Help! My husband wants a divorce but I still love him! I get this email (and far too many like it) on a daily basis. I always start with the same reassurance: there’s a way back from this. So what can you do about it?
If at least one of you wants to save the marriage (I’m assuming that’s you in this case) then there’s a way back from this. Changing your husband’s mind about divorce starts with showing him you still love him and reminding him of why you were married, to begin with.
Imagine this situation: you are fairly happy in your marriage. It may not be perfect, it has its ups and downs, but you still love your husband and want to stay married. Then, your husband comes to you and tells you that he wants a divorce. This might possibly be the worst thing a wife can ever hear and while it might seem like the end of the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is no hope for the marriage. Before making any big decisions, think about means of resolution before dissolving the entire relationship.
The sooner you act to do something about it (being here is a good start) the better the chance we have of changing his mind.
His decision might seem final. It might feel like you are at an impasse and nothing can be done to salvage the relationship. It is true that, at times, there is no reasonable or amicable solution to save a marriage, but before you give up and assume that this is the case for your own marriage, let’s take a look at some of the ways you might approach repairing or saving your marriage before it’s too late.
How Do You Make Your Husband Love You Again?
Note: Every marriage is at least somewhat unique. The advice I’m going to give here is in general terms you’ll need to put in the context of your own marriage. Take a minute to take the marriage assessment quiz and we can look at how to get things back on track.
First of all – the sooner you start making steps to change his mind the easier this will be.
I’ve already covered dealing with divorce once it’s reached that stage and there’s still a way back when it has happened but it’s a lot more likely if we can stop it before it gets that far.
Just hoping for the best isn’t going to do the trick. Something has clearly gone wrong to reach the stage you’re currently in so we’re going to need to do something. We also need to do this without pressuring them too much – and that’s a balancing act.
The Balancing Act: Patience v Taking Action
It is easy to be hurt and heartbroken when your husband wants a divorce, but trying to make him feel guilty or constantly harping on him will absolutely not help. It probably wasn’t easy for your husband to come to you and say he’s not happy and wants a divorce, so try to keep that in mind. You want to understand why he feels this way and what led to this feeling of a relationship that can’t be saved.
You won’t get very far if you refuse to try to see where your husband is coming from or run out of patience too fast. Though you are hurt, it is important to know that coming to the conclusion that a divorce is the best option wasn’t an easy decision for your husband and that his feelings are valid and incredibly important, especially if you want to save the relationship. It’s easy to say you still love someone and don’t want them to go, it’s a lot harder to be patient and to look inside when he tells you the reasons he is unhappy.
There are times when the reason for his unhappiness is something that you simply cannot fix. It would require you to become a different person, which isn’t fair or advisable. However, a lot of times, the problem is that communication starts to become lacking, less time is spent ensuring that the other’s needs are met and this can lead to feelings of neglect or simply that nobody is trying to make the marriage work any longer. Relationships take time and work and even if you have slacked a bit, it doesn’t mean it is too late.
One of the biggest pieces of advice marriage counselors give is to take a step back and focus on some of the basic elements of your relationship that you may have stopped working on or paying attention to. For example, simple communication about your husband’s wants, needs, moods, and the like may seem trivial, but it shows an interest in his life and a willingness to be present and involved in it and this is more important than a lot of people may think. If you still love your husband, you should be willing to put in a bit of work and a lot of times this involves going back to basics and making sure that those simple but vital needs are met.
Don’t Pressure Your Husband
It’s entirely common for emotions to start calling the shots when you’re going through something like this. If your husband wants a divorce and you still love him it’s likely to be incredibly painful.
It’s much easier said than done to ignore your emotions but we need to try. If you pressure your husband too much it can backfire and set things back even further.
It Might Not Be That Simple
Most of the time when a husband wants a divorce, it is a sign that there are some severe problems in the marriage and that, obviously, he isn’t happy. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that this cannot be changed. If you still love your husband, it is important that you are willing to take a hard look at yourself and the relationship in order to see where things went wrong.
Marriages take work, even the best of them, and over time, it is easy to start putting in less of this work, but it is a huge mistake as this is where rifts form and the relationship can start to sour. Making your marriage work may not be fun and it will likely require you to take a good hard look in the mirror and to think of ways that you are making things worse in the relationship and how you can change or alter your behavior in order to keep things together.
It is also important to remember that when your husband says he’s done that you don’t lose yourself or make yourself unhappy trying to please him. A solid marriage is a relationship that is beneficial to both people involved. A marriage where your husband is happy and you aren’t isn’t much better than where you are right now. The fix may require therapy or marriage counseling or may simply require changes in both of your behavior with more solid communication and openness about your feelings.
You Might Need to Ask for Help
Let’s say your husband wants to get divorced and after some discussion, he agrees that he is willing to try to save the marriage. That’s great! Just remember that this may take more than just the two of you to fix. Professional counselors have years of education and experience in the best ways to open up lines of communication and to find the root of issues in a relationship. This can be painful and incredibly uncomfortable, but it can also be the best way to save your love.
Professionals can ask and probe at issues that you as a wife may not be comfortable approaching or may not even think to address. Their education and their experience give them the tools they need to know how to drill down to the real reason behind certain emotions or feelings which can allow you and your husband to have deep, open, and important conversations about the current state of your marriage and if there is any means of repairing any damage that may be done.
It is important to know that, even with professional help, the issues will not be solved overnight. A marriage that has gotten to a point where one party wants a divorce is a broken marriage. This doesn’t mean there is no hope of fixing the bond, but you need to be honest with yourself that it will take time, effort, and likely tears, and even then, there is no guarantee that the marriage can be saved.
When your husband says he is done and you still love him, it can feel like someone has reached in and ripped out your heart. No wife wants to hear those words, even when she knows that some parts of the marriage may be lacking or not quite what they used to be. However, if you are serious about saving your marriage, you can’t be afraid to really delve into the relationship to find out where things went wrong. Sometimes the problem is as simple as the need to reignite intimacy, but at other times the issues run very deep and there may not be any satisfactory way to solve them.
It is understandable that you are anxious about the state of your marriage, but you will see much better results if you go into the whole thing with your eyes open and willing to do the hard work it takes to save your marriage. If your husband wants a divorce and you, from the bottom of your soul, do not, you must be willing to look inside, make some changes, and even seek professional help in order to save the marriage. It should be noted that there are truly irreconcilable differences. Your husband may want you to change in ways that would make you a different person. You should never do this.
There are those cases where, even after work and effort, the marriage cannot be salvaged. In those cases, even if you still love your husband, it is time to let him go as there is no way you can make him happy without becoming someone you are not. A lot of marriages become rocky and unstable due to lack of effort and work and this can be fixed with time and rededication to one another. It will take time, patience, and understanding, but if the marriage is solid and the lines of love and communication can be reopened, there is definitely hope for saving it.