By Mitch Temple
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.
Do you wonder how you can help friends and family members who are struggling in marriage? Here are some time-tested tips and resources to move them away from divorce court and toward reconciliation.
1) Listen. Listening doesn’t mean simply hearing. It involves empathising, seeking to understand, and expressing genuine interest.
2) Don’t give advice. Your main job is listening. Leave the advice giving to a counsellor or mentor.
3) 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).
4) Help them think outside the divorce box. Books 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.
5) Encourage them. Send emails and note cards of encouragement.
6) Help them find the right help. Locate a good, licensed counsellor in their area or ask your physician for a referral. Focus on the Family Malaysia offers a free counselling consult (please call us at 03-3310 0792).
7) Connect them with a mentor couple. If you are not qualified to help, call your counsellor or mentor to recommend an older couple who is willing to mentor a younger couple.
8) Refer them to helpful websites. Websites offer hundreds of articles, practical advice and resource recommendations on various marriage issues.
9) Encourage them to work on their problems and not simply expect them to be solved on their own. Focus on the Family Malaysia offers an online marriage check-up known as Prepare-Enrich program 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 counsellor.
10) Refer them to solid books and seminars. Find books or seminars which can provide needed encouragement and direction.
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