Probably one of the most common requests or emails that I get is a request for advice when a husband "wants out" of the marriage. Now, these emails run the gauntlet. Sometimes, the husband hasn't really said anything, but has hinted around, or is acting in such a way that the wife has a pretty strong feeling or intuition that he has checked out of the marriage. Sometimes, the husband has said or hinted that he is no longer "in love" with the wife and thinks that the marriage is over. And, a few women write and indicate that their husband has actually seen a lawyer, or filed for divorce, or has packed his bags and left the home. The advice that I give will depend upon the situation you're in, but there are some tips that I can offer which can help you save your marriage, no matter which of these situations you are in.

Do You Know (Or Can You Pinpoint) Why Your Husband Wants Out?: Husbands can be very bad at communicating what they are feeling or what they really want. Often, they'll give you vague or incomplete reasons for their checking out that really don't tell you what you need to know. They'll say things like "I'm just not happy," or "I just don't want to be married," or "I just think it's better this way." These evasive answers don't do anything to help you save your marriage, so you'll need to dig deeper.

And sometimes, a stressful or crisis situation seems to be the reason for the split (money problems, infidelity, stress, etc.) but although these things can push your marriage over a cliff, you were likely already headed down a vulnerable path, with the situation just being the fatal blow or push. So, again, you'll need to go further.

Ask For Specifics To Help You Formulate A Plan, But Know When To Stop: I always suggest that you chose a calm time when neither of you is angry or rushed. Lay everything out on the table, but don't be combative or argumentative. Tell your husband that you agree that there are real problems and a real distance in your marriage. Tell him that you agree that drastic measures are needed. Ask your husband if he can share with you exactly why he's so troubled by your marriage. If he refuses (or if you're just getting more vague statements,) start patiently giving him some prompts. Examples are: "do you not feel as close as we once were?" or "are you not committed to the marriage anymore?"

If your husband begins getting defensive or is becoming agitated, stop. The purpose of this is really to try to get real answers and to observe your husband's verbal and nonverbal language to gauge his emotional state. Is he angry, sad, defeated, detached, or determined? The answer to these questions will give you insight into how to approach your husband from this point on. Obviously, you'll need to respond differently if your husband is angry rather than sad.

How To React If Your Husband Wants Out But You Don't Want To Let Him Go (Learn To Pause When Needed): Most people who write me (and most wives who are reading this article) want to save their marriages and want to change their husband's mind. But, please understand that the things which many of us try (because we want to turn this situation around quickly), backfire. It's important that you always pause before you act and evaluate if what you are about to do or say is going to help or hurt your marriage and the way that your husband sees you. This means that you don't engage, you don't argue in a negative way, you don't make threats, you don't beg, and you don't behave in any way that is going to make you appear out of control or unattractive. (I did all of these things, unfortunately.)

Because I have a strong suspicion that what and who your husband wants to see right now is the woman that he first fell in love with. And, she likely respected your husband's intelligence and wishes enough not to pull anything underhanded. Always conduct yourself as the best version of yourself. Show your husband that the woman he once loved very much is still right in front of him.

Putting The Right Person Forward: This may sound counter-intuitive, but you want to present yourself as someone who loves her husband more than anything in the world but who respects herself enough to keep busy and retain her self respect.

The worst situation that you can possibly be in is to be the one who wants to save the marriage, but who is in the second class citizen position. It's very hard to respect and want someone who doesn't respect and love themselves. So, as hard as it may seem at first, show your husband that you aren't hanging on his every word and every move. Make it very clear that you want to improve your relationship because you value it over all else, but also show a woman who is busy, vibrant, self-respecting, and attractive. See your friends. Go to the gym. Take up old hobbies. All of these things will reaffirm you as someone interesting rather than desperate and undesirable.

This step is also very important because it keeps your husband from dodging you. If he knows you aren't pulling out all of the desperate stops, there's no need for him to avoid you.

What If You Think It's Too Late To Save Your Marriage? (Hint, It's Probably Not): Often, women will tell me, "well I wish I had known this before, because it's too late now. My husband won't see me / take my calls, etc." Although I concede that you'll likely need to move more slowly and take smaller victories at first, it's by no means hopeless. You will simply have a bit more patience, but you will get there in the same way.

My husband wanted out so badly that he left our home.  Needless to say, I panicked. I made many of the mistakes discussed in this article. It didn't go well.  Until I changed tactics.  You can read that story at

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