The emails that I get are often from the spouse who wants to remain married and who wants advice on how to get their husband, wife, or partner back on board. Typically, one spouse will say, hint at, or act like they don't want to be married anymore, but this is not at all the way that the still committed spouse feels. They very much want to save the marriage and are looking for the best ways to do this while still leaving their dignity and place in the marriage intact.  So, in the following article, I'll go over some ways to get your husband to WANT to stay married to you when you seem to be (at least right now) the only one who wants this.

You Can't "Get" Or "Make" Him Want To Stay Married.  This Decision Must Come From Him (But You Can Influence This): First, I need to make clear that no matter what you do and no matter how hard you try, it's nearly impossible to "make" someone want to stay married if this isn't their own decision.  Any decision manipulated through trickery, strong-arming, guilt, or just keeping at them until they "give in" is often a decision that he will take back and regret as soon as the relationship comes under fire or stress again. You really don't want your spouse staying with you by default or if they really, deep down don't want to be there. Because he'll only leave again. (I know this firsthand. More on that here.)

To have a real shot at saving your marriage long term, you need for both of you to really want to be equally committed to doing the work necessary to ensure that you get the results that you want.  It's very unrealistic to think that this can happen by "making" them see the marriage your way when they really don't. And, I have to be honest, following them around, belittling yourself, or continuing to come at them when they've indicated that they want a break is only going to make them see you (and staying in the marriage) negatively. I understand why you want a quick resolution, but tread lightly and carefully here.

Often, I find that these attempts to "get" or "make" them do something stems from a perceived lack of control.  It's frustrating to think that you can't control how they feel and it's painful to see them slip away.  Understand that you have more control than you think. Start by controlling what you can - how you yourself act and respond - and you'll often be pleasantly surprised at the reaction that you get.

Changing His Perceptions In The Right Way. Steer Toward Positivity: Your number one goal right now has to be to change their perception of you and the marriage.  Whether you go to counseling, chose to work things out on your own, or even if you don't have a workable plan, nothing is likely to "stick" if they are dragging their feet because they still see you negatively.

That's why it's so important that you present yourself as the very high-quality person that you are with calm integrity and attractive qualities like patience, openness, understanding, and wanting what they want because you love them unconditionally.  People respond to other people who want to help them get what they want (rather than wanting to change their mind.) So, this is how you must present yourself even if you have to fudge it just a little bit.  That's OK.  You're doing this for the greater good.

Focus On The Here And Now: It's very important that you make clear to your spouse that whatever has happened in the past is going to stay there.  Tell them that you realize that a lot of your reactions and previous behavior was a mistake and that you are going to be changing that.  Make it very clear that you love them and want them to be happy.  Stress that you could be happy together, but you can't control the future and you're no longer going to be kicking and screaming and fighting them every step of the way.  You want for both of you to be happy and at peace, so you're going to control what you can - yourself.  For your part, you're going to take the high road and just focus on interacting with them in a better, more positive way.

Knowing The Difference Between Agreeable and Subservient: Many people will tell me "but, you told me not to act subservient and yet, what you're described is exactly that."  No, it's really not.  What I've described is a way to give yourself an "in" and a way to keep them from stop being so defensive and distant.  You need for them to no longer close themselves off or put their guard up when they are around you.  This is the way to do it.  And, as I said before, you need to begin changing negative perceptions. This will help.

Delaying Working Through Problems (Just For Now): Here's a very common mistake that I see people, especially wives, make.  Their husband begins to become a bit more receptive.  But, they respond by immediately wanted to navigate their problems and have awkward and difficult discussions that just bring about the negativity that I've been talking about during this whole article.

Or, they chose a counselor whose office feels as painful as a root canal because she wants to delve into all of the marriages' problems and shortcomings.  Husbands read this extremely negatively and often see this as much more trouble than this whole thing is worth.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I'm not telling you to deny or downplay your problems. I fully realize that you will eventually need to address and then fix them for good.  But, if your spouse has one foot out the door already, don't push him to walk out that door by continuing on with the negative perceptions by demanding that he dissect your marriage.  This is step two or three and this doesn't come until step one is complete.

What is step one? Simply changing the perception.  It's transforming your relationship until you're interacting positively again - until you can get to the point where you're having some fun and he smiles when he sees you coming rather than wincing.  You can work through the marriage when he's fully on board to save it, but I wouldn't recommend attempting this until then.

There was a time when I was sure that there was no way to get my husband to stay married. For a long time, I was the only one interested. I did not understand these tactics and nothing I was trying worked. Eventually, I decided to change course and it was the best decision I ever made. It saved my marriage. You can read that story on my blog at

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