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Ladies, when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s essential to choose your counsel carefully.

Whether you are looking for advice on your marriage, getting divorced, getting married, a romantic interest, or how to navigate the dating scene chances are almost everyone has a take on the “right” thing to do.

However, I have found most of the time that advice is exactly the opposite of good counsel! While it may be well meaning and well intended, if it steers you in the wrong direction the results can be disastrous and long lasting.

My advice would be to seek relationship-type counsel from male family members (who can often see through guy-games much better than any woman!) or trusted women older than yourself who are themselves in happy, healthy, long-term relationships. While they may not always tell you what you want to hear, the fact that they themselves are successfully navigating these waters, even if they have not faced your particular situation, suggests they have the experience to guide you to success.

Likewise, avoid the counsel of friends, family, and co-workers who themselves are not doing well or have not done well on the relationship front. While such women (and men!) can often seem to know what they are talking about, and even speak with authority, chances are their advice won’t work any better for you than it is working for themselves.  Especially so if their love life is a constant hot mess!

You see, advice geared toward single and married women today is often exactly the opposite of what works. And this bad advice is much more commonly available and espoused than good advice.

Often when a gal is struggling in her marriage, for example, she’ll find far more voices of support for her to just leave and move on than she will encouraging her to work things out.

Likewise, single women are often given advice that leaves them sitting by the phone wondering if a guy will call back or brokenhearted than advice that will lead to a stable, solid, successful match.

There’s a saying in the investment world that to win, one should do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. I think that advice can apply here as well. Because let’s face it, there are far more people in failed, failing, or miserable relationship situations than there are ones who are not. Doing and being different is likely the secret to those who find success.

So next time you find yourself wondering what to do about a relationship issue, remember to choose your counsel carefully.  Listen to those who are truly “winning” in love. Often their advice will involve patience, sacrifice of instant gratification for long-term results, grace, forgiveness, self-discipline, and other ways you can improve the situation on YOUR part, rather than a focus on, “what he needs to do.”

Perhaps the hardest part about choosing your counsel carefully is that the ones most worth listening to may say what you least want to hear. In fact, that alone may be a good sign their advice is on the right track. If it’s the opposite of 90 percent of the advice on love and relationships you see, hear, or read today, it’s likely worth pondering. If it’s the same old stuff you hear at every turn, beware!

I wish somebody would have said these things to me in my youth.  And I wish I would have been more discerning who I sought counsel from.  Most of my “advisers” weren’t doing well in relationships then, and no surprise they still aren’t today! Sadly, I can’t turn back time, but I can try to share what I have learned the hard way in hopes it helps others avoid the same path.

Today I am very selective in whose counsel I keep. I’ll take advice from someone who is succeeding over the advice of someone who is not any day! I would suggest you do the same!

What do you think? Please share in the comments!