A Guide to Supporting Friends Through Divorce
You and your friends have been inseparable for years, celebrating each other's weddings, baby showers, and housewarmings. Despite discussions about staying friends for life, the fragility of creating and sustaining a healthy marriage often goes unnoticed. It's easy to assume they were committed for life, much like the two of you. However, you can't control others or persuade them against splitting up. As a good friend, your role is to offer support, letting them know you'll do whatever you can to help them through this challenging time and accepting the inevitable if and when it happens.
We often overlook how much our friends' marriage matters to us. The news of their divorce can be a shock, making us question our own relationships. Did we miss signs? Could this happen to us too? These questions arise because we befriend those who share similarities with us. If it happens to them, the fear lingers that it could happen to us as well.
To help you cope and be a pillar of strength for your friends, consider the following suggestions. Your presence during this challenging time can significantly impact how well they and their children handle the divorce, and it may also fortify fragile areas in your own marriage.
Stay Neutral and Provide Emotional Support: Avoid taking sides or engaging in negative talk about one friend. It's crucial to support both partners, especially for the sake of the children. Maintain routines and scheduled activities to provide stability for the kids during this chaotic period.
Establish New Boundaries and Listen Without Judgment: Refrain from sharing hearsay and stay focused on tangible ways to help, such as babysitting or encouraging counseling. While you don't have to agree with their decision to divorce, providing emotional support can prevent impulsive decisions.
Accept the Lack of Control: Recognize that you can't control their situation. Divorces can be emotionally tumultuous, and it's essential not to take their confusing or distancing feelings personally. Instead of dwelling on the past, focus on planning future meetups, instilling hope that friendships endure.
Help Children Adjust: Children often have questions and concerns during a divorce. Acknowledge their feelings, explaining that relationships differ. Reassure them about the stability of your own family and explore ways to protect your relationship from divorce, such as regular date nights and meaningful one-on-one conversations without distractions.
In conclusion, divorce is painful for everyone involved. When friends gather and provide a safe space for both partners without judgment, they contribute significantly to helping their friends through this difficult time. Remind yourself and your children that your friends are divorcing each other, but the love for family and friends endures. Life goes on; divorce may end a marriage, but it doesn't end love.