When you get married, you want it to last forever. But a few things go terribly wrong down the line, your husband messes up big time, and you find yourself desperately trying to fix things. But you wonder if your husband feels the same. You then start looking for any possible signs your husband wants to save the marriage. You want to know if he is willing to rectify his mistakes.
According to the latest Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults, 86% of more than a thousand 18 to 29-year-old Americans expect their marriages to last a lifetime. And so do you. Even when everything starts to fall apart, you think of everything possible for saving a marriage from divorce. But does your husband want that too?
To find out if he’s as invested as you are, and if it is possible to save a marriage on the brink of divorce, we reached out to Ridhi Golechha (M.A. Psychology), who specializes in counseling for loveless marriages, breakups, and other relationship issues. She says, “Any marriage and relationship can be rescued if both the parties are willing to do the work.” Let us see where your husband stands on this.
Is your marriage worth saving?
Table of Contents
Should I stay, try harder, or should we pull the plug? Can my failing marriage be saved even though we have talked about separating? There are a lot of ways to ask this question. The answer is one. Yes, a marriage can be saved, even when taking its last breath. What it takes is seeing worth in the future of your relationship and then showing a 100% commitment to the process of healing.
Being in a loveless marriage can be mentally draining. Dana Adam Shapiro in his 2012 book, You Can Be Right or You Can Be Married, wrote that only 17% of couples are content with their partner. The rest are just adjusting themselves due to financial issues, societal stigma, or for the sake of children. That is why, you need to have an honest assessment of where your relationship stands. You could take this “Am I In An Unhappy Marriage?” quiz to find out.
Ridhi too says, “You should consider saving a marriage if there is still love between two people. If one person doesn’t feel the same way, then there’s no point in saving a marriage from falling apart. When love is gone, you can’t beg or force someone to stay with you. You can build the bridge only when there is love and a desperate need and desire to work it out and be together.”
So, when your husband says that he is on the same page as you, how do you make sure? How do you know that it’s worth putting all your time and energy into fixing whatever went wrong? You start looking for all the signs that give you an idea of your husband’s commitment level.
Related Reading: 8 Expert Tips To Survive A Marriage Crisis
9 Important Signs Your Husband Wants To Save The Marriage
Say, you and your husband have had the talk. Grievances have been aired and promises have been made. Now what? You’re wondering if he has truly changed because your gut tells you maybe he hasn’t. You might be looking for signs your partner cares about your relationship for many reasons which we list below.
- You find his habits or behavior worrisome and he doesn’t seem to change even after many conversations
- You just found out that he has been lying to you, or controlling and manipulating you
- You found out he has been having an extramarital affair
- He hasn’t been actively involved in raising the children
- He has been neglecting your needs
You might benefit from this list of signs that we have curated for you, to gauge your husband’s efforts toward you and this relationship.
1. He is attentive and involved again
Ridhi says, “It’s one of the signs your husband wants to fix your broken marriage when he becomes more attentive. He listens to everything you say. He validates your feelings, opinions, and judgments. He is more involved in your relationship again. He will start negotiating with you about the things he used to find intolerable. Or at least he will start meeting you midway.”
Is he trying to talk to you more? Does he come home from work just to spend time with you? Does he try to share the load? Is he a good listener when you talk about your feelings? Does he show that he cares? If that’s your husband, you can feel assured that he is inclined to make the marriage work.
2. He is taking accountability
If your partner did something wrong to hurt you like disrespecting you, yelling at you, or breaking your trust, then the fact that he sincerely apologized and took the responsibility of putting the marriage in danger is one of the signs your husband wants to save the marriage. This is especially important when saving a marriage after an affair.
After his affair, your husband should not only take accountability and apologize, but be a better man by allowing you as much time as you need to come to terms with the past. He shouldn’t be pushing you to forgive him or move on. A good sign is if he offers a mature apology and shows that he is ready to accept whatever the consequences of his actions are.
