I met a friend out for dinner the other night. We hadn’t even opened our menus, when she turned to me and asked, “How’s your marriage?” Now this is a very good friend of mine—we hang out all the time and talk about everything. And yet, I was totally caught off guard by the question.
It turns out that she had just learned a friend was getting a divorce. She was shocked because they seemed to be happy. In fact, they’d been drifting apart and unhappy with their relationship for years, but just never said anything. And why not? Well, no one ever asked and it seemed too personal to bring up. So my friend decided she’d start the conversation with all her friends.
As a domestic violence advocate, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been asked: “How can you tell if someone is in an abusive relationship? What are the red flags I should look for before saying something?” I can’t help but wonder, why do we spend so much time and energy trying to figure out if there’s a problem before we feel like we can ask about it? I mean, why wait?
Seems like it’d be a lot easier for our friends to turn to us when things aren’t going well, if chatting about our relationships was something we already did. So I say, don’t wait until you’re worried—just ask now.