I often hear from people who are trying to decide their next course of action after their spouse has announced that they no longer want to be married. Recently, I heard from a wife who said, in part: "Out of the blue, my husband sat me down and told me that he doesn't want to be married anymore. He seemed pretty sure about his decision. At this point, it seems that my options are letting him go and giving him a divorce or trying to change his mind. I don't want to walk away from my marriage. But, if he doesn't want me, what's the point of forcing myself on him if we're ultimately going to divorce anyway? I just don't know what to do."

I truly do understand this situation. The wife felt that she was faced with nothing but options that were going to turn out badly and were going to give her what she did not want. From experience and research, I feel that there is another option here, which I'll discuss in the following article.

Deciding How To Respond When Your Spouse No Longer Wants To Be Married: So now the wife had reached a point where the husband was waiting to hear her decision and her response. She felt quite pressured to give an either/or type of answer. It seemed to her that her only available options were to give up and comply with the husband's request to no longer be married or to attempt to fight for the marriage, knowing that he probably would not cooperate.

She was pretty clear on the fact that she didn't want to get a divorce without trying everything in her power to save the marriage. But she knew that this was going to be an uphill battle because he seemed convinced that marriage was no longer something he wanted to actively participate in.

I told the wife that sometimes when you're trying to save your marriage, you have to package it and present it in a different way to avoid meeting resistance. And also, you'll likely have to move quite slowly and not try to accomplish too much too soon.

Focusing On Saving The Love Between You Rather Than On Saving The Marriage: It was incredibly clear that the husband didn't want to attempt to save the marriage. So, if the wife continued to push this, she ran the risk of him avoiding her altogether or of him tuning her out every time she attempted to say something. (This is exactly what happened when I pushed my own husband during our separation. You can read that story here.)

To that end, I felt that she was better off taking her focus off of her attempts to save the marriage. This was not going to mean that she'd given up or that this was no longer her primary focus. It just meant that she was repackaging it in a way that would make her husband more receptive to her. Some people feel that this is dishonest, but I would argue that it is for the greater good.

I suggested that she make it appear that her focus was just on maintaining the relationship between them throughout the process and then gradually improving it. The next time her husband pressured her, she might just say that although she didn't want a divorce, she just wanted for him to be happy and she wanted for them to maintain their relationship even if the marriage part of it changed. She might then consider telling him that she was just going to see what happened without making a firm commitment to anything.

Obviously, the husband might still go right ahead and file the divorce papers. But this really shouldn't change the plan - which would still be to go forward with maintaining and then improving the relationship. This sometimes means putting all of your issues and problems on hold until you've returned to stable ground. You want to take as much pressure out of the situation as you can. And sometimes, when you fear you're losing too much ground, suggesting a trial separation (where preferably you're the one who leaves) is better than him filing for divorce. Or, if he would agree to it, offer to stay in a spare room in your home.

Changing His Perceptions About You And The Marriage: Here's where it can get tricky. Sometimes, you have the best possible plan and you're fully committed to seeing it through, but your emotions give you away. You find it difficult not to let your fear and desperation show through when you're around him and this, of course, makes you appear unattractive and pushes him further away.

It's so important that you remember what your husband loves about you the most and show him those things. It's so incredibly easy (and understandable) to mope around and appear to be struggling. And while, this may well be what's happening inside, now more than ever, you want to show him the external qualities that drew him to you in the first place. If he fell in love with an adventurous and vivacious woman, don't show him someone who is clinging, reluctant, and bitter because this is going to do nothing to change his mind.

Showing and portraying your best self will not only make you feel better, but it will show him that the woman he loves is still present. And, it will show him that his perceptions were potentially wrong. If he can come to learn that he was wrong about you, he might also embrace the fact that he's wrong about no longer wanting the marriage also.

When my husband told me he didn't want to actively participate in our marriage anymore, his mind was made up. So, I almost thought that things were hopeless. My initial efforts to save my marriage were disastrous because they were based on fear. But, thankfully, I changed course because I had to.  The new tactics saved my marriage.  You can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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