Pointing at the importance of accountability in relationships, Ridhi says, “When trying to save a marriage that is falling apart, there will surely be failed attempts on either or both sides. For example, something as big as cheating cannot be forgiven and forgotten overnight. It takes a lot of time to recover from infidelity. For now, just the mere fact that your husband is accepting his mistake is one of the first steps to save a marriage after an affair.”
Related Reading: 7 Things To Do When You Fall Out Of Love With Your Husband
3. He is trying to build intimacy again
We get so busy with our lives sometimes that we forget to nurture the love we have for our partners. When we finally have the time to sit with them, we realize that the spark is gone. While making love is important, it is equally important to rebuild intimacy of all kinds to overcome a relationship breakdown.
Jessica, a certified makeup artist from New York, says, “We took many steps to save our marriage. One of them was rebuilding all types of intimacy, especially physical, emotional, and intellectual intimacy. We started eating at least one meal a day together, improved our listening skills, and made efforts consistently to develop physical intimacy. We tried new things in bed, did household chores together, and tried to resolve our issues in an amicable way.”
You might have wondered, “Is it crucial that I change myself to save my marriage?” Jessica says that she and her husband did look within and made amendments to improve themselves. “My husband changed himself to save our marriage and so did I. There’s nothing wrong about changing little things about yourself for someone you love. It’s only worrisome if you change your entire personality and let go of your individuality.”
4. He learns your love language
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman can serve as one of the most important books on saving a marriage when used judiciously. As per the book, there are five types of ways people communicate their love, namely: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. When you and your partner have different love languages, you express and interpret love in different ways.
A study was done on how learning each other’s love languages boosts satisfaction in couples by establishing effective communication. This analysis showed that participants who used their partner’s preferred love languages had higher levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction.
If both partners express love the way the other understands it, it shows your commitment to making the relationship work. So, if your husband expresses his love toward you in both your and his own love language, see it as a clear sign your husband is putting in the effort to fix your troubled relationship.
5. He talks about the future with high hopes
When a man has divorce on his mind, he won’t talk about the future as much as he used to. People tend to not bring up things that they are not invested in. So, if things are grim, you won’t hear your spouse discuss buying a house with you, having children with you, which school to send the kids to, or even planning a vacation with you.
But as time passes and you see positive changes in that attitude, there might be hope, after all. Ridhi says, “If he used to refuse to talk about your marital future with certainty, but now he talks about it with high hopes, then he is surely trying to save a marriage that was falling apart.”
Related Reading: Psychology Of Love: Theories That Make Relationships Work
6. He is creating a better environment for the kids
You didn’t think about it when you hurled abuses at each other for the first time. But as the conflicts increased, you started noticing changes in your children’s behavior too. It’s no secret that if parents engage in conflicts very often, it severely affects the kids. According to research, frequent conflicts between parents are associated with increased behavioral problems in children such as aggression, defiance, and conduct disorders.
Ridhi says, “Hostile environment is very unhealthy for the children. You need to think about your kid’s mental health before you yell at each other.” She adds, “However, when a husband makes efforts to create a better environment for you and the kids, being respectful of your mental well-being is definitely one of the ways to save a marriage on the brink of divorce.”
Has he been making sure to communicate grievances in a more responsible manner? Has he been giving the kids more of his time and attention? Is he making extra efforts to look after their needs? Is he readily sharing household chores and childcare responsibilities, like showing up at PTA meetings, getting involved in your kids’ life, friends, hobbies, studies, etc.? If that is the case, you should find hope in this behavior.
7. He has a team mentality
A team mentality always helps to save a marriage from divorce. It’s one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship. It includes the following behaviors:
- Knowing that it’s “us” and not “me”
- Asking for each other’s thoughts and opinions
- Setting realistic expectations
- Making decisions together
- Developing shared values and respecting values that differ
- Asking questions and being curious about each other
- Not trying to hijack mutual friends and family
Ridhi shares, “Team mentality in a relationship is very important. The two of you work together to achieve the same goal, which is achieving a stable and harmonious marriage. You and your husband can try to save a marriage after an affair, for example, by tackling this issue as a team.”
