With no-fault divorces becoming universal and financial support virtually guaranteed to the less-earning spouse, husbands these days are rarely held back by social and moral compulsions if they have made up their minds to leave the marriage. And yet if you have shared a life, perhaps raised a family and you still love this man, there could be a few ways to convince him to stay and give your marriage another chance.
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Don’t make a scene
If your husband is already packing his bags, chances are he has made up his mind about leaving the marriage and no amount of justifications and excuses from you will have any effect – at least at this stage. Thus the most immediate thing to do it is to stop nagging, fighting, rolling your eyes at each other and launching into accusations. It is impossible to do anything constructive when your home is constantly echoing with heated words and raised voices. In order to stop all this, simply agree with whatever your husband says, start saying things like: "I understand why you are upset", "I know I have not been there for you". Even if he says something that you think is totally off track about who you are, remind yourself that there must have been something “I want to leave”, you can say, “I understand” or at least “I see”. This implies that you perceive and accept the reality that your marriage is in a bad predicamentment. Men not only hate a scene but any hint of neediness and emotional insecurity on your part is the surest way to get him to leave. Instead, if you stay calm and admit that you accept the position even if you may not agree with her reasons for a divorce, he will lose her need to take an aggressive and combative stance. It goes without saying that this approach will not make the problems in your marriage disappear but will be the first step in creating an environment when issues can be addressed and solutions sought out.
TIP: Download the guide to making up with your husband.
Clear the air of negativity
Even if you have been successful in getting your husband to put down his bags, don’t be in rush to have “the talk”. At this stage launching into the familiar circle of arguments and counter-arguments about what went wrong with your marriage and why you both should give it another chance is probably the last thing the guy needs. Most couples start the wrong way round when they are trying to fix a tottering marriage. They begin by diagnosing what has gone wrong and end up analyzing and dissecting the relationship to death. The more they focus on clashing priorities and personality differences, the more they are likely to give way to rising tempers and end up again in a fight. So if you want to convince your husband to stay and give your marriage another chance, start by putting aside all negative feelings between you and him.
Work at keeping things pleasant
Instead set about creating a positive atmosphere between you two. After months and perhaps years of marital conflict, you may have forgotten how to empathize with each other. Start out by going back to the time when you were dating and remember how you treated him with affection, care and consideration. Make a real attempt to feel those emotions for your husband now. Make him feel special and this will make him more open to reconciliation. At the same time awaken those qualities in you that your husband found irresistible in the beginning. If he flipped over your sense of humor, make him laugh again. If he loved watching you paint pictures or play the piano, take up those interests again. Above all make your interactions as light and upbeat as possible. Do things which you used to enjoy when you were first dating like sampling the newest restaurants in town or watching DVDs together. This is not to imply that you will be shutting your eyes to issues troubling your marriage, only that you need to keep things pleasurable and positive between you two so that it leads to greater interactions and you both rediscover the highs of being with each other.
Identify the causes of conflict
After you have achieved a measure of peace and good will in your relationship, you can proceed to fix what may have gone wrong in the marriage. Here it will be crucial to maintain an objective point and not launch into a litany of your husband’s faults. Start by finding out when and what began causing the rift between you two and why things came to such a pass that he wanted to leave you and his home. Very often marriages come to a breaking point when partner feel that they are not being understood, valued or appreciated. Sometimes women tend to get too engrossed in keeping home and raising kids to realize that her husband needs to see her as a woman too, and not just as a housekeeper and a mommy. Things can be trickier is he wishes to leave because of another woman, but even identify what caused him to seek fulfillment outside marriage. Whatever the reasons for the breach, avoid taking an accusatory approach. Instead sit down with your partner and reiterate that he is the most important person in your life. As soon as your husband understands that instead of looking for a confrontation, you actually want to work with him in order to improve the situation, he will be much more receptive to what you have to say.
Make some efforts
It is not enough to diagnose the issues that ailed your marriage – you also need to find ways to resolve them. This is the most important step if you want to convince your husband to stay in the marriage. Focus on those aspects of your own mental and emotional makeup that may have contributed to the conflict. Perhaps you always believe that you are right in any arguments with your husband or you take him for granted while making big purchases or ignoring his need for intimacy. Find out what you need to change about yourself and be sure to stick to those changes. Don’t tell your husband that you are willing to be more responsible or more faithful and then half a year down the line, go back to making the same mistakes. This will make him feel that you cannot be trusted and that you are not serious about saving the marriage.
Finally though both of you will have to work together to save your marriage. If your husband is obstinate about not changing at all, or even giving the relationship a fresh chance, there is precious little you can do on your own. One of the remaining options of course is to see a counselor. If your husband is bent on leaving, talking to a counselor or therapist can help you cope with the separation. But even after you and your husband have decided to resolve issues, you may find there is still work to be done. Either way it makes sense seek help from a professional marriage counselor who may be able to bring some aspect of your marriage to your attention that you may have not noticed or effectively addressed by yourselves.