You know something needs to change in your relationship, but you don’t where to start. If you’re looking for advice about your relationship, these tips will help you find the right person. Which, you may be surprised to learn, is actually the one you see when you look in the mirror. You are your own best advice giver because you know yourself better than anyone. The problem? If you take your own advice, you have nobody to blame if things don’t work out. Except, of course, yourself.
I recently wrote about recognizing the signs your relationship is worth fighting for, then I realized I didn’t actually talk about how women can get relationship advice that is trustworthy and insightful. I know how difficult it is to make a decision and take action towards making big changes in life. I also know what it’s like to get stuck in the “advice seeking stage.” Sometimes we focus more on asking for relationship advice, and less on listening to our own inner voices.
Below are a few tips for getting good relationship advice for women. First, though, I have a question for you. Why are you searching for advice? Yes, you need help with your relationship. But did you know that women who ask for help often already know the answer? They just don’t want to face the truth about their relationship…and themselves.
5 Ways to Get Good Relationship Advice
Confession: I’m not a fan of giving or even getting relationship advice! I think it’s more important to follow our intuition and listen to that still small voice. We know what ourselves better than anyone, and we have the answers inside of us.
Do you already know what you should do about your relationship? Maybe you don’t need advice. Maybe you need someone to help you move forward, to be your companion as you make decisions that change your life. You may not need to find relationship advice; you need strength and courage to do what you know you need to do. Give yourself time. Sometimes it’s easier to stay stuck, to feel trapped and helpless. It’s scary to take action, but it really is the healthiest, smartest way to move forward in your life.
Talking through our problems and concerns is different than looking for relationship advice. For instance, if you’re wondering if you should trust your boyfriend after he cheated, you need to rely on your gut instincts. That still small voice inside of you knows what to do. Your best friend or beloved mom can’t tell you if he’ll cheat again…but in your heart of hearts, you know the truth.
1. Talk to a woman who has experienced a similar problem
I’ve never had children, and I’ve never experienced a divorce as a wife. My friends have gotten divorced, my mom and aunt and grandmother were all divorced, my sister is divorced…but I’ve never been through a divorce myself. Thus, I don’t think I’m the best person to give relationship advice to women who are considering divorce – especially if they have children. I can encourage women to listen to their inner selves and do what feels right to them…but I can’t give divorce advice.
One of the best tips on how to get good relationship advice for women is to talk to someone who has experienced a similar situation. She’ll have a better understanding of what you’re going through, and she can help you navigate the ups and downs. For instance, if you’re not happy but not sure about getting a divorce, a divorced woman can help you figure out what step to take next.
2. Avoid advice givers who are invested in your relationship
Your mom, best friend, or even a coworker is invested in your relationship. If you ask your best friend for relationship advice, her perspective is colored by her love for you, her opinion of your partner, and her hopes for your future. She isn’t objective. Same with your mother and your coworker. They love you, and they are personally invested in what happens to you. Your decisions affect them. So, their advice will be biased. They won’t consciously decide to give you bad or selfish advice, but their opinions won’t necessarily be objective.
How do you get good relationship advice? By seeking an objective, impartial person who can see both sides of the story without taking sides. A counsellor is a great option. (If you go for marriage or personal counselling, make sure you spend time assessing the fit. Don’t just choose the first counsellor you find on the internet).
3. Be honest about your fault and weaknesses
Many women ask me for relationship advice here on Blossom. Most of them focus on what their partners are doing, saying, and thinking. Most women who ask for advice about their relationships don’t describe what they can do differently.
Few women tell me about the mistakes they themselves have made, and hardly anyone says that they trust themselves to make the right decision.
If you sincerely want to know how to get good relationship advice, you need to remember to share both sides of your situation. Don’t just talk about all the mistakes your partner made, or his weaknesses and failures, or how he disappoints you. Getting truly good advice means that you have to share both sides of your relationship. You have to be honest about your faults and weaknesses, your mistakes and regrets.
4. Listen to the still small voice inside of you (your intuition!)
If you haven’t met your intuition, you’re overdue for a meeting. She is your gut instincts, that still small voice that guides you at the most unexpected times. For me, that still small voice is God. My favorite way to “seek advice” from God is to write. I ask questions in my prayer journal, and write down whatever I hear. Sometimes it seems like advice, other times it’s just my own thoughts or fears. Regardless if I get the answers I’m looking for, I rely on journaling to build a stronger relationship with God.
Can you hear that still small voice inside of you? Even if you keep searching for relationship advice – or even get counseling – listen to your inner self. Test the advice you get against her, your intuition. Say, for example, you get advice about letting go of someone you love. Instead of reacting or packing your bags, take time to process it. Run it through your own filter. Is it good advice? Maybe. But it may not be the best advice for you at this point in your life. How do you know? Listen to that still small voice inside you.
5. If you seek relationship advice from a counselor, know that…
Counseling may not save your relationship. Some couples think a counselor will solve their communication problems, improve their intimate life, and end all conflict. The truth is that marriage counseling can actually lead to a decision to split up (which isn’t what most couples expect from marriage counseling!). Read 4 Reasons Marriage Counseling Leads to Divorce.
Your boyfriend or husband may not change. Change is not a realistic expectation of counseling. The only person counseling has a chance of changing is YOU, and perhaps your counselor. Don’t go into marriage counseling with the expectation that your partner will become a different person. This is foolish and unrealistic, and will set you up for disappointment and frustration.
Your marriage may not improve immediately. Or ever. In fact, you can expect the opposite in marriage counseling. My husband and I went to a couples communication group therapy evening, and we ended up fighting for two days after it was over. Why? Because we were trying to solve our communication problems, and this created conflict! Conflict isn’t a bad thing in marriage – if it’s handled with love, patience, open-mindedness, and self-awareness.
Your relationship may get worse before it gets better. This is what you can expect from counseling: your relationship will be tested, poked, prodded, examined, and turned upside down. Counseling – if it’s done right – is a painful process. But, the conflict and communication difficulties you’ll encounter are short-term. The long-term result is a happier, healthier, more stable relationship.
Neither you nor your husband will enjoy going to counseling. I was in counseling for almost a year before I got married, because I wanted to be as emotionally healthy and stable as possible before marriage. I did not enjoy much of it. I enjoyed the first couple of sessions, because it was fun to talk about myself to someone who was eager to listen to every word! But then it got hard. If you go to marriage counseling, you can expect not to enjoy it.
Your turn: where do you go when you need relationship advice? For an example of women giving each other relationship advice online, read When Your Husband Still Works With His Ex Affair Partner.