What do you say?
From our experience on both ends of the spectrum–our own marriage crisis in 1987, and helping couples in crisis for over 20 years–here are 5 things not to say…
1.Well, your spouse is a jerk for not wanting to be married to you! H/she doesn’t know how great h/she has it! You don’t deserve this!
Obviously, no one knows what really goes on in a marriage. Your role at this point should be to create an atmosphere for your friend to open up and share what is on their heart. How do you know if your friend hasn’t done or said things that h/she may want to confess to you? If you have put your friend on a pedestal and said negative things about their spouse it will be more difficult for your friend to open up.
2. You know, I never did see what you saw in him/her. I’m not surprised at all that it didn’t work out.
Most couples end up trying to reconcile, even if the reconciliation is temporary. The worse thing you can do is make it awkward for when you run into your friend and spouse a couple of days or weeks later. Even if you feel this way about your friend’s spouse, never express it. God loves marriage and you should help your friend love his/her spouse and be ready for a reconciliation to take place.
3. So, what are you going to do now? I hope you’ll just move on so that you can find someone who will make you happy.
A true friend is one who is more concerned about holiness over happiness for others they care about. Your number one role as a friend right now should be to help point your friend to the Lord, not another person to date while they are still married. Even if a divorce takes place, statistics show that dating too soon can cause a remarriage that also ends in crisis.
4. I hope you will see a divorce attorney immediately. You don’t want to be taken advantage of. If your spouse files for a legal separation or divorce first, h/she will have the upper hand.
We know of so many couples (including us) who made the mistake of turning to an attorney instead of the Lord and godly counsel first. God often times allows a marriage to fall apart in order for it to be put back together properly–His way. Instead, encourage your friend to get a small circle of same-gender Christian friends together for prayer and accountability. Help your friend to turn to the Lord and put Him first, and pray for reconciliation. We’ve experienced miracles–more than we can count–of healed marriages when God became the focus of even ONE of the spouses.
5. I know of a great singles group you can join.
Your friend is not single. Your friend is still married. Regardless of how hopeless you or your friend thinks it is, and whether or not your friends spouse is already committing adultery, God is in the business of miracles. Let Him work. Protect your friend from meeting and spending time with lonely people of the opposite sex. Instead, invite your friend to same-gender functions and/or Bible studies. Once there is third-party involvement it will be more difficult to reconcile.