You get a late night call from a good friend. Right away, you can tell there’s tension in her voice. She small talks with you, but you can tell something is amiss because she’s not her usual self. Finally after some prodding from you, she opens the flood gates. This was the reason she called. Long story short, her marriage is on the rocks.
As a friend, what do you say? What do you do?
Zip the Lip
Many times when we hear a story, we want to jump to conclusions. If we hear something negative, we’re off and running with it. We don’t pause and think through what our actions and words can do. If our friend says something about her husband, we might want to criticize and help her make him out to be evil.
It might make us feel better because we humans tend to thrive on focusing on other’s problems, but this doesn’t help her situation at all. We might want to offer advice, which can be good or bad. The best gesture we can offer is being slow to speak and quick to listen.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]… James 1:19 (AMP)
A friend needs a safe haven to expel all her thoughts, without judgement. This would be a perfect time to say a breath prayer and ask God to give you the wisdom to help and the ability to shut your mouth and hold your tongue.
Sometimes I need tape; duct tape, because my tongue likes to wag. Often though I realize I made the situation worse and it wasn’t God-pleasing. My words were not carefully selected.
Lord, help me!
I don’t know about you, but then I get an attitude and tell myself- I just won’t help. I can act like a spoiled child.
Friends Who Bless Us
We need to help our friends. As a Christian, we can lead our friend to anchor more closely to God. God’s view of marriage is a life-long commitment. We can be the single voice in a culture which has lost the significance of this union.
Friends can help us forge ahead in faith or falter in fear.
Our friend needs to be reminded of the lasting consequences of divorce. Not only for the current children of this marriage, but generations to come. Our culture has it wrong, divorce isn’t a quick, regret-free solution. There’s a reason God said He hates divorce.
Love is a choice even in the midst of the hard and uncomfortable. God has the ability to change an impossible situation, even a marriage on a slippery slope to disintegration.
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMP)
We also need to construct boundaries so we don’t give too much of ourselves helping our friend, and then witness our own marriage/family life failing. If we ask for God’s wisdom in this situation, we can be helpful but not overburdened.
Other Ways to Help Your Friend’s Marriage:
- Pray for them.
- Be a listening ear.
- Encourage your friend to pray and ask for God’s wisdom.
- Urge them to get professional marriage help.
- Help them ponder the good qualities in their spouse.
- Lead them to talk to their spouse.
- Remember you are hearing only one side of the story.
I pray we might be mentors to our friends and not hindrances in their marriages. What a different culture we would have if couples would fight and work hard in their marriages. Kids would see stable, family units instead of current chaos in culture.
May we be that friend who welcomes late night calls because we are such great listeners. We might not have the words to respond back with, but the wisdom to direct to God’s truth and help our struggling friend.