Wedding Woes

Figure out how to be supportive without weighing in on specifics about him.

Dear Prudence,

About six years ago, my best friend from childhood, “B,” got married. We were in our mid-twenties, and there was something that felt slightly off about the relationship. It wasn’t her husband, he seemed nice enough. It took me a while to realize that it just didn’t seem like a good fit. There were key relationship moments that B felt went poorly, but I thought she was happy overall, so I never expressed my feelings. After she got married, it was clear she had shifted most of her focus on her relationship with her husband and we drifted apart as friends.

Last year, we reconnected. Things seemed fine at first until she admitted that she was having trouble in her marriage. Not big, marriage-ending things but a bunch of little things. B feels like she’s failing as a wife. She says things like, “I wish I knew what I was doing,” and “Why can’t I get this right.” I mentioned couples therapy, but B’s husband won’t go. He apparently thinks that all the small issues they’re experiencing are normal for married life. That response in and of itself makes me wish I would have made sure she was happy with the relationship and not just willing to settle to get married. I think she may have settled for a guy that just isn’t the supportive partner B needs. I’m wondering if I should mention this, very tactfully, that they may not be a good match. I don’t want her to think that I’ve been judging her, but I also don’t want her to feel like she doesn’t have the support she needs. What do you think I should do?

—Friendly Advisor

Re: Figure out how to be supportive without weighing in on specifics about him.

  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 27
    Here is my midwestern, Yeah no, don't do that.

    Just be supportive of her, continue to encourage her, and don't crap on her marriage.  The only thing that will happen is she'll turn from you.
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited March 27
    LW, messengers get shot...every time.  

    Being supportive can be something like, she says, "He gets upset if I fall behind on laundry/dishes/bathroom/whatever."  Instead of saying, "What a jerk!" You can say, "Well you both wear clothes/use dishes/showershitshave, so he can switch loads/put dishes in the dishwasher/scrub a toilet." 

  • She isn’t your project to fix. It’s sucks your friend is unhappy, but unless you suspect abuse I think you listen to her until she asks for advice. Sometimes people just want to vent. 

    Maybe this LW should find the one complaining about her MIL! 
  • Ugh, no.  Don't act like or say it was a big mistake they got married.  That's not supportive at all.  Listen to her and be a non-judgmental ear.

    And stop with the misguided guilt of "if only you had warned her" before they got married.  She was always going to marry this guy.  Nothing the LW could have said would have changed that.

    I saw my close friend get married when I was pretty sure it would be a huge mistake and it was.  I gently suggested they wait a bit longer to get married, since they'd only known each other a couple months when they got engaged and were planning a wedding 6 months later.  I tried the positive spin, "You're only engaged once!  Enjoy it.  Make it last."  But she resolutely didn't want to wait and I didn't push it, because it only would have hurt our friendship and wouldn't have made a difference.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • There's not much you can do here but be a sympathetic listener. If you must say anything, keep it to commenting on the situation, and not on B's husband as a person. There's a big difference between saying "That seems unfair" or "I get why you're frustrated" and saying "Your husband is a huge jerk." Blasting him personally will not end well - however unhappy she may be, she will choose him over her friendship with you if you veer into that territory.
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