Sunday, June 17, 2007

Harsh Words

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.

What kind of duty or responsibility does a friend have toward another?

I have been best friends with A. for over 25 years. We have had amazing times and gone through difficult ones. We have become a part of each others family, and extended family. Our history together has become inter-twined with our own individual histories. We are each others sister, supporter, cheering section, Barnabus and each others "person" (ref: Gray's Anatomy).

So when your best friend is going through the (probably) most difficult time in her life, I know that I must love, not judge and support unconditionally, but do I mention the "other point of view" and bring up things that may not want to be looked at.

My friend wants to leave her husband. Her marriage is not what she wants for a marriage. They have a son. She will probably leave him too. The marriage is not abusive or horrible, it's just not what she wants. She feels the husband is not trying how she wants him to try. He is not being married "her way" and she doesn't accept "his efforts". Somehow she doesn't see them as valid. She has stopped trying, on purpose. She is waiting "for the right time". I think she is planning her "exit strategy".

Divorce doesn't get rid of the problems. It just trades in the old ones for new ones. They will be forever connected as parents of their son. The husband will not be out of her life. He will still have a presence, especially if the son lives with him.

They say in today's society we have unrealistic expectations of love and marriage and family and how to be with and treat each other. That through movies, books and movies, etc. we see only romance and flowers and if that isn't there or has gone missing, it is time to move on. That no one portrays the sacramental marriage. But if you ask any couple married over 50 years what the secret is, they always say things like "tolerance" and "patience" - never gooey love references.

My friend is a self-confessed control freak. The men in her life respond in one of two ways. They pay lip-service to her control and lie and cheat and she is unhappy. Or, they give in to her control and let her do it her way, because she insists on it, and she is unhappy. This is a pattern of many years. It will only change if she changes. She is the constant variable. She doesn't want to change.

If she is not going to change, why wreck the boy's life? Not that divorce automatically wrecks a child's life. It's just that for a successful divorce, you need two flexible, non control-freak people to co-parent and in this situation, that is doubtful. If the only thing that changes are the players in the game, but the game itself is the same, is the change worth it?

So, do I say that? Is it part of my responsibility as a good friend, wanting the best for her and her son, to mention this as food for thought? Or do I say nothing and keep my opinions to myself? Will she say years later, that I should have said something? Even though we are friends, is it really any of my business?

Is saying something being judgmental? Must support be silent?

How can I be friends with a mother who leaves her child? How can I love her and not judge that? I don't know if I have the ability to separate that.

I, more than anyone, know that marriage is hard. That divorce is hard. That starting over is hard, because of all the baggage that never leaves your side. I know this. Do I have a duty to share this information or do I just let her figure it out for herself? Would my choices have been different if someone had really told me? Would I have listened?

I feel like I am swimming around and against a whirlpool.

What should I do?

I pray about it all the time...

Love On Another...

Do Unto Others...

Harsh words spoken in love are still harsh words.



Brenda said...

Ouch. There is no easy answer, but there is a right answer. I believe that you are struggling with this because you know that the right thing to do is the hardest thing.

We are not to judge those outside the church because they don't know the Lord. Our responsibility to them is to lead them to Him.

Those within the body of Christ are accountable to one another, and our responsibility is to encourage one another to remain in the faith. That includes rebuking a brother or sister who is in danger of falling (or leaping) into error.

We don't have to learn only from our own mistakes. It's wise to learn from the mistakes of others. Perhaps what you've learned the hard way was meant for you to help another avoid similar hardship.

Ezekiel 3:19-21

James 5:19-20

I'll be praying...

Shelby said...

Hi. I found your very nice blog this morning . .

This is a tough subject and you have approached it very well. I can tell you have a deep concern for your friend and her marriage.

We can pray for some peace and comfort for her in her seemingly unreasonable expectations.

It is tough, I know.

Scratchin' the Surface said...

Esther was there, for such a time as this. Possibly you are too. If y our friend is a believer, then you approach it from that perspective, even if she's not you still approach it as a loving friend. I'd rather regret what I said, than watch their marriage dissolve and say nothing to regret that later.