Ok! So you need some relationship advice and you have a friend that has a good relationship so you figured you’d ask them for help to fix yours. This is not always a good idea.

As a marriage and relationship coach I find that one of the biggest mistakes people make when they are having problems in their relationship, is taking relationship advice from their friends!

Now, I’m not saying not to take any marriage or relationship advice from your friends, I’m simply saying that when it comes to making that very complex decision to end a committed relationship, like a marriage, it is best to speak with people who have a bit more understanding of how committed relationships are meant to work. People who understand the real danger signs that a relationship is doomed to fail and the real reasons why relationships that start off dreamy can end up as the nightmare that you are currently experiencing. I also have a very specific post that explains the reasons why you actually need marriage coaching from a professional, instead of relying on your friends.

Unless your best friend has been happily married for a long time, and that friend is similar to you and their spouse is similar to your spouse, I still would not recommend taking marriage advice from them.  Marriages and relationships don’t work because people don’t fight, marriages and relationships work because the people in the marriage or relationship know how to fight.

This is why I made the point that unless your friend is similar to you and your spouse or partner is similar to your friend’s spouse or partner, what is working for them just might not work for you.

So the next time you are thinking about breaking up a long term committed relationship or marriage and have an urge to go talk to your best friend about what to do, please keep the following points in mind.

Reason 1: They do not know your spouse as well as you think

Even if your friend has known your spouse for a long time, they don’t really know your spouse!  At least not well enough to be able to advise you on how to deal with conflict with him or her.  Ever heard of the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? I’m sure you have.  Well it’s true.

Men and women view relationships differently.  For example, a woman might complain to her friend that the reason she is frustrated with her husband is that he doesn’t like to deal with emotional issues.  You know why? Because it is likely that if her husband grew up in a normal, male childhood environment where he wasn’t taught as a kid to deal with his emotions.  He just doesn’t have the experience!  The reality is most women have to be the emotional leaders in their relationship because men are typically not equipped to lead in this area, simply based on how they were raised. Women typically have to be the primary driver towards resolving the issues that arise in the relationship.

You’re likely to face a similar problem, if you’re a man trying to get advice on how to deal with a conflict with your wife, from your best pal.  Your pal is not likely to truly understand why your wife responds to emotional conflict the way she does.  You might be complaining to your friend that the reason you and your wife are not getting along is because she doesn’t respect you, and you can tell from the way she speaks to you. However, lack of respect tends to be an end result of a woman not feeling loved by her husband, a minor detail the man is unlikely to mention to his friend, while he is complaining about his wife. Most men are unlikely to admit to their friends that they do not give their wives enough attention, which is the primary reason wives feel unloved. When a woman doesn’t feel loved, she doesn’t feel safe in her relationship.  She doesn’t feel like she is her spouse’s number one priority and doesn’t feel like her spouse understands or appreciates her needs.  This affects her entire persona, and in a lot of women, this situation manifests itself in the form of nagging, criticism, complaining and eventually silence, when she no longer cares. The average friend, might not understand relationship dynamics from this perspective.

Reason 2: They do not know you as well as you think 

Most people fail to realize their best friends don’t know them as well as they think.  To put this in context, when a couple argues, there are so many things going on. There are words that are said to each other.  There are reactions to those words.  There is the physical impact of the disagreement on both parties, and when people are in the middle of an argument with someone they love, unless they both have learned the necessary skills required to have a healthy argument, they are both likely fueling the fire of the argument negatively.  This has nothing to do with who happens to be right or wrong. So similar to the point made earlier about not being as honest with their friends as they think, most people are probably not honest about the things we say during arguments that fuel the fire and force negative reactions out of our partners.

Reason 3: They do not know what type of relationship you have

Research has shown that most marriages settle into about 5 different types from a conflict resolution perspective of which 3 can be successful and 2 are always bound for failure if changes are not made. These are facts that are likely to be oblivious to the average friend who is being asked for advice on how to resolve a conflict. It is unlikely they know what type of marriage the arguing couple have from a conflict resolution perspective and what danger signs to look out for because these are different depending on the type of marriage in question.

Reason 4: They do not know what it takes to save your relationship

The average friend really does not know how to save a relationship. They might not understand how to steer their friend, who feels like their grievances are valid and need to be heard, away from criticizing their partner for the actual health of the relationship. They might not understand the long-term impact of the negative behaviors their friend is projecting to his or her partner in reaction to the conflict they are dealing with. They might not understand how to get their friend to stop being defensive about perceived attacks from their spouse and other behaviors that need to be curtailed in order for relationships in conflict to heal.

Reason 5: They do not know the signs of a healthy relationship

Times of conflict are not the only times people seek relationship advice. Sometimes people just want to know the right thing to do. People want to know how to love their spouses. People want to know how to communicate with them effectively. People want to know what they need to do to make sure their intimacy remains intact. There is a path to discovery of what all these things mean within each unique relationship. While some friends and mentors have the wisdom to guide most people down this path, I strongly recommend you lean more on a coach who specializes in helping couples discover the meaning of health for their own relationship.

Wish you all the best!

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About ZeeZee

ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.