Monday, April 23, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose
These days, it's almost impossible NOT to have a friend who is going through the painful process of divorce, or thinking about starting the process. More than 50% of marriages end up in divorce, and each one means that someone has suffered. Divorce is a messy business and can be difficult on two people who made the promise to marry for life. It can also be hard on children whose parents are going through divorce. Divorce can be complicated, because it not only involves the division of people within the marriage, but often material goods such as a couple's home, cars, money, and possessions need to be divided. Of course, if there are children involved, the effects can be devistating. While I would encourage every couple to work hard on their marriage, to be willing to comprimise and empathize, I do recognize that some marriages will fail. If you have a friend or relative that has reached this point, this is my advice to help them through a difficult time.

  • 100% acceptance - give your friend a safe non-judgmental environment to vent. But don't participate in the blame game. That only makes things worse.
  • Be someone who understands that your friend's pain is real - do not bring up individuals who have had it worse, like widows or burn victims, or say "at least you have your children", or "thank goodness you don't have children," or "you have your looks and health, you will find someone soon again." Those phrases diminish the real pain that your friend is experiencing at that moment.
  • Promise secrecy – and keep your promise! Private matters that have been disclosed to you should not be shared with others, not even your spouse.
  • Provide your friend with a shoulder to cry on - let them talk; sometimes that is all they need, but place a time limit on their pity pot talk. Change the subject if your friend starts to rehash familiar territory. They need to grieve first and then let their anger out, but it is not good for them to mull over the same set of offenses over and over again.
  • Give them hugs - remember that someone going through divorce has lost physical contact with their life's mate, and that hugs are better than medicine.
  • Provide your friend with your logic and ability to think straight - depression affects the brain. Remember, your friend is filled with anxiety and there are times when he or she can't plan strategically at all. Refer your friend to experts and self-help groups, or help them sort through the myriad of bewildering topics they will need to address - lawyers, realtors, job searches.
  • Include your friend in fun outings and invite them to parties and events - even if they don't feel like going. This especially holds true for women, who are often dumped from the party circuit for reasons that are mystifying. Plan a lot of “girls night out” events.
  • Keep in touch with regular calls, text messages, and via Facebook, Twitter, and cards - your friend may not respond, but these evidences of caring help. They'll come round and respond eventually.
  • Be an honest friend - this takes diplomacy, but if you see self-destructive behavior, have the courage to step in and stop it.
  • Drive them or their children - many separated people are unable to share the load of driving, which becomes evident as time passes. Offer to drive when you go on a shared outing, or to take their children to their events. It's the little details that count and provide relief.
  • CHOCOLATE – they will need lots
  •  of chocolate!

  • Most importantly - prayers! Pray for whatever will be in their best interest, not what you think they want or what you want the outcome to be. This is the sign of a true friend!
Remember not to judge either party in a divorce. No one really knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a marriage. I know I've wanted to shoot someone after listening to a friend's account of how she was treated, but I restrained myself and didn't even shoot off my mouth! I was rewarded later when they reconciled and my friend cut off other friends who had bad mouthed her husband! She appreciated my support and discression, but especially the fact that I never put her husband down to her or anyone else. They've been happily married for 10 years since the incident!

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. "
Mignon McLaughlin


  1. Great advice, Marion! I think you made excellent points. Don't try to make it better, just listen. That is so important to keep in mind. Having gone through this extremely painful process, I know I would have been lost without the support and understanding of my friends and family.

  2. I have a dear friend going through this right now. Your advice has been invaluable! Thank you so much.

  3. I have a dear friend going through this right now. Your advice has been invaluable! Thank you so much.

  4. I have a dear friend going through this right now. Your advice has been invaluable! Thank you so much.