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 | By Cynthia Kaan

I want to support my friends who are having marriage troubles

Your heart is heavy with the needs of your friends. Their marriage is suffering and you want to help – but where do you begin?

1. Ask what they need. Ask what kind of support they’d like – if any. They may not be ready. Don’t jump in before asking where they need you.

2. Be prayerfully present. Sometimes the best support comes through prayer and prayer alone. If your friends are not asking for your suggestions, it may do more harm to give them your two cents. Be a listening ear without becoming an ill-advised mouthpiece. Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you the words when your friends have hearts ready to hear.

3. Don’t rely on religious platitudes when giving advice. If they are Christians, they are more than familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 – Love is patient, love is kind … When hearts and souls are hurting and vulnerable, this type of “reminder” can sound the same as judgment. But you can and should encourage the couple to find comfort and guidance in scripture.

4. Encourage a conversation with their priest or pastor. We like to believe we know the best way to handle things – when we are on the outside of the issue. However, each relationship is different and it’s hard not to project our own challenges onto someone else’s. This is why a priest or pastor is usually the best sounding board.

Pray. Be present. Pray. Encourage conversation with their priest. Pray again. See a pattern?