To Those Who Offer Support To Friends

Offer support - Photo club Young woman consoling female friend while sitting on sofa at homeWhether you are a licensed professional, a pastor, or simply a friend attempting to support a couple working through their reconciliation, the following suggestions are offered. They are ones that can help those who offer support to friends and family members.

It’s important, as you offer support to:

• Watch out for your own stuff.

Most of us have beliefs, feelings, and experiences that prejudice us when we deal with other peoples’ relationships. That’s what I mean by “stuff.” WARNING: Never will your own marriage be more vulnerable than when you are trying to assist a couple in their recovery from infidelity. You will find yourself working through the same issues with your own spouse.

The survival of your friend’s marital relationship is not dependent upon you.

In most cases, the couple you are working with choose to marry each other before you were in the picture. You didn’t bring them together. So you can’t keep them together. You must set the couple free to pursue their own course. At times you will want to take control of their recovery process. But you must refrain for their sake.

• They must never be able to draw you into their relationship. 

This is a process technically called triangulation. If that happens each will individually attempt to align you with his or her side. Remember, the infidelity was an inappropriate triangulation and so is an attempt to overly involve yourself.

• Keep the two of them talking to each other.

Don’t maintain secrets that one party shares with you hoping to align you with his or her side. Remember, infidelity was the worst secret that could afflict a marriage. And more secrecy doesn’t help. At times your neutrality may appear brutal, especially since you’re probably closer to one party than the other (e.g., your high school friend who got married). You will feel the urge to intervene and provide protection, but you need to resist it.

• If you are feeling more exhausted in the struggle than they are, you are inappropriately involved.

That is not to say that some of your time with them won’t be exhausting. But you need to gauge your degree of involvement. You shouldn’t work at it harder than they do.

• Keep in mind that the material in this book, “Torn Asunder,” is the practical “how to.”

It is to assist in the forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration of the marriage. It should never be viewed as a replacement for what God can do. As you seek to support your friends or counselees, be prayerful and stay close to God’s Word. Forgiveness and reconciliation are always miracles. Only God can heal!

This article comes from the excellent book, Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair It is written by Dave Carder, with Moody Publishers. This book is very comprehensive and is a great practical guide for dealing with extramarital affairs. It carefully sorts out the different kinds of affairs and deals with each kind. It doesn’t lump all infidelity together “giving over-simplistic spiritual answers.” This book is practical because “it deals with daily, gut-level issues both partners face.” We highly recommend getting this book!

There are a couple of parts that especially stand out and set it apart from other resources. One in particular which is EXCELLENT is titled: “When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want You Back: The 90-Day Experiment.” Please consider obtaining this resource.

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Filed under: Marriage Counseling & Mentoring Surviving Infidelity

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3 responses to “To Those Who Offer Support To Friends

  1. (USA)  This is an incredibly helpful series of articles. In addition to this advisory, I would love to see something for friends of the betrayed spouse, going into further depth. Some of my close friends have taken up a grudge on my behalf, and though I realize that things I said in my own anger caused this to happen, as the process moves forward, holding on to anger is not helping… I feel as though I cannot vent to certain friends because it stokes up their anger against my husband. They believe they’re being supportive of me by being angry with him, but actually they’re making it more difficult for me to feel supported because I feel as if I have to hide things from them. I can no longer speak of minor issues between my husband and me because they tend to say things like “Oh, he’s just being a selfish jerk” and I find myself having to defend him. The conflicted feelings are difficult to deal with at this time when I need their support the most.

    Thank you for the articles posted here. Rebuilding is a slow and painful process, but knowing that others have succeeded gives me hope. Rejoicing in the day, Mary

    1. (USA)  I also would like to see more helpful information on being a friend to someone in a troubled marriage – especially in one where the husband is involved in ministry and has had an emotional affair and may now be physically acting out on that and is refusing counseling. How do we help encourage the wife while she prays to God and deals with any sins she discovers in her own heart?

  2. (USA) We’ve learned that it’s very hard to get support for the victim. The author of the book that helped us so much said it is because they teach in Seminary/Bible college to blame the victim. Focus on their sin, self righteouness and unforgiveness and move on. He then says he counseled this way for 20 years and it was so wrong! As Nathan speaking to King David’Thou art the man” we will deal with all the rest of my sin and the world’s when we get through this and what you have done to your family and TO GOD!

    A man wrote to the 700 Club the other day saying that his wife of 29 years cheated on him and he was hurting. The host and hostess, VERY HATEFULY said “What did you do to make her do this? Get sloppy around the house and your appearance and neglect her? You own it buddy.” They were laughing and mocking him and said “Psh, we’re done with that one.”

    That’s the kind of abuse that sent my friend to hang herself and me almost and my baby hurting so badly she was begging me to end it for both of us. My husband, the adulterer, even said “where is anyone’s compassion to my poor wife?” He in his new state has been a better counselor to me than anyone else. I’m very ashamed of people that do that, that is more of the devil kicking us when we’re down which he is so famous for.

    Jesus cried over the betrayal of a friend. What would they tell him? God says it took Job 3 years to begin to heal. What about me that endured 21.5 years of abuse, shame, and his adultery, as well as turning our kids against me, slandering me to anyone that would listen and outright hatred? How long do I get? It isn’t up to others how long we grieve when in fact, grief is a piece missing so never fully goes away.

    I have prayed for the man that wrote in and anyone else that has endured this. That is why so many are repeat offenders. No consequences, no conviction, EXACTLY AS THE DEVIL WANTS IT. A house divided cannot stand and it’s all he can do to hurt God.