I can empathize with many of the emails from visitors who ask for advice on how to proceed when their husband wants a divorce, but they want to save their marriage.  I was in the same situation a few years ago.  This is a very tough spot to be in because you feel as if your back is against the wall and your time is quickly slipping away.  In my case, this sense of urgency to save my marriage before the divorce moved forward propelled me to act in ways that were very desperate and unbecoming and not at all typical of me.  With distance and a happy ending now on my side, I can now see that these acts drove my husband further away and only made my tasks harder.  But at the time, it was so easy to want to get his attention and time at all costs - even if what I ultimately got was negative attention that was doing me no good.  So, in this article, I'll explain what ultimately worked and what I strongly feel is the only real and right way to save your marriage in the face of divorce.

How Do You Get Your Husband's Attention And Get Him To Listen To You?: In my experience, the biggest hurdle that you face when you are the only one who wants to save your marriage is a mind that is already made up and ears that are closed.  It's very tempting to stoop to very low levels to get his attention at all costs.  You make scary threats.  You make a pest of yourself.  You engage him or beg him or follow him around.  Or, you go to the other extreme and try to be overly accommodating and overly affectionate which he only reads as "needy." In truth, as "right" or as immediate as these things feel when you are doing them, they only make him motivated to rid himself of you sooner.

In my experience, there is a much better way.  But, fair warning, at the time, it will feel wrong and risky.  However, it's the only sensible and effective move that you can make.  Think about it.  You have to have an "in" that he won't read as meant to change his mind.  Because if he thinks you are, he's not going to listen. (My husband certainly didn't during my own separation. He completely tuned me out.  More on that here.)

And, you need to approach this as the loving, reasonable, and stable woman who promised to value and respect his happiness.  So, when you're going around flying off the handle and trying to convince him that he's wrong, what he's really seeing is someone who wants to keep him from getting what he wants, someone who's insinuating that he doesn't have the right to be happy, or that he should bury his own needs and wants.  You don't want to present yourself this way.

Instead, you want to show that you are stable, calm, and reasonable.  So, you jump ship and present yourself as someone who wants to help him get what he wants.  You want to be on his side.  You want to be his partner rather than his adversary.  So, sit him down and tell him that although this divorce talk breaks your heart because you love him more than anyone in this world, you ultimately want him to be happy and you realize that your actions were, in the past, preventing this.  Vow that you will no longer act in a way that continues to drive a wedge between you.  Tell him that no matter what happens between you, you want to remain on good, close terms because he's too important to you to part any other way.  This may sound or feel like you are giving in, but you really aren't.  You're just buying yourself time and gaining yourself access to your husband.  Because once he no longer sees you as a threat, he'll stop blocking you.

Force Yourself To Do Exactly What You Promised And Move Very Slowly: Many women make the mistake of not following through with this.  What often happens is that you find that the tension starts to lessen and your husband is no longer running from you and it feels much better, so you then start to push a little too hard and your husband thinks "man, I knew she was playing games," and you're back to less than square one.

Move more slowly than you probably want to. Once he's at least receptive to you, let him be the one who is driving the bus.  The whole idea of this is to show him the woman he first fell in love with so that he slowly wants to spend more time with you, but finds that you're vibrant, busy, and not sitting around in a desperate state.

I know that you may not feel like that woman right now, but you have to resist the urge to give in to this because when your husband first fell in love with you, you were likely very upbeat, light-hearted, and open.  You want to show him that you can still genuinely be this woman.  It's important that you go out, have fun, and do what makes you happy - and it's important that your husband knows you are doing this, although you don't want to be overtly obvious about telling him.

This can be hard, but it's the only thing that will put you back on equal footing.  You will always be at a disadvantage if you're always the only one who wants to move forward. The best scenario is that you slowly build up a reciprocal relationship, where you're both wanting to see more of one another - in a playful, fun way.

Don't try to have deep or difficult situations until you've been back on solid marital ground for quite a while. Moving too early in any way can backfire.

When my husband was thinking about a divorce or separation (but I definitely wasn't), I made many of the mistakes I discussed in this article based on fear. I stalked, begged, threatened, tried to overcompensate, and acted very badly. These things backfired. Thankfully, I was able to change course using the tactics discussed here and save the marriage. You can read that story at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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There are links to more articles about saving your marriage at http://isavedmymarriage.com