If your husband wants a divorce but you do not, you are likely struggling with intense emotions of sadness, anger and confusion. You do not want to push your spouse even further away by pleading with him to stay, but you do not want to act like you do not care, either. Although you may not be able to save your marriage if your husband is already completely set on getting a divorce, you can take some helpful steps that will raise the chances that he will decide to stay and that your marriage will be saved.
Do Not Explode
Do not let your anger control you when your husband announces he wants to divorce. By yelling at him or accusing him of being selfish, you are only causing him to further distance himself from you and reinforce the emotional walls he has already built. Mort Fertel advises that you take the time to cool down before you react to what he has told you, but resist bottling up your emotions, as this is mentally and emotionally unhealthy. Instead, express yourself by crying, writing or having a talk with a trusted mentor about your fears.
Be patient with your husband as he sorts out his emotions and tries to figure out what steps to take regarding your relationship. J. Richard Kulerski states that the process of negotiation is only as fast as its slowest participant, and if your husband is refusing to talk to you as often or as thoroughly as you would like, give him the time he needs to work through his feelings. Although you are probably tempted to demand an explanation and gain closure, your impatience will only cause him to feel further separated from you.
Listen to Your Spouse
Listening to your husband as he explains why he is considering divorce may help save your marriage. It's likely your husband has been trying to get a message across to you for some time, and is desperate for a change in your relationship. Listen carefully for cues about what exactly you need to do to cause him to be satisfied once again. There may be nothing you can do, but often the root cause of your husband's dissatisfaction is something you have the power to change.
Negotiate with your husband in order to please him while not yet accepting the idea of divorce. He may be set on separating, but Fertel advises agreeing that your marriage needs work, not a divorce. Propose the idea of spending at least one year trying to resolve your relationship problems and learn more about how to become closer as a couple. There is a chance you may be able to resolve your problems and restore the happy marriage you once had.
- The Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage; Michele Davis
Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.