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.
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 your marriage when one wants out.
The Turbulent Times Of Marital Discord
It takes two to tango; happy marriages are based on the sheer determination of both the spouses to make it work. 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. A thorough diagnosis of the relationship issues 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
2. When one partner wants out of the marriage
The day the husband says he wants to get out of the relationship is the day when he is totally convinced that nothing about his marriage is salvageable. Unless he is a narcissist or an escapist, no self-respecting man will take such a bold decision without any plausible explanation
The wife is engulfed in a plethora of emotions as soon as her husband announces his will to get out of wedlock. When one partner has emotionally checked out of the marriage, the onus of saving the marriage from divorce lies with the other.
3. A lingering feeling of the marriage falling apart
You will barely find a couple who have never had the feeling of their marriage falling apart. Research has proved that the 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 becomes the hurricane in your relationship and wrecks all your efforts of trying to retrieve the lost bonding, 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 the two.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Your Husband Has Emotionally Checked Out Of Marriage
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?” the lack of answers you come up with may make things seem hopeless. Can one person even save a 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 the couple have contradictions regarding their marriage; one wants to leave and 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.
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 towards the right track of saving your marriage.
“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 individually work on themselves, 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’d 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. The key here is being honest to yourself as well as your counselor.
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. Negotiate for time
“I said a little prayer to save my marriage every night. All I wanted was for my husband to give it another try, 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, let him know the reasons why you’d want him to give it a little time and what you hope to achieve with it.
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. There is definitely something that you are not doing right, or even by the right method.
You will have to figure out the things that you need to change before starting your journey towards your marriage revival. The issues could be anything, from the way your personality is or your attitude towards life. Focus on the things your spouse has a problem with and try to address them.
“One of the first things I tell my clients is that they need to work on themselves first. Since they may essentially be suffering from depression, 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 very calm and confident person to your spouse,” says Gopa.
Related Reading: 12 Characteristics Of A Successful Marriage
“You have to be calm and you have to show a new you. Unless you change yourself and work on yourself, the partner won’t want to come back because they’ve already made their mind up to leave after witnessing the old issues,” she adds.
The first thing I tell the client is that you need to focus on yourself first. What essentially happens is that the issue is so overwhelming, it takes over their lives. They can’t eat, they can’t sleep, they cant do anything, if they have children, they’re neglecting them and getting depressed.
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?” 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.
“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 this spouse, the more they’re going to realize they probably made the right decision by walking away,” 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, make sure you don’t resort to any nasty tactics.
5. 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; this 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 you gave it your best shot,” says Gopa.
Get your support system ready, be it your best friend 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 towards achieving your goal without carrying any emotional baggage.
6. Focus on real issues
Every marriage goes through its ups and downs, but if the marriage 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 issue is not worth ending your marriage for. Instead of focusing on blaming each other in a relationship, you will have to come up with solutions of resolving it. 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.
Related Reading: 10 Signs You Need Counselling To Fix Your Marriage
“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 two 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.
“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 adds.
Stuck on questions like, “How to save my marriage when she doesn’t want to”? The first thing you need to do is try and pinpoint the real issues, as Gopa points out. A civil discussion or two can do wonders for both of you.
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,” says 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. Give your spouse that space and time to contemplate their decisions.
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 space.
Related Reading: 15 Warning Signs You Need A Divorce For Sure
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’d 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’d 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.
9. 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 list of the possible outcomes of the separation.
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. Re-invent 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.