I have a blog in which I share how, with a bit of hard work and good luck, I was able to save my marriage and thwart my husband’s attempts at a divorce. My husband was dead set on splitting up and was just not interested in anything I had to say regarding preserving our marriage. This story seems to strike a cord with women, because I so often get comments and emails from wives who tell me that they found me because they desperately want to know how to respond to their husband’s request for a divorce. They can’t concentrate on legal issues or worry about getting an attorney, because they don’t want this divorce, and more than anything else, they want to save their marriage and put a stop to this whole downward spiral.
I can completely identify, as I was in this same place a few years ago. I tried every trick in the book to get my husband to change his mind about the divorce. I tired to call his bluff. I tried to play hard ball. I tried to shower him with attention and affection – and none of it worked, but here’s what finally did.
Why What You’re Doing Now To Change His Mind About The Divorce Probably Isn’t Working: Husband’s hate to feel that they are being manipulated. If you are at a point where your husband wants a divorce, then this was probably not a split second decision that happened over night. There have probably been a lot of issues that were brushed over, hurts that were never healed, promises that were not kept, and attempts of reconciliation that have repeatedly failed. You husband likely feels that your marriage is at the point of no return and there’s nothing that can be done to change or rescue things.
So, when you come in all full of promises and plans as to why this time is going to really be different, or if you argue and try to convince your husband why he is wrong, he’s only going to dig in his heels, determined and convinced that there’s no good reason to change his mind. In not so many words, you’re communicating to him that he’s dead wrong, being selfish, and causing a great deal of problems and pain for all involved. So, he’s on the offensive, and as a defense mechanism, he’s tuning you out.
This is obviously a major problem. You’ll never be able to get him on board with saving the marriage if he won’t listen to you or give you the time of day. But, please resist the urge to pull out all of the stops and act desperate or panicked. Don’t follow him around, beg him, engage him, threaten him, or participate in any behaviors that are just going to confirm to him that negative things happen every time you are around. You want him to think positive thoughts when he thinks of and interacts with you. So, here’s how to reverse this trend.
Validate Your Husband And Jump On His Side: As long as the two of you are on opposing sides, your husband is going to do everything possible to emerge the winner. No one likes to lose. So, you have to set this up where no one is going to be the loser. You have to “side” with your husband and agree with him – (or at least make him think you are). Of course, you know your husband best and you should use your own words, but it goes something like this.
The next time you interact with your husband, tell him that you have been thinking about your situation and you now agree with him. Yes, the marriage is in a grave place. Tell him that this hurts you deeply because he remains the most important person in your life. Assure him that you are finished participating in negative interactions and want to concentrate on improving your interactions, no matter where the relationship is going. Tell him that you’re no longer going to engage him or try to change his mind.
Your husband will not believe this, probably. He’s going to think this is another ploy on your part, but when you make good on it, over and over again, he’s going to be disarmed and see that you’re telling the truth. Then, the tension will diminish like a popped balloon and he’ll have no reason to avoid you anymore – and this is when things will start to get easier.
Don’t Rush Things. Let Him Be The One To Call The Divorce Off: Now, if you pull this off right, you’ll usually find yourself in a little better position. The tension will start to fade and you’ll find that your husband is a little more receptive to you because he no longer sees you as a threat. But, even if you are experiencing little victories, you must move slowly. You can never allow your husband to suspect that you are really trying to change his mind and the outcome. You want to keep busy, see friends, and do the things that put a smile on your face.
What you’re doing is showing your husband that you are still the exciting, busy, vibrant, woman he first fell in love with. Take the time to remember who this woman really is. I’d bet that she’s not clingy, threatening, or the walking wounded. She’s likely happy, upbeat, open hearted, and easy to be around. You want him to want more of her. So she (you) should not be the one to initiate anything with him. Let him be the aggressor, because this puts you back on equal ground. The best case scenario is that you show him the woman he fell in love with, he wants more of her, and you continue to move slowly.
In the end, what you’re doing is showing, (not telling him – because he is not going to believe you anyway) that things really can and have changed. Never hurt your progress by asking for reassurance, commitments, or a definition of your relationship too soon. If you continue to move slowly, you’ll get these things eventually, but you don’t want to scared him off and waste all of your hard work by pushing too hard.