While driving around town a few days ago, I heard a radio talk show host give a woman advice that was so off-the-wall, I figured I'd mention it here as a good example of "outside influences."
The talk show host is well known, has a national audience and his subject is money and finances. (I won't mention his name, as that part of the story is not that important). A woman calls all excited to talk to the host and says her fiance wants a pre-nuptial. She says he's got a handful of old cars that are treasured collectibles and apparently he doesn't want to lose them if the marriage goes sour.
The woman explains a bit more about her fiance, that he's been in school for awhile, learning a craft and the talk show host jumps in and goes on for about five minutes about how big a mistake the woman is making by going ahead with the marriage! He even tells her that if you were my daughter that, "I'd do everything in my power to make sure you didn't marry this guy!" He uses this five minutes to severely criticize the woman's fiance.
Now I realize this is a more-than-obvious example of an "outside influence" but this woman started off the conversation with a fiance she loved dearly and a minor concern about the pre-nup and as the talk show host worked her over for those five minutes you could see that she was starting to feel different about her fiance.
And I also realize this woman most likely should NOT have called the show to get "advice" about her fiance AND whatever advice he gave she should NOT have let it affect her. But unfortunately these kinds of things can and do happen.
If you (or your spouse) are talking to a friend or another family member about your spouse and you receive advice that is derogatory in some way, realize the potential exists that you'll leave that conversation with less affinity for your spouse. You may have had good intentions going into that conversation, perhaps wanting to air some concerns you have, but you have to be aware of the fact that someone outside of your marriage has the potential to reduce the love and affection one spouse has for the other.
Sometimes a marriage is being hurt by a hidden outside influence. This person is not immediately obvious to the husband or wife. In my book, When the Thrill Is Gone, a procedure is given to locate a hidden, negative influence on a marriage. Locating such a source of trouble can bring tremendous relief to a marriage.
Having an awareness of "outside influences" as a factor in your marriage can be very helpful.