person for what he/ she is experiencing without necessarily really being able to understand it. Please do NOT tell them that "You understand how they feel" when you really have not been in that position.
  3. Please though it might seem you want to, DO not give advice except you are a Pastor, Counsellor or a Mentor. Your main job is listening. 
  4. Please do not make matters worse by encouraging your friend to give up or get a divorce. Giving up or a divorce is usually the easiest option but not the best one. You are there to help steer your friend towards proper help and reconciliation. However if physical abuse is involved, make sure they get the professional help they need and are safe.
  5. Steer them to get the right Christian resources for their situation. Refer them to websites like Focus on the Family. Encourage them to see their Christian Counselling departments in their churches
  6. Again I must reiterate that you should encourage them to never Give Up.
Please take note. if your friend is of the opposite sex, please take extra care in giving advice so that the friendship does not develop into a relationship because of your friend's vulnerability. Or better still stick to just praying to God and praying that God will send someone of the same sex to listen and empathise with this friend.

Remain Blessed and you help to mend marriages through your prayers and assistance.

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