How To Save A Marriage When Only One Is Trying?

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I admire the older generations for their perseverance in repairing what is broken rather than throwing it away and buying a new one. The new generation is spoilt for choice, be it electronics or relationships. No one has the time or the patience to mend severed ties with near and dear ones. Or it’s a case of one person trying to fix the relationship while the other doesn’t seem bothered. In such a situation, how to save a marriage when only one is trying?

At the first sign of trouble, the fickle nature of relationships shines through, leaving an emptiness in return for all the love and time you shared with this person. But when two people make a commitment to try and work on the problems, wonderful things can happen. With the help of psychotherapist Gopa Khan, (Masters in Counseling Psychology, M.Ed), who specializes in marriage & family counseling, let’s take a look at how to save a marriage when love is gone or only one is trying.

The Turbulent Times Of Marital Discord

It takes two to tango; a happy marriage is based on the sheer determination of both the spouses to make it work. There can be several reasons not to give up on marriage. But when one decides that they’re done with the marriage, it may immediately seem like things are never going to get better. Let’s take a look at the turbulent times that may lead to a situation where you’ve got to figure out how to save your marriage when it seems impossible.

1. When issues are left unchecked for too long

The dreaded “D” word can make its entry into any home, through the void that has been left unattended in a relationship. When everyday problems and arguments are left unresolved or unchecked, they create feelings of resentment and anger in a marriage due to which couples drift apart. A thorough diagnosis of relationship issues, then, becomes mandatory if you want to revive your dying bond.

Once you know what the problem is, you can decide what is fixable and what is not. To be able to save a marriage from divorce, methodically figuring out what may be causing the problems, is important. Change what you can and learn to accept the things you cannot change; this is the only way to improve the quality of your marriage.

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2. When one partner wants out of the marriage

The day the husband or the wife says they want to get out of the relationship is the day when they are totally convinced that nothing about their marriage is salvageable. Unless they are a narcissist or an escapist, no self-respecting person will take such a bold decision without any plausible explanation.

The significant other is engulfed in a plethora of emotions as soon as their partner announces their will to get out of wedlock. You are left thinking “I want to save my marriage but my wife doesn’t” or “Why does my husband want out of the marriage?”. When one partner has emotionally checked out of the marriage, the onus of saving the marriage from divorce lies with the other.

Related Reading: 12 Signs Your Husband Has Emotionally Checked Out Of Marriage

3. A lingering feeling of the marriage falling apart

“Is my marriage falling apart?”, “Should I fight for my marriage or let go?” – if these thoughts cross your mind every now and then, worry not. You are not alone. You will barely find a couple who have never had the feeling of their marriage falling apart. Research has proved that couples who are happy in their marriages tend to experience a general satisfaction toward life as well. Salvaging the pieces of the broken marriage, thus, becomes the only way out when everything seems to be falling apart.

4. When one spouse does not want to work on marriage

When your spouse gives up on the marriage and becomes the hurricane in your relationship wrecking all your efforts of trying to retrieve the lost bond, it’s time to either up your game by fighting harder or give up and get scattered. When one partner has completely convinced themselves that they want out, it may lead to no communication between you and your spouse.

If you’re in a situation where you’re asking yourself something along the lines of, “How to save my marriage when she doesn’t want to?”, “How do I fix my marriage when my husband wants out?” or “How to save marriage when love is gone?”, the lack of answers you come up with may make things seem hopeless. Can one person even save or fix a broken marriage? Fret not, we’ve got your back. Let’s take a look at the things you can do.

How To Save A Marriage When Only One Is Trying?

The 300% increase in the number of couples consulting a marriage counselor clearly indicates that couples are not completely denying their marriage a second chance. Unfortunately, in some cases, couples tend to have contradictions regarding their marriage; one wants to leave while the other is not ready to give up.

Fixing a broken marriage single-handedly is a Herculean task, but not impossible. With perseverance and practical, optimistic thinking, there is a possibility of saving a marriage, even if only one spouse is trying. We’ve made a list of 9 tips to help you figure out how to save a marriage when only one is trying.

