Whenever I encounter a couple going through a divorce, it isn’t mutual more often than not. One of the spouses ends up asking themselves, “Where did things go wrong? Was it me? What did I miss?” while the other continues with divorce proceedings.
So what if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce? You might be surprised how frequently marriages are saved from the brink when only one spouse is trying.
If that’s you, then don’t lose hope yet—there are steps you can take and solutions you can try before you throw in the towel.
Saving the Marriage
I have a complete guide on how to save your marriage (which I do suggest reading) but these are the main things to keep in mind when you’re the only one who wants to keep trying in your marriage.
Wanting to save the marriage and prevent a divorce is an honorable and understandable decision. “What if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce?” is a common question among couples who are struggling. With a spouse who’s initially unwilling to cooperate, things do get a little trickier but it’s still entirely possible.
This is basically a cliche at this point by anyone giving marriage or relationship advice but there’s a reason for that. If you can work on your communication skills you can probably disregard any other piece of marriage advice anyone can give you. Start with these questions to save your marriage and go from there.
Set aside time to sit down and talk. To truly talk. Maybe you feel like you’ve been communicating up until now, but the truth is you’ve only been dancing around the truth up until now.
You need to push aside any delicacies and ignore that feelings might be hurt during this conversation. It can be hard to be ultimately, brutally honest, but that’s the only way to figure out how divorce came into the picture in the first place.
Ask them how they feel and tell them how you feel. Get to the bottom of why they want to end the relationship and how they think this will fix things for them. Is there another alternative?
Do Some Soul-Searching
I know this sounds like a bunch of baloney, but focusing on yourself instead of the marriage as a whole can work wonders.
Maybe you’ve been distant or uninvolved, and you’ve been spending too much time at work or out with friends rather than at home. As they say, it takes two to tango, and figuring out how you can improve will help improve your relationship with your spouse.
Reasons Your Spouse May Want a Divorce
Leading up to most divorces, communication has fallen to nearly nothing, and there’s a severe disconnect in the marriage. A failure in communication rarely develops on its own, though. The failure can stem from many other issues, some that you may be aware of and others that have remained hidden until now.
Before you decide how to proceed, you need to figure out why your spouse wants a divorce.
They Might Not Actually Want One
This is more common than you might think but when I answered the question does my husband really want a divorce I was surprised to see how often the process was started when neither side actually wanted to get divorced. Sometimes you can fall into a rut and just not see a way out.
Sometimes it can just be an attempt at trying to change something or trying to get you to pay attention to the marriage.
Maybe you have your suspicions, or perhaps they’ve confessed that they had an affair. They may want a divorce simply because they feel guilty and don’t want to burden your marriage with the mistake that they’ve made.
I believe that as long as one of you is willing to work on the marriage, you can move past anything.
Lack of Compatibility
They say that you can fall out of love as quickly as you can fall into it. This is closely tied to a lack of intimacy.
Life becomes mundane. You both fall into a schedule of work, bills, and chores. Maybe your life became consumed with taking care of your children, and somewhere along the way, you forgot to take care of each other.
However you got there, you don’t look at each other the same way you did when you walked down that aisle hand-in-hand.
Some marriage experts argue that finances are the #1 reason that couples get divorced. Financial struggles can tear a relationship apart in different ways.
A lack of money can cause immeasurable amounts of stress on both spouses. This can come from a streak of bad luck, poor choices, or one of you being careless with credit cards and loans. When your assets are threatened, they cast a shadow on the marriage that’s hard to step out of.
Disputes can also stem from the breadwinner, whether they feel stressed because they’re the leading provider for the household or the supported spouse feels inadequate because they can’t contribute in the same capacity.
Lack of Intimacy
Problems in the bedroom are inevitable, and every marriage faces issues down the road. After moving past the honeymoon phase, and you fall into a schedule, sex becomes rare or even begins to feel like a chore.
Proceeding With the Divorce
At the end of the day, if you’ve exhausted all of your options and the divorce papers are still sitting on the table, you have to face reality: the marriage has come to an end. You can’t force things to go back to how they were once upon a time.
This will be hard to grapple with for some time, but you shouldn’t let your emotions guide you through the proceedings. Look into hiring a divorce lawyer who will help you navigate through these difficult times. If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, you need to ensure that your assets are secure.
From now on, you’re looking out for yourself.
You’re Not Alone
I know that looking for a divorce in the eye is unbelievably stressful, but I want you to know one thing: you’re not alone.
What if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce and you work to save the marriage? I commend your efforts. It’s never easy to bridge a dismantled relationship but many times, what comes out at the other end is something more beautiful than what you started with.
If the verdict comes through and you have to move on, then maybe it’s for the best. I know it’s a common saying, but everything does happen for a reason. Perhaps they were put into your life to help you figure out more about yourself.
Whichever outcome applies to you, remember that you’re strong and can get through this!