Sometimes, I get emails from confused wives who ask me things like “my husband is saying he wants a divorce. How do I know that he’s really serious, that he really and truly wants the divorce, or whether he’s just playing mind games or trying to get the upper hand?” The honest answer to this question is that in truth, you can’t possibly know the definitive answer to this question – at least not with 100% certainty. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to read your husband’s mind, and, even if you could, sometimes people don’t admit the truth – even to themselves.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that your husband’s communicating that he wants or is planning for a divorce gives you a bit of an advantage that many wives don’t have. I can’t tell you how many wives contact me when they’ve already received divorce papers or who have ignored the first discussions about divorce and now are very sorry that they did. So, you do have that early tip off that many never get. I’ll discuss how to best handle this wake up call in the following article.
Whether His Saying He Wants A Divorce Is A Mind Game Or Not, Take It Seriously: Many women will tell me “I feel like all this divorce talk is meant just to get my attention or to make me back down on some issue that we’re fighting over.” Of course it is. If your husband didn’t care about getting your attention or getting some reaction or response, he would’ve just served you with divorce papers rather than communicating with you about it before hand. This may not feel like a courtesy or an advantage to you right now, but I can assure you that it is.
Many times, this conversation is a last ditch effort that a husband will make – often in the hopes of getting some change or positive reaction. In essence, he’s trying to get a feel to see if you’re willing to fight for the marriage or if you’re going to keep denying that something is seriously wrong or keep up with the negative status quo.
Sure, he may well be playing mind games or trying to get the upper hand, but calling his bluff is never the best idea. Doing this will only ensure that you become more distant from each other, more frustrated, and you have to keep pulling out bigger stops to make an impact. Eventually, this will reach the point of no return where it will be very hard for your marriage to recover.
So, although you may well feel like telling your husband to stop with all this divorce talk, don’t. See this for the heads up and wake up call that it is. He’s crying out for your attention. Give it to him. Take this seriously. Sit down and calmly talk about this so that it doesn’t escalate. Doing so can help to ward off a lot of further damage and pain.
How To Handle It When He Says He Wants A Divorce: Regardless of what has happened in the past, today is a new day. You have the power to change the outcome of this with your actions and you must believe this to be true. But, you aren’t going to get there if you’re both digging in your heals and being indignant. At this time, being “right,” is less important than being happily married.
Winning the argument or “not giving him the satisfaction” of seeing your concern may feel good short term, but having a genuinely close and loving marriage feels a whole lot better. Resist the urge to throw up your hands and argue, debate, or be confrontational. Don’t challenge your husband or tell him that he’s wrong. He’s not going to react the way that you ultimately want him to if you do this. You’re far better off if you validate his feelings and show concern for him. Now, you may feel like you’re being asked to make all of the concessions or to “give in” to him. It may feel like that initially. But, try not to think of it this way. Try to think of it as giving a little, but potentially getting a lot in return.
It’s best to agree that the marriage is not satisfying to you either and that you deeply regret this. Tell him that no matter how it ultimately turns out, you’d like to improve the relationship between you. Tell him that he’s important enough to you that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to part on good terms or to save the marriage – which ever it turns out to be. It’s important that you don’t come off as desperate or in genuine. And, it’s important that he’s doesn’t think that you’re only trying to make these concessions because you’re playing games and want a particular result.
Pulling Him Closer Rather Than Pushing Him Away: If you want to save your marriage, you must know that it won’t happen over night. However, you can build upon positive daily interactions. Your real goal is to just interact each time positively rather than negatively. Because each positive interaction is like money in the bank. Each one will build on itself until he wants to see more of you and he wants to make his own concessions. This is truly the only way to get two people who are willing to work together to reach a joint goal.
Ultimately, you want to show your husband that the woman he fell in love with – the one who listened to his concerns and valued his happiness – is willing to listen to him and to work with him until you’re both happy and fulfilled as you once were.