When we get married, we don’t often think much about how each of our respective circle of friends will continue to change and evolve over time. That’s because we’re focused on our spouse–and rightly so. But the truth is, friendships will come and go like they always have.
Betrayal is an incredibly painful experience, and it’s something all of us experience at different times, in different relationships, throughout our lives. So if your spouse has been betrayed by a friend, how do you support them through it?
Trust your spouse’s judgment
Sometimes, a betrayal can blindside us. But other times, it’s possible to see what’s coming before it happens. If your spouse begins to voice suspicion that a friend of theirs might have betrayed them (or be in the process), trust their assessment of the situation.
You might not be ready to see what your spouse sees, especially if this person is your friend, too. As Christians, we tend to give others the benefit of the doubt–and that’s not a bad thing. But if your spouse points out red flags, it’s wise to pause and pay attention. And, if what you see is still in conflict with your spouse’s point of view, gently discuss it with them.
Be there to listen
If your spouse is reeling from a painful experience with a friend, they may want to talk about it–a lot. Be willing to be there for them and to listen; sometimes we have to talk about things in order to get clarity on something we’re experiencing, and your spouse may need just that.
Beyond listening, be willing to offer your spouse whatever kind of comfort they need during this time. Maybe it’s space, or perhaps you need to share a fun activity together to get your minds off what’s happening. Either way, your friendship will be invaluable while your spouse navigates the situation.
Don’t approach the friend
When our spouse’s friends hurt them, it hurts us, too. Maybe we’ve cultivated our own friendship with that person over the years, merely because of their connection to our spouse. You might feel angry at this friend’s betrayal, but it’s best not to approach them.
If you confront your spouse’s friend in anger, you risk making the situation worse. Even in the most volatile of situations, it’s possible for friends to work out their own problems. But once other people become involved, the situation can easily deteriorate or become more complicated than it was before.
Don’t say “I told you so”
Sometimes, our spouses have friends we may not be a fan of (and this can go both ways). If, for some reason, you didn’t care for the person who has betrayed your spouse, it won’t help to tell your husband or wife, “I told you so.” In fact, chances are they realize their misstep in trusting this person. Don’t rub it in.
What you two need to do now is focus on the future. How will you prevent something like this from happening again? Are there red flags you could look for in future friends? A trusted, professional counselor may be able to help you both learn more about how to choose healthy friendships in the future.
Prepare for a grieving process
Losing a friend is one of the hardest things we can go through in our life. And the grieving process can begin long before a confrontation ever occurs. Understand that your spouse is grieving the loss of this friendship, and you might feel that same grief as well.
Try not to dictate to your spouse how he or she should go about letting this friendship go. In some cases, it may be necessary to speak up. But most of the time, your spouse will work through this in their own time. The most important thing is to be there for them while they do.
Has your spouse been betrayed by a friend? How did you help them through it? Share your stories with us in the comments below.