1. The best way to save a marriage from divorce is to opt for counseling

Visiting a marriage counselor individually and for joint sessions will buy you the time you need, as well as take you both toward the right track of saving your marriage. The key here is being honest to yourself as well as your counselor.

“When people who are trying to figure out how to save your marriage when one wants out, come to me, the first thing I tell them is that a couples counseling session is pretty much mandatory,” says Gopa. “Counseling can help partners work on themselves individually, work on the problems they’re facing, and be able to talk to each other in a civil manner.

“With the help of counseling, I always try to make sure that the couples are able to talk to each other, instead of always yelling at each other. You would be surprised to find out just how much good a coffee date with a spouse can do, especially when things seem to be falling apart,” she adds.  

Getting counseling can be a little tricky if your partner absolutely refuses to be a part of it. In such cases, try to make them understand that the neutral point of view of the counselor is only going to benefit you both. This approach may work, firstly because your partner now feels that you are willing to accept the things you did wrong, and it may be easier to confess certain things with a neutral, unbiased person present. 

If you’re trying to figure out how to save your marriage when it seems impossible, know that Bonobology’s skilled panel of counselors is only a click away.

2. How to save a marriage when only one is trying?Negotiate for time

“I said a little prayer to save my marriage from divorce every night. All I wanted was for my husband to give it another chance, and try to work on things for just a little bit longer. With the help of some constructive communication, I told him what I wanted, and he agreed. Every day, we try to improve just a little bit,” says Rhea, a 35-year-old accountant, about her failing marriage.

Now that your partner has made up their mind to end the marriage, the first thing you have to do is to negotiate a time frame. Everyone deserves a second chance, and convincing your partner to try and stay on board for a while longer might just bear fruit. Assuming that things do not change for the good, then they are free to go their separate ways. 

Based on how much time you have, you will have to come up with a practical and effective plan to save your marriage. If your husband is not trying to save the marriage or you’re thinking how to save marriage when she wants out, let them know the reasons why you would want them to give it a little time and what you hope to achieve with it.

Related Reading: 12 Characteristics Of A Successful Marriage

3. Change your perception

Quoting Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Something has to change if your old ways have failed so miserably. You may have valid reasons not to give up on marriage, but there is definitely something that you are not doing right, or even by the right method, which is making it difficult for you to save your relationship.

You will have to figure out the things that you need to change before starting your journey toward your marriage revival. The issues could be anything, from the way your personality is or your attitude toward life. Focus on the things your spouse has a problem with and try to address them. Take stock of your own negative or toxic behavioral traits and make the effort to change it.

“One of the things I tell my clients is that they need to focus and work on themselves first. Since they may essentially be suffering from depression or other mental health issues, the negative effects take a heavy toll on them. To be able to save a marriage that is fast approaching rocky waters, you need to be able to put on your best face. You need to appear to be a calm and confident person to your spouse. Unless you work on yourself, the partner won’t want to come back because they’ve already made up their mind to leave after witnessing the old issues,” says Gopa.

If your partner sees this change in you, you have successfully completed a major task of making them aware that you are trying your best to save your marriage, without actually saying it. Instead of passively trying to figure out, “How to save my marriage when she doesn’t want to?” or “What to do when your spouse gives up on marriage?”, try to take some action by getting back on track with your life and responsibilities.

4. Do not use pressure tactics

Trying to emotionally blackmail your partner by using your relatives, money, sex, guilt, or your children is criminal. Using any of these pressure tactics can backfire with serious repercussions. You are shutting all doors that lead your spouse to you by playing such games. Therefore, it is crucial that you stay away from using pressure tactics on your spouse because they won’t work.

“The more you try to tell them how pathetic your life is, the more you try to tell them how many things they did wrong. The more you fight with your spouse, the more they’re going to realize that they probably made the right decision by walking away from the marriage,” says Gopa. 

You cannot force a person to live with you; even if you manage to do so, it will be a dead relationship. Using hurtful words to express your own hurt will end up hurting your spouse, leaving them with no other option but to lose hope in what you have. If your husband is not trying to save the marriage or your wife wants out, make sure you don’t resort to any nasty pressure tactics.

