Giving & Getting Advice on Your Difficult Decision

How many times has someone sought your advice and asked you what to do about a difficult situation? How many times have you asked for advice yourself only to not follow what those well-intentioned people have told you?

Clients of mine seek counsel with family about their struggling marriages only to hear about how they should make it work at all costs. They will also receive wisdom from friends and confidants that will tell them it’s time to leave the marriage. And yet, you’re still feeling stuck, absolutely paralyzed, not knowing how to move forward but also not knowing how to fix the marriage and make it better either.

When someone we love is in a struggle, we genuinely want to help them find a solution to their problem. But as much as we want to help, we truly cannot give someone else their answer to their lives. All we can ever do is tell them our answer for their lives, which even though well-intentioned, isn’t terribly effective.

And likewise, the advice others give us when our marriages are falling apart isn’t terribly helpful either. It’s not helpful because it’s their answer for our lives, as opposed to our answer for our lives.

  • What we need is an answer that feels true to us.
  • What we need is an answer that feels like the right option, even though it’s difficult.
  • What we need is an answer we can live with and not regret.

People reach out all the time hoping I can give them an answer through Messenger or email, and in a few sentences be able to solve their relationship struggles.

When people contact me like this and ask for advice, and ask if they should stay in their marriage or leave, I cannot really give it to them.

I wish I could.

I wish it were that easy, but it is not.

Here’s why:
These are people I do not know, whose situation I do not have a complete picture of; just a few lines about their situation given to me through email. And those few lines cannot tell the whole story.

It would be irresponsible for me to assume I know enough to guide them in a decision as important as this one without spending time to learn about them, where they are, how they got there, where they’re wanting to go and why they haven’t been able to get there on their own thus far.
Another reason I just cannot give advice and tell them what to is, is that it just does not work. If I say to you: “You should leave, there is nothing you can do.” Or, “you should stay, it will be fine.” Does this give you what you need to move forward? Does this help you make a decision or feel like you suddenly have some clarity you did not have before?

No. It does not.

Chances are, you have already asked friends, family, maybe a counselor, or co-worker what you should do, and they have probably given you their best advice. Yet, you are still stuck and confused. Having someone tell you what to do does not bring you peace and clarity for a decision.

Ultimately, the reason I cannot give someone their answer, is because my answer for their life is not what they are really wanting to get. They need to find THEIR OWN answer for THEIR life. Their heart and mind needs to find peace with THEIR OWN decision so they have the ability to move through the next steps. Whether the next steps are to try and re-connect with their partner, or to move on from the relationship, the choice is deeply personal and can only come from within.

If that’s what you want to achieve – your answer – then let’s talk.

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