Not only is it very painful when your spouse starts talking about being unhappy in your marriage, but it's also panic-inducing. We often begin to picture the worst-case scenario almost immediately and some of us have an almost instant need to attempt to change his mind.

To demonstrate, I might hear from a wife who says: "my husband has been telling me that he has doubts about our marriage. He's started to drop little hints that he is thinking about leaving. He'll say things like 'I'm not sure that I see a future for us.' Or 'if I would have known that this is how our marriage would be, I would have never proposed.' I have asked him why he is so unhappy and he won't be specific. He will only say that marriage isn't what he thought that it would be. I have asked him to have patience and to not make any sudden decisions. But he says he won't make any promises. I have tried to be sweet and accommodating so that we fight less. This doesn't seem to help. It seems that no matter what I do or say, he's determined to be unhappy. And I suspect he's determined to leave. What am I doing wrong? What is there to do or say to get him to change his mind about our marriage?"

Uncovering The Core Cause Before You Can Have An Important Conversation: This is a tricky, but common, situation. If he's not telling you what is wrong, sometimes you have to take a hard inventory and make a very educated guess. For a couple of days, notice his behavior. Notice if he has a reaction to any specific thing. Try asking him some open-ended questions. If all else fails: ask yourself this question. "If I had to make one guess as to what was making my husband doubt our marriage, what would I say in this instant?" You would be surprised as to how that question is able to bring up what is in your subconscious and tell you what you already know but haven't yet processed.

Faking It Until You Make It: If you are still coming up empty, it's my opinion that the best thing that you can do is to proceed with confidence and a positive attitude. There is often a common theme in this scenario. The women who contact me very often say the same types of things as this wife - that they were begging him not to go or were being overly accommodating, as though they were walking on eggshells. The vast majority tell me that these things don't work and seem to make no real difference. (It definitely made no difference for me. And it lead to a separation. We did eventually recover when I changed tactics. The rest of that story is here.)

And I think that one possible reason for this is that you are overdoing it. When you almost apologize for yourself and for your marriage, you almost imply that there is something wrong with it and that this is all your fault. In turn, this makes him move away from you even more. Of course, if you know there is something wrong in your marriage and you can pinpoint what it is, then it's best to address it quickly and efficiently so that he can see that things can and will change. And therefore, there is no need for him to take action.

Bringing The Core Issue To Light In Conversation: Regardless of the issues harming the marriage, you can always have an opening conversation to try to bridge the gap. Sometimes the best thing that you can do is to be supportive, confident, and upbeat. You might try something like: "it hurts me to hear you say that you are so unhappy. We both deserve contentment and peace in this marriage. What can I do to make this better for you? If you'd like to talk, I'm here. And I'm committed to making our marriage as good as it can possibly be so that we are both happy. In the coming days, I'm going to try some improvements that will hopefully make things better for both of us, but if you have any specific issues you want me to address, please let me know." Notice that this makes it sound as if you are perfectly willing to take action, but you aren't grasping at straws and you aren't desperate. You're also validating him rather than trying to convince him that he is wrong or picky.  And you are allowing him to fill in the blanks.

You've made the offer that needs to be made, and hopefully, he will be more forthcoming about what he needs from you. In the meantime though, it's become my belief that you are better off remaining upbeat and proactive rather than allowing your fear to get the better of you and heaping more stress unto the situation by constantly pressuring him about it. You don't want to do anything that will ratchet up the negative emotions more than they already are.

Sometimes, bringing positivity to the equation will do more good than you could have ever imagined. Sometimes, especially if his unhappiness had more to do with him than with you, then it will eventually pass. But now would be a good time to take inventory of your marriage and greatly improve upon what you can. Because even if this passes on its own, improving your marriage doesn't hurt it and is always beneficial.

My husband was unhappy in our marriage and we eventually separated.  During that time, I pretty much begged constantly.  This only made it worse.  It wasn't until I faked some confidence that things changed.  If it helps, you can read more of my story on my blog at

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