5. How to save marriage when love is gone? Do not give up

Fighting to save your marriage all by yourself can leave you exhausted and perturbed, but that’s the time you will have to motivate yourself. Remind yourself of all the things that made you fall in love with your partner. Remind yourself of your reasons not to give up on marriage; it will take away the focus from the pain they have caused you.

“While they’re trying to save a marriage from divorce, I tell my clients to have a “never give up” attitude, and to try and do whatever needs to be done. Even in the worst-case scenario, if things don’t work out, at least you will know that you gave it your best shot,” says Gopa.

Get your support system ready, be it your best friend, your parents, or a relative. Pour your heart out to them whenever you need to and tell them to help you get back on track whenever you’re out of focus. This way, you can move forward toward achieving your goal without carrying any emotional baggage.

6. Focus on real issues

Every marriage goes through its fair share of ups and downs, but if it has reached a point where one is ready to leave forever, the issue may seem irresolvable. Whatever the reasons for your discord, whether it is incompatibility, infidelity, a financial or social issue, it has to be addressed immediately.

First, you have to comprehend the issue and then make your spouse understand that one problem is not worth ending your marriage for. Instead of focusing on blame-shifting in a relationship, you will have to come up with solutions to resolve conflict. This is the time when your patience level and your self-respect will be tested. Absolve whatever you can, as long as you feel it can save your marriage from falling apart.

“When figuring out how to save your marriage when one wants out, the first thing you need to realize is that the communication between you and your spouse is definitely abysmal. As a result, the issues you have are never addressed. With the help of individual counseling, I start addressing those issues and working on them,” says Gopa.  

If you are stuck on questions like, “How to save my marriage when she doesn’t want to?” or “How to save my marriage from divorce?”, follow Gopa’s advice. “I tell my clients to make sure they establish a rule of no fighting. Couples may very peacefully enter into a conversation, but after a little while, they derail and start fighting and blaming each other for everything that has happened in the last two decades,” she says.

Related Reading: 10 Signs You Need Counselling To Fix Your Marriage

7. Give and ask for space

“Of course, you need to talk to each other if one has emotionally checked out of the marriage, but make sure there’s no stalking. I’ve had clients who literally track their partner’s every step through social media and other tools. Eventually, the 60 messages and calls they make a day get overwhelming for the other partner.

“Don’t irritate your partner. You need to put your best face on to be able to get them back. When you get some space in your life again, you’re able to work on yourself. Your self-confidence, your feelings, and your emotions need to be worked upon,” explains Gopa.  

Sometimes all you need is a break to gain a little perspective of what’s happening. When you are overwhelmed with life-changing decisions, you may miss some important aspects that could entirely change everything. Space in a relationship is important. Give your spouse that space and time to contemplate their decisions. It is paramount if you’re trying to figure out how to save a marriage when only one is trying.

This time will highlight the issues that develop in the heat of the moment and the well thought over decisions. Once you find time to analyze the whole situation, both of you will be able to come up with informed decisions. To save a marriage from divorce, sometimes the best thing you can do is give each other some time and space.

8. Try to work on communication

“I always encourage my clients to talk to their spouses amiably. But when I say “talk”, I don’t mean fight. I had a client, who would call up and tell her husband everything that he did wrong and always initiate a fight, as her way of “communicating”. In the end, she literally ended up pushing him out of the marriage,” says Gopa.

“I would look for a prayer to save my marriage, but all I had to do was say the things I was manifesting to my husband,” Jessica told us, talking about the turbulent times in her marriage. Once she decided to be amiably honest with her spouse, he opened up just enough to try and work things out to save their marriage. This is exactly why communication is of extreme importance in a relationship or marriage.

9. How to save a marriage when only one is trying? Face the truth

Finally, after all your efforts, if your spouse is still not willing to be in the marriage, then it’s time you shift your focus from the pain that the separation will cause you, to the next course of action. Be true to yourself; make a checklist of the possible outcomes of the divorce.

It is the end of the marriage, not the end of you. Keep your coping mechanisms ready, whether it’s a holiday or spending time with loved ones or engaging in hobbies and things you love doing. Reinvent yourself, and for all you know, your spouse may come back to this new improved you.

