Ask Kari: How can I support my in-laws if they won’t share why they’re in marital counseling?

Dear Kari,

My brother in law and sister in law are in marital counseling but won’t tell us why. I want to try and support them, but I feel that would it be easier to do if my husband and I knew what is the cause of their marriage problems?

Just Asking

Dear Just Asking,

While I can recognize that you have concern for your in-laws, I have to wonder why the details of their martial struggles are that important to you? While knowing exactly what their challenges are may enlighten you slightly, the most important facts are that they need your love and support as they address their issues on their own. A couple should maintain their privacy as they address their private matters, as doing so enriches the focus on the two of them as a team versus hearing opinions from everyone they know. We care for our loved ones best by telling them that we wish them well and hope that things turn out as they hope for.


As published in the December 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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