Seeking Relationship AdvicePosted: April 1, 2013
When we fight with our spouse or significant other, we want to vent about the problem to someone. We want to get our feelings off our chest, and if we’re mad at the one person we usually turn to, where do we go? Our parents? Siblings? Friends?
Here is one simple, but extremely important, rule for seeking relationship advice: talk to someone who is in the kind of relationship you want. It’s like that saying, you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you are wanting to get a promotion in your career, you wouldn’t seek advice from someone who is working at the level you’re at or someone who is working under you. Likely, they don’t have the experience or best knowledge that you need to move up in your career path. That knowledge and experience comes from seeking advice from those who have already been promoted.
That doesn’t mean that just because you’re married that you can’t have single friends anymore. But when we’re in a fight, my husband isn’t going to take advice from his bachelor friends who have never been married and don’t have children, and I’m not going to ask my girlfriends who are divorced what they think I should do. We still respect all of our friends and their relationship decisions and statuses. But if they aren’t on the same relationship path, they aren’t going to have the best knowledge and experience for us. Instead, we look to our parents who have been married for decades or other friends who are married with young children. Those are the ones who understand where we are at and how to overcome whatever our disagreement may be.
What I’ve also noticed throughout the years is this: when I seek relationship advice from my single friends, I’m more likely to get sympathy and comments like, “I can’t believe he would do that! He shouldn’t say things like that! You’re so right to be angry about that!” But when I explain the situation to my married friends, I’m more like to get empathy and comments like, “Yes, I can understand how that might have made you feel. What if you tried approaching the situation like this? What can you do that might make the situation better?” When we are angry and emotional, we want justification. We want someone like our single friends to say, “Yes, you are right to be mad.” But that’s not always what our relationship needs, and it’s usually my friends who are in a generally happy and caring relationship that can give me the constructive advice that I need, rather than the emotional acceptance that I want.
My husband and I do not have a perfect relationship, but I know that by continually striving to understand each other, learn what we can do to defuse a situation rather than set it on fire, and seeking advice from others who have endured the same types of disagreements, we are growing a healthy and lasting marriage.
Whether it’s your relationship, your career, or just life in general, don’t seek advice from where you’ve been or where you are, but where you want to be.
Thanks for reading today!