Yesterday, I received an email from a wife who wanted me to give her some advice.  Her husband had informed her that he had decided to “give up” on their marriage.  He told her that he felt that there was nothing that either of them could do or say to save the marriage and that it was better to just walk away and cut their losses before things deteriorated and got really ugly. 

The wife did not agree.  She felt that with a little work and cooperation, the marriage could be saved.  I agreed with her, as I feel that there are actually only a few marriages that can’t be rescued from the brink.  Unfortunately though, the tactics that she was using to change his mind were completely flawed. I seriously doubted that they were going to work.  In fact, I suspected that they would’ve only made the situation worse.  In the following article, I’ll share with you the advice that I gave her about how to convince a husband not to give up on your marriage in a way that overcomes his resistance.

Watch The Terminology That You’re Using And The Picture That You Are Painting:  So often, when we wives want to motivate our husbands to work with us to save the marriage, we use very unfortunate language that only inspires the exact opposite of what we want.  We try to talk him into “fighting for our marriage,” or “working on our relationship.”  Do these things sound pleasurable to you? “Fighting?” “Working?”  This sounds like some undesirable thing that you may to do at your job, but you don’t necessarily like.

Then, when the husband doesn’t respond to these pleas as we wanted, we proclaim that he’s “given up.”  Again, this has a very negative connotation.  To save your marriage, he will eventually need to be on board and at least cooperating a little.  You’re not as likely to get these things if you use language that implies he’s going to have to dig in, roll up his sleeves, clock in, and get on the assembly line.

So, what’s the better way?  You want to imply that what you’re asking him to do is going to be pleasurable.  But, there’s often a catch, right? Because he’s probably already begun to tune you out.  He’s already decided that nothing is ever going to change.  He’s already watched as you’ve tried different things that have failed and as you’ve talked until you’re exhausted and yet no real change ever comes.  So, you can’t continue to just talk talk talk.  You have to instead take action.  And, you shouldn’t even tell him that you’re doing this. If you do, he’s just going to resist you that much more as he’s been tipped off.

Letting This Play Out Correctly: Remember that we’re going to let our actions talk for us. But, you’re going to have to set this up first. So, simply tell your husband that you’re sorry to hear that he’s given up.  For your part, this saddens you, but you realize that you can’t control his thoughts or how he feels.  Still, you’re troubled to lose the relationship – no matter what happens with the marriage.  You want to retain a positive relationship so you’re just going to focus on making this process as painless as possible. You want to remain as positive as you can.  The reason that you’re doing this is because you absolutely need to change his perception of you from negative to positive.  You want him to see that being with you can be quite harmonious.

You may have to have patience for this to happen.  He will likely resist at first. However, there will be times when you will need to be together and interact and you will have to make the absolute best of this situation each and every time that it occurs.

Reminding Him Of Who And What You Were: The woman who emailed me really felt that things were hopeless.  She was sure that her husband didn’t love her anymore or didn’t find her attractive.  She kept repeating “we don’t have anything in common.  We’re more like roommates.”  These things were likely true.  But, I still reminded her that we already know that it’s possible for the two of them to connect on a very positive level.  They’d already done this.  They were once deeply in love and seemed at that time to have very much in common.

But the circumstances were different then.  They didn’t have the stressors of adult life.  They weren’t trying to hold down two jobs or raise kids or make their mortgage and car payments.  Still, I believed that if they could put these burdens on the back burner and recreate the willingness to just focus on their positive feelings when they were falling in love, things would begin to lighten up.  I referred the wife to a couple of good books to read in preparation for this and instructed her to always focus on created light hearted, fun encounters that didn’t even touch on what was going on with the marriage.

We’ll see how this works, but I must tell you that I’ve seen it work countless times.  As soon as you bring forth those qualities that he used to love about you, the tension begins to become less.  He begins to become a little less resistant and a little more willing.  Eventually, he begins to initiate the contact and begins to become more willing to believing that things can change.  When he does,  you must keep up what you’re doing.  Don’t revert back to the negative, neglectful things that got you here in the first place.  Always remember that if you can keep a steady stream of affection, appreciation, and attention, this will go a very long way toward keeping both you and your husband on board so that neither one of you wants to give up on the marriage.