So, can one person save a marriage? On paper, marriages last because two people make a choice to fight for them and to work for them. But when things go awry, the points we listed out can hopefully help you out. At the end of the day, you can do your part and wait for the result. If it works, great, but if not, then at least you know you tried.

Marriage advice and more

What Not To Do When Only You Are The One Trying To Save Your Marriage?

In an attempt to “save my marriage from divorce”, people often end up doing things or engaging in behaviors that they ideally should avoid. Such actions will only ruin your chances to save the marriage when love is gone. Here are a few things you should not do when you are the only one trying to figure out how to save a marriage when she wants out or he wishes to leave:

  • Stop playing the blame game. It will do more harm than good
  • Don’t assume things. Ask your partner their motive or intention behind saying or doing what they said or did
  • Fight fair. Don’t be disrespectful to your partner during arguments
  • Don’t hold grudges or resentment against your partner
  • Avoid bringing up negative feelings of fights of the past
  • Don’t nag or control them. Give them their space and freedom

In a healthy marriage, partners should have basic boundaries in place and mutual respect. Don’t try the ‘my way or the highway’ approach. It will do more harm than good and destroy whatever is left in your relationship, making it all the more difficult to save your marriage from divorce. We hope the above pointers on what not to do when your spouse has given up on the marriage and you’re the only one trying to save it help.

Related Reading: 15 Warning Signs You Need A Divorce For Sure

Why Is Your Partner Not Trying To Save The Marriage?

If you’ve reached a point where you’re thinking “I want to save my marriage but my wife doesn’t” or “My husband is not interested in saving our marriage”, know that you aren’t the first or the last person whose mind is occupied with such thoughts. It is frustrating and exhausting when your spouse gives up on the marriage you worked so hard to save. 

But, truth be told, this is what the situation is whether you like it or not. It is heartbreaking but it is how it is. There can be several reasons why your partner is not making any effort to save the marriage. Here are a few:

  • They are in love with someone else
  • They are no longer interested in you
  • They may want their space and freedom
  • They want to save the marriage but don’t know how to go about it
  • They might be going through troubled times or financial problems
  • They no longer want to compromise
  • Their priorities, dreams, and ambitions might have changed

As exasperating as it feels, please understand that it is not the end of the road. You can still turn things around. These are a few reasons to help you understand why your spouse might not be trying to save the marriage. It is to help you understand where you are in the marriage. You can have an honest conversation with your partner and figure out how to save a marriage when only one is trying and get your partner onboard. Seek marriage counseling, if need be. 

Key Pointers

  • When conflict is left unresolved for too long or one spouse wants out of the marriage, it can create marital discord, which might seem impossible to sort
  • You can save marriage when love is gone by negotiating with your spouse for time and opting for counseling
  • Focus on yourself, give your partner and yourself time and space, take stock of your own behavior and try to change the negative or toxic aspects of it to save your marriage from falling apart
  • Focusing on real issues, changing your perception, and getting to the root cause of the problem can also help save your marriage from divorce

It takes two to tango. A relationship or marriage requires both partners equally investing their time and energy into making it work. You cannot fix a relationship all by yourself. Your partner will have to make some amount of effort. However, if your spouse is hellbent on ending things, then we would suggest you to let it go. There’s no point in continuing a marriage in which one partner isn’t invested at all. It’s better to part on good terms than to have constant fights and conflict.


1. When is it too late to save a marriage?

To be honest, it is never too late to do anything if you’re willing to go the extra mile to save your marriage. You can rebuild your relationship with your spouse. Couples have gotten back together even after divorce. However, bear in mind, if the marriage has become abusive, then it is not just too late but also pointless to save the relationship.

2. How to change myself to save my marriage?

There are a few things you can do to change yourself to save your marriage from falling apart. Stop complaining or playing the blame game. Re-evaluate your own behavior and identify your role in contributing to the problems. Be as honest as you can. Make the effort to understand your spouse. Be a good listener. Show respect.

3. Can one person save a marriage?

A marriage involves two people, not one. Therefore, it is the responsibility of both spouses to work toward saving the marriage from falling apart. You can try all you want but if your spouse is unwilling to reciprocate your efforts, then all of it goes in vain. You cannot save a bond that requires two people to build.

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