There are few worse feelings than being served with divorce papers when you want to save your marriage. It's absolutely normal to feel panicked and beaten. But, it's important to understand that it doesn't have to be "the end." Many marriages reconcile before the divorce is final. It's not an impossible task, no matter how it may feel right now. I'm living proof of that. In the following article, I'll offer advice and tips that may help you in the coming days.

You Can't Ignore What Is Happening, But You Can't Panic Either: Women email me once they've been served with divorce papers and tell me that they intend to just ignore the papers or refuse to be served. I'm certainly not an attorney, but I can tell you that this isn't a good idea. You don't know what the future holds, and you must protect your interests. You can still respond and take care of yourself while not giving up or giving in. Divorce often takes months to become final, so there is no need to panic or engage in aggressive, combative, or panicked behaviors that are going to push your husband further away.

Some women will outright tell their husbands that they refuse to accept a divorce or that they are going to "fight them all the way." This may seem like the thing to do, but it isn't going to help your cause. It's only going to make your husband look at you in an even more negative light. Your best bet is to make your husband think that you are on his side or at least are not going to block him every step of the way.

The truth is that in order to save your marriage, you are going to need access to your husband in which you can engage in positive things and positive emotions. You aren't going to get this if you take an opposing stance. So, even though only you know your true intentions, it's important that the person you show your attorney (or yourself) and the person you show your husband needs to be an entirely different individual. You want your husband to eventually think that he's made a mistake in leaving the positive, cooperative, fun person in front of him. Always remember this when you interact with him.

Changing Course In The Face Of The Divorce: Getting Through To Your Husband When He's Closed Himself Off: Often, once the papers have been served, the husband will either want to move out or distance himself from you (unless the divorce papers are a rouse to get your attention.) So, it can be a hard task to get access to him. In order to do this, you'll need to disarm him in a sense and this typically requires that you come at this from another angle.

At a time when you are both calm and rational, tell your husband that you understand and accept that he has filed for divorce. Reiterate that you would like to save the marriage, but you realize that this would take both of you being in agreement and would require some major changes. But, tell him that what you can control is how you interact in the days to come and, on your end, you are only going to participate in behaviors that contribute to positive rather than negative things. Tell him that this relationship is too important to you to allow it to end badly. Explain that if the two of you part as friends, that's enough for you, but you can't allow someone who was such an important part of your life to walk away thinking of you negatively.

Now, you and I both know that you really aren't fine with this ending on friendly terms, as you don't want it to end at all. But, your husband needs to know that when he interacts with you, he isn't going to be met with hostility, arguments, begging, or debates. Because if he thinks this, he's just going to avoid you. ( I know this because my husband avoided me.  More on that here.)

Making The Most Of Your Interactions With Your Husband And Changing His Perceptions Of You: Always remember what first attracted your husband to you. Make sure you put these attributes on full display when you interact. It's very likely that it was an upbeat, positive, and light-hearted person who first caught your husband's eye. So, as hard as it may be right now, you have to remain positive. You have to display yourself as someone who loves her husband, but who is coping in a positive way because she loves and respects herself enough to do so.

Use this time for yourself and engage in activities that make you fulfilled. See friