I have a dear friend who I met in college years ago who complains about her husband all the time, but from what I can see, she is the problem. She is rude to him, spends time doing what she wants, and leaves all of the housework and childcare to him when they’re home together. She even talks about being attracted to other men and occasionally flirts with guys. She is a good friend to me and has been there for me when I’ve been down, but I’m worried about her marriage and feel like I need to say something.
Sounds like you have an opportunity to be the best kind of friend; the kind that lovingly speaks clearly and directly about a situation that could be headed for disaster. I don’t believe a true friend is one that stands by in a neutral position, hoping things will self-correct. Chances are, they won’t.
You’ve earned the trust through years of committed friendship to step in and kindly redirect your friend who has clearly veered from her own values and beliefs. I’m guessing she hasn’t always been this self-centered, otherwise, how could she have been any kind of friend to you?
I appreciate the counsel shared by Neal A. Maxwell, when he shared a time in his life when a friend lovingly redirected him. He says, “Young or old, be grateful for people in your lives who love you enough to correct you, to remind you of your standards and possibilities, even when you don’t want to be reminded. A dear and now deceased friend said to me years ago when I had said something sardonic, ‘You could have gone all day without saying that.’ His one-liner reproof was lovingly stated, illustrating how correction can be an act of affection.”
You see something she cannot see right now, for whatever reason. It takes courage and trust that your friendship will withstand this type of feedback. Since you undoubtedly care about her husband and children your actions will hopefully help restore their mother and wife back to her best self.
Share your concerns with all of the love and concern you have for her. You don’t need to be bossy or set ultimatums. Let her know what you’ve observed and the impact you imagine it’s having on her family. You can even share what it’s like to see her straying into dangerous territory. If she has marital concerns that need to be addressed, invite her to take charge of her marriage and get the help they need instead of distracting herself with thoughts of other men and selfish interests.
Your friend is in trouble and you may be one of the only people she’s willing to listen to, as you have no other agenda other than her well-being and the welfare of her family.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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