Divorce isn’t rarely two-sided, and if your wife wants a divorce, you’re likely banging your head against the wall trying to figure out what went wrong and what you can do to make things better. If you feel like your marriage is slipping through your fingers, don’t sit there and bitch about it. Get off your butt and make changes. Don’t give up until you’re sure it won’t work. Just because she’s dropped the “D” bomb doesn’t mean your marriage has to end.
If you’re think that your marriage can be saved, it’s time to take things into your own hands. Take a look at the five things to do now if your spouse wants a divorce, plus, what you should never do if you want to save your marriage.
1. Suggest a “Do Over”
No, you can’t completely start over from the beginning. There will be fights that can’t be forgotten and words that can’t be taken back, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end. Make your best effort to Reignite the spark as best you can. Take your wife on dates, smile at her, tell her what you love about her and why you’re with her. Go out and do fun things, travel and try new activities. It’s normal for a relationship to become stale over the years. Marriage is a lot of hard work, and if you want it to last, you have to be willing to do the things that made it exciting in the beginning.
Suggest to her that the two of you give it one month with a “do over”. You both have to be in it together and agree to commit to specific time frame of trying to get your marriage back on track. If nothing changes after that time, then you can re-evaluate the long term prognosis, but changes like this that re-engage the spark are sure to make a positive impact on your marriage.
2. Evaluate and Change Your Behavior
If your wife wants a divorce because of what’s perceived as YOUR behavior problems, whether it’s anger issues, constant complaining, or bad habits, you need to change your ways now. This doesn’t actually mean that you’re to blame, and you likely have a list of her behaviors that you’d like to see changed as well. But, if you want to save your marriage, focus on yourself first and changing the behaviors you know may be damaging your relationship. This is really tough (hell, you’ve had how many years practicing and perfecting who you are), and you may have to seek out a professional to help the changing process. But, if your relationship has gotten to the point where your spouse wants out, you need to recognize your possible flaws and take responsibility for changing what you can.
3. Invest Time and Energy to Working on Yourself
You can’t fix your marriage if you’re not the best, or at least a pretty good version of yourself. Invest your time into activities that make you feel good and contribute to your healthiest, happiest self. Exercise, eat well, go to therapy if you need to. Recognize that there may be parts of you that have changed over time, and do your best to get back to a version of yourself you’re proud of. Sometimes we’re not willing to look at ourselves as part of the issue, but without that acknowledgment, nothing’s likely going to change for the better.
Take care of yourself and take the necessary steps to feel good about the way you look. If you’ve let yourself go over the years, bring back whatever used to make you look and feel your best. You’ll feel on top of the world, and it will make a huge difference in your marriage.
4. Seek Professional Help
If your marriage is on the brink of divorce and you haven’t seen a therapist or a divorce mediator, you need to do so ASAP. If your wife wants a divorce, there are issues between the two of you that need to be resolved. At this stage, it’s not always possible to work it out yourselves. Having a professional, objective, unbiased opinion can help you both figure out what the real issues are and how to implement positive solutions. Therapy and/or mediation will require both of you to own up to your share of the marriage problems, too.
Seeing a marriage counselor or therapist may not save your marriage. Both of you have to want to save your marriage for there to be any sort of resolution. If your wife refuses to cooperate, try your best to convince her why it would be beneficial and how much you want your marriage to work. Don’t push her too hard, but try your best to make her see the light.
5. Agree to a Temporary Separation
If your wife is determined to get a divorce, you may want to agree to a temporary separation (or trial separation). Yes, it may be the last thing you want to do, but if she needs space and time for herself, you need to give it to her. The tighter you hold on, the more likely she is to pull away.
Once you separate, she’ll be faced with the reality of what she thinks she wants. She’ll see what life is like without you and your marriage, and will have to decide if what she’s asking for is truly the best solution. It’s okay to trust in your relationship and the love you share, but you also need to prepare yourself for the worst. If the separation only strengthens her desire for divorce, the split may be the best thing for you both.
What You Should Never Do When Your Wife Wants a Divorce
As soon as you heard the words “I want a divorce” come out of her mouth, it probably hit you like a ton of bricks. Don’t overreact, don’t panic, and for God’s sake don’t beg her to stay.
Divorce is often discussed between couples for quite some time before it actually happens, and going off the rails early on isn’t going to help the situation. People can change their minds, and if you both commit time and energy to working on yourselves and your marriage, you may not have to worry about divorce.
Don’t shut down, either. It’s painful to hear that your wife wants a divorce, but ending communication completely is only just going to push the two of you farther apart. Eat dinner together, watch your kids’ sports games together, spend time doing things you like, and make sure to keep the conversation flowing. Remind each other why you married one another in the first place.
You Deserve To Be With Someone Who Wants You
Finally, don’t rush things. You and your spouse need to work at your own pace to salvage your marriage. Divorce rarely happens overnight; it often takes many months for couples to go through with it. Take the time to figure out what the issues are in your relationship, why it isn’t working anymore, and what both parties can do to make things better. If ultimately time and action don’t heal the problems, and your marriage comes to an end, you should realize that you deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you.