10 Ways to Help a Friend’s Struggling Marriage


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.

by Mitch Temple

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 empathizing, seeking to understand and expressing genuine interest.

2. Don’t Give Advice
Your main job is listening. Leave the advice giving to a counselor 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. Pray For Them
Send emails and note cards of encouragement.

6. Help Them Find The Right Help
Locate a good, licensed counselor in their area or ask your physician for a referral. Focus on the Family Malaysia offers a free counseling consult (please call us at 03 – 7954 7920).

7. Connect Them With A Mentor Couple
If you are not qualified to help, call your counselor or mentor pastor to recommend an older couple who is willing to mentor a younger couple.

8. Refer Them To Helpful Web Sites
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 a Marriage checkup 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 counselor.

10. Refer Them To Solid Books and Seminars
Find books or seminars which can provide needed encouragement and direction.


This article was published with permission from Focus on the Family Malaysia. For more information, please call +603-7954 7920, email focus@family.org.my or surf to www.family.org.my, follow Facebook [focusonthefamilymalaysia]and Twitter [familiesMY]. You can also write to Focus on the Family Malaysia, 6-2 Jalan Bersatu, 13/4, 46200 Petaling Jaya.

Focus on the Family’s 90-second audio program is aired over TRAXX FM at 8.15 a.m. and 6.45 pm Mondays to Fridays.