A dear friend emailed me today, “My heart hurts for you, and I wish I could do something to help you through this. Is there anything more than prayer that I can do?”
Another, “This isn’t easy and no one can really make it easy for you and there is nothing I can say that will do that either….other than I love you, and I’m here for you no matter what.”
I get this a lot. People who love me telling me they don’t know how to help me right now. So, here are some thoughts if you know someone walking through the ending of their marriage. And frankly, most of these could probably be used for anyone in your life going through a hard time.
Pray. Please. Knowing that I have people in my life who love Jesus talking to him about me is so huge, words almost can’t express. There are times that I can’t pray, or my prayers are way too small or selfish or, hate to say it, just plain mean and immature. That I have people talking to my Savior on my behalf in ways that I never would think to is what is getting me through this the most, hands down.
Ask us how we’re doing. Caveat: but only if you can handle the truth, because depending on the day, you might get “absolutely horrible” as the reply.
Check in. The occasional email, text, voicemail or note can make our day. This thing we’re doing is isolating and scary.
Don’t try to fix us or our situation. UNLESS we ask for advice, which I happen to be doing a lot, mainly because I’ve never walked through this before and I’m a bit clueless.
Invite. Ask us to lunch or tea. Ask our kids to do something with your family. Keep us feeling connected. We may say “no, thank you” but just knowing we’re included – especially as we’re transitioning out of couplehood – is essential.
Don’t judge. This might be the hardest one. No one can know all the details of any situation. If you feel close enough to the person, ask the questions that you’re wondering deep down, and then listen with gentleness. If you’re not all that close, hand it over to Jesus. Remind yourself that we all make mistakes. In any situation there are three versions – yours, theirs, and God’s. Assume the best about the person because there may be so much more to the story than you know or may ever be able to know.
Love us. Remind us we’re loved. We might be lonely. We might be beating ourselves up over pretty much every choice we’ve made and are making. We need to know there are people who’ve got our back and won’t walk away. One friend said to me awhile ago, “You can mess up absolutely everything in your life and I’m not going anywhere.” That’s love.
Lastly, show grace. We may be sucking at being your friend right now. We’ll get better soon, we promise. Please cut us some slack. Getting through this thing, I’m learning, is a full-time job.
To those who’ve asked me, thank you, I love you, and I couldn’t get through this without you.
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