8. He explicitly says so himself
If you want things to work out, you will have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he expresses that he wants to mend things in a believable and genuine way, you can give him a chance to prove himself. With many couples, words and actions don’t align. But when your husband does what he says, then it’s one of his ways of becoming a better husband.
Mal, a recording artist in his mid-30s, shares, “I sensed something was not right when we stopped spending quality time together and only focused on our careers. We barely saw each other. We would come home, have dinner, and sleep. We would wake up the next morning and go to work. I thought my marriage was heading toward a dead end.
“Thankfully, not only did he try to change himself to save our marriage, he made sure I did the same too. He said that he wanted to make things better and convinced me our relationship is worth fighting for. We took steps to save our marriage by making time for each other.”
Related Reading: 9 Expert Ways To Stop Your Husband From Yelling At You
9. He is working on himself
Ridhi says, “It’s a positive sign when your partner starts working on himself. If your man has anger issues and he is taking therapy for it, then he is trying to save this marriage at all costs. Fixing a marriage can take a lot of time. Trials and errors are bound to happen. If you love your husband and want the relationship to survive, support him in his journey of getting better.”
Some examples that your husband is working on himself are:
- He incorporates your feedback regularly in his behavior
- He is open and honest about his feelings
- He doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations
- He knows how to fight fair
- He is working on his insecurities
- He is open to being vulnerable
So, What’s Next?
So now you know if you have your husband’s support in fixing the marital crisis. You either see signs that things are hopeful or signs your marriage is doomed. You now know if your marriage can be saved or if you both should focus your energy on healing and moving on. Depending on your response, your next steps should ideally be the following:
- If there is hope: Once you find out that your husband is as invested as you are in fixing the relationship, set aside time and space to establish ground rules and some healthy boundaries. Make sure that you and your partner are in constant communication. Most couples enjoy spending time together. It is also advised that you seek support of a family therapist or a marriage counselor to learn about the roots of your conflict and learn better strategies for conflict resolution
- When it’s better to part ways: It is okay to feel heartbroken when you find out that your marriage can not be saved. Give yourself time to feel the grief. Seek support from family members and friends. Indulge in self-care to feel emotionally strong before you take the next step. In this case too, seeing a separation counselor as a couple can help make sure the separation or divorce process is easier for both of you. Individual therapy can help you cope with the huge change
We would like to reiterate that separating or not, professional counseling can prove to be extremely valuable when moving on or moving ahead. Should you need that help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is here to help you.
- A marriage is worth fixing if both partners see a future in it, and feel committed to putting in the hard work
- Consider saving the marriage when there is mutual trust, love, and respect left in the partnership
- If your husband has taken ownership of his actions, if he is trying to rebuild intimacy and trust, and wishes to talk about your future together, these are some of the positive signs he wants to work on your relationship
- You and your partner can work together by giving your 100% to the marriage, communicating respectfully, and taking accountability for the problems
- Marriages in trouble can be fixed with the professional outlook and guidance of a marriage counselor
Marriage is hard work. Things can get rocky for various reasons. If it’s things like miscommunication and misunderstanding, though, then your marriage could be worth saving. But that doesn’t mean you have to endure abuse, gaslighting, and betrayal or a disinterested partner. If you don’t want to save your relationship, that’s fine as well. We are here by your side whichever direction life takes you. You are not alone!
This article was updated in March 2023.
Yes. Any marriage is worth saving and can be saved as long as the partners treat each other with kindness and empathy, and give each other space. You can’t rescue a broken marriage if there is a lack of trust and constant criticism.
Unless there’s a pattern of abuse, it’s never too late to mend things. It all depends on how much you and your partner are willing to devote to this relationship. If one partner wants to give it all and the other doesn’t, then it can’t be saved. It’s not about timing or the magnitude of love. It’s all about how much effort and compromise you’re willing to make to save your marriage.
A marriage is in trouble when it starts feeling like a chore, when there has been an incident of infidelity, or when there are financial crises or parenting issues. If you have been longing to save a marriage, look for signs that tell you that both you and your partner feel equally invested in the relationship and that you see a future together.