When your spouse tells you that he is no longer invested in your marriage, it can become very easy to get down on the whole situation and to begin to feel somewhat helpless. One reason for this is that you can feel a lack of control. It can feel as if no matter what you do or say, this is all out of your hands.

For example, you might hear a wife say something like, "Three weeks ago, my husband told me that he suspected he may not want our marriage anymore. He said that after dating me for nearly ten years and being married to me for four, he feels as if our relationship has run its course. It hurts me to hear him say this, but it doesn't surprise me. Because of our finances, my husband had to drop out of college and take on two part-time jobs. The stress level has been incredibly hard on us. And for the past seven months after he left school, I have watched him withdrawal from the things that used to make him happy. I have encouraged him to reach out to our extended families and to take some correspondence courses, but none of this has helped. He seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into despair and now he seems to think that I am part of his problems. I have tried to offer to work on our marriage. I have tried to make him happy in multiple ways. But nothing has worked and now I feel as if I have to sit by and watch helplessly as my husband abandons our marriage. I feel as if there is nothing that I can do but just watch this happen."

Watch His Perceptions Of Pressure: I know how this feels. When my husband and I separated, I often felt that there wasn't much I could do but just witness this event helplessly and feel all sorts of frustration. In fact, I tried numerous things to get my husband interested in our marriage again. But looking back at it now, the more I did this, the more pressured my husband felt and the more it appeared to him that I was making demands. This only increased his stress level and, as a result, he pulled further away from me.

You Have More Control Than You Think. So Take Control Over What You Can: This cycle continued on and on until I complained to a therapist that I had no control over what was happening to me. She told me that I was wrong. She told me that we are all responsible for our own happiness and our own experiences. And although she conceded that I was going through a tough time in my marriage, she stressed that there were other aspects to my life outside of my marriage. And she challenged me that if I addressed these other areas, it would likely either help my marriage or make my marital issues not seem so dire.

At first, I was frankly annoyed at this advice. My marriage was falling apart and suddenly she wanted me to take up hobbies and volunteer my time when I couldn't complete a positive thought? This angered me. But things in my marriage made it so that I really had no choice but to leave my husband alone for a while. And suddenly, I had quite a bit of time on my hands which needed to be filled. Staring at my four walls and feeling lonely wasn't working for me. So, I went to my parents' for a while and I reconnected with family and friends. Some of those same friends got me involved in activities that at least kept me active and engaged with my own life. Helping others made me feel needed and worthwhile. And even though my marriage wasn't going in the way that I would have liked, I no longer felt helpless about my life.

Helping Yourself And Improving Your Outlook CAN Help Your Marriage: This was a huge turning point and transformation. I am not going to tell you that suddenly I was OK with my husband all but rejecting me and my marriage. I most certainly wasn't. But I had some important realizations. I had my health. I had friends and family who loved me. I had a career that I was starting to love. My marriage was one aspect of my life where things weren't going well and where I felt hopeless. But in other aspects of my life, I had a lot of reason to feel hope. And I learned that if I focused on those things while giving my husband time, this, in turn, helped my marriage. (You can read that entire story here.)

I learned a very important truth. When you take responsibility for your own happiness and well being, this takes a huge amount of pressure and stress off of your spouse. It also shows him that you respect yourself. This usually makes him respect you more. And frankly, if he is having some personal struggles, as my husband was, seeing you turn around your own happiness level will often inspire him to be open to doing the same.

I can't promise you that feeling hope in other areas of your life will make your husband seek help for his own happiness level and then make him realize that your marriage isn't the problem. This is a jump. It happens for some. But not for all. Still, it can't hurt. It will likely make you feel better and alleviate some stress.

Understand That You Have Advantages And Resources: And I know first hand that feeling helpless isn't good, healthy, or advisable for anyone involved. If you are reading this article, that means that you have resources for access to the internet, your eyesight, your ability to read and process information, and likely good enough health to support all of this. And, that in itself is a reason to feel hope.

I'd also be willing to bet that you have people who love you, a vocation or calling that sustains you, and places where you can help others. Sure, your marriage may not be where you want it to be. But you can not control what your husband does. However, you can control how you respond to your circumstances. And one response encourages hope while another discourages it.

I don't mean to make this sound overly simplistic because it isn't simple or easy.  But finding hope outside of your troubles will often, in turn, help those troubles.  Or will at least make you feel better. You're welcome to read more about my own process on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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