New research in the Journal of Personal and Social Relationship shows that talking to your best friend about your relationship problems may very well lead to even bigger relationship problems! According to the authors of the study,
There appears to be link between discussing problems with your partner and greater romantic love. This could mean that discussing problems strengthens feelings of love. Of course, it could also be that couples who are more in love are more likely to discuss problems or that the problems they’re discuss are less severe (e.g., “I don’t like that shirt you wear.” Vs. “I don’t like your personality.”).
When your relationship experiences problems and challenges, it is important to discuss them with your partner. Discussing your issues with a best friend may actually be counterproductive. It is important to note that relationship work with one’s friend and partner are not mutually exclusive. You can discuss issues with both. Most likely, the problems with best friend relationship work arise when it takes place in place of relationship work with the partner.
Overall, it seems the best takeaway is to deal with relationship problems at the source. After all, your partner is in a much better position to fix what’s wrong. READ MORE HERE.
I actually discuss this in When Divorce Is Not An Option: How to Heal Your Marriage and Nurture Lasting Love which explores the habits that separate happy from unhappy couples. The 8th habit is “Seek Healthy Support.” Spouses who first try to speak to their mate about their concerns and, failing that, are careful to seek help from people who are both impartial and able to offer new tools or ideas are MUCH happier in their relationships than spouses who seek support from friends who will take their side or are in the same relationship boat. People in happy marriages are much more likely to attend workshops and retreats on marriage improvement, read books on improving their relationships, or go to counseling. Couples who are less happy tend not to do these things. Instead, they tend to take their problems to people who will take their side, join in their complaints, and support them in keeping things the way they are.
If you are struggling in your relationship, tell your spouse about your concerns first, but if that doesn’t seem to be working, be sure to turn to sources that can offer you something new and work for your mutual good. And if you’d like to learn more about seeking faithful professional support for improving your marriage, please visit the Pastoral Solutions Institute to discover how our tele-counseling practice can assist you in experiencing the marriage God wants you to have.