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Health & Sex

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What Your Friend's Divorce Means for Your Marriage

"How strong is our marriage?" continued...

Naturally, this ticks us off — but it shouldn't, says Haltzman. "It's just your husband's way of making sense of things, his way of understanding cause and effect." And that's actually good news for you as a wife. "You want him to figure out what it is wives are looking for, what things you think are important when you hear other women are divorcing," says Haltzman. "Instead of getting upset, you can use it as an opportunity to educate him."

Besides, talking to your husband about your relationship might be a welcome switch from slicing and dicing it with your girlfriends. With them egging you on, it's all too easy to fall into the habit of only discussing the bad patches of your marriage (the same way people are more apt to go on and on about miserable, rainy weather and generally let crystal clear, low humidity days pass without comment). And while you may get reassurance from your friends that being annoyed with your husband and occasionally arguing with him are just part of being married, you may also forget that these are issues you need to discuss — with your spouse. "Some friendships are bonded around life's problems," says Pamela Berger, a therapist in private practice in Brooklyn. "But connecting around complaints about your husband makes it easier not to truly confront the problems in marriage."

What's worse, when a friend who's vented the same way you did (or seemed to, anyway) decides she's had enough, you may start to wonder if your grievances are divorce-worthy, too. Thus commences the microscopic reevaluation of every facet of your marriage — a research project your soon-to-be-single friend is sure to join in on. "I went out with my newly divorced friend for a drink one night, and she told me, 'Wow, it sounds like yours isn't going to last, either,'" says Jessica, 33, a mother of two in northern New Jersey. This harsh comment made her incredibly angry. "But it also got me to make a concerted effort to invest time in making the bad things in my marriage better," she says.

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