Knowing the couple I'm about to describe as I already do, I can pretty much picture the scene in my mind.  And since I myself went through the same scene in what seems like another lifetime ago, I've felt what I know that the wife is feeling right now.  I can literally not only see what probably went down in my mind's eye but I can almost experience the feelings that go along with it.  Here's how it plays out in my head and also in my own memories.

Seemingly out of the blue, the husband announces that he doesn't want "this" anymore.

"This?" The wife asks.  "What do you mean you don't want 'this' anymore?"

"The marriage."  He finally replied.  "I don't want the marriage anymore.  I don't think I'm the type of guy who is meant to be married.  Being responsible for someone else just isn't in my makeup.  I'm not happy.  I don't want to hurt you by saying that, but I haven't been happy in far too long."

The wife feels her pulse quicken.  Her mouth goes dry. She can't believe she's hearing this.  Just last week,  they'd vacationed on the site of their honeymoon.  Just two days ago, he proclaimed his love for her.  "You're just under a lot of stress," she rationalizes.  We'll go to counseling.  We'll sort this out.  We love each other and we can get through anything as long as we work together."

The husband sighs and shakes his head with a silent 'no.'  "I don't think so," he insists.  "I'm not going to change my mind.  I feel like I'm not really living my life.  I can't put myself on hold any longer.  I'm very sorry, but I just don't want this for even one more day.  I'll do everything in my power to make sure this is amicable, but I'm done."

Admittedly, maybe I took some creative license here.  But scenes like this one play out each and every day.  And yes, I wrote it to be pretty heavy on the dramatics.  But the reason that I expressed it in the way that I did is because I know that it literally feels every bit as dramatic as it reads to the wife who is standing there hearing those words.  (I know because I heard words similar to this before my own separation. Things eventually worked out okay, once I learned how to play things to my advantage. But I remember that pain. That story is here.)

And I know that the wife who has found this article wants some answers and is looking for any hope that she can find.  While I can't tell you if your husband is ever going to change his mind or exactly how you are going to make this happen, I can offer some suggestions to you as to what I have found works the best for all involved.  I will do that below.

Much Of The Time, Trying To Change The Mind Of A Husband Who Insists That He's Not Going To Change It Is An Exercise In Futility: Those of us who have had our husbands tell us that he's not going to change his mind about wanting us or the marriage often hear the "change my mind" part as almost a challenge.  Because we know that this is precisely what we must do in order to save our marriage.

But here's the thing. He's pretty much told you that you're going to be wasting your time if you try to make him see that he is wrong.  So often, when you attempt to do just that, he's going to be especially invested in making sure that you do not succeed.  He wants to be right every bit as much as you do.  And sometimes, even if he's beginning to have conflicting thoughts, he'd rather hide or deny this than admit that you were right and he was wrong.  And what will he do in response?  He will cling even more tightly to his assertions, even if they are wavering.  And unfortunately, this just brings you closer to the end of your marriage.

So you are better off (at least in my opinion,) making it appear that changing his mind is the last thing on yours.  If he thinks that you accept his position, then he has no reason to cling to it like a life raft.  He may even lessen his grip just a little bit, which can be a good thing for you.

Consider Giving Him A Bit Of What He Thinks He Needs In Order To Be Happy So That He Can Come To His Own Conclusions: You and I both know that it's likely not your marriage that is making your husband unhappy.  He may not realize the same right now, but if you give him enough space to explore this, there is a chance that he will soon find out what you already know.

This husband (like many) felt that his marriage and his responsibilities were keeping him from truly experiencing the life and the freedom that he felt he ought to enjoy.  Well, then, by all means, consider lowering the marital gate.   Perhaps you tell him that you don't want him to feel so trapped as it was never your intention to make him unhappy.  Perhaps you offer to stay with friends or family so that he can experience what life is like when he doesn't have a wife and marital life to come home to.

I know that this might not sound all that appealing to you right now.  But, if he is never allowed to discover that this carefree lifestyle is perhaps lonely and isolating rather than freeing, then, even if he does end up staying with you and the marriage, he's always going to wonder what might have been.  And he's always going to look at his "freedom" as something that you tried to keep him from.  Therefore all of those frustrating feelings of being "stuck" are still probably going to be associated with you and your marriage.

Quite honestly, a good deal of husbands in this situation eventually end up figuring out that the trade-off for that freedom they want is a bitter loneliness and sense of loss for pushing away the one person who truly loves and knows them.  I can't guarantee you that this will always happen.  But, if you look at it rationally, you already have a husband who is determined to shed what he thinks is holding him back.  How is that going to change if he's not allowed a glimpse of exactly what he is risking for a chance at perceived happiness?

At the very least, I think (and know from experience) that it makes sense to at least play along for a little while and see where that leads you. (Playing along eventually got me my marriage back. I outline that here.)

Because I can tell you those very few husbands who insist that they aren't going to change their minds about not wanting the marriage actually end up changing it without a little intervention first.

I know all of this because it was my reality.  And like you are probably tempted to do, I made every effort to change my husband's mind about our marriage.  And he made every effort to stop me.  It wasn't until I pretended to play along (and loosened my grip) that I began to make some progress.  I was eventually able to build on this progress (a little at a time) and save our marriage.  If it helps, you can read more about how I was able to do this on my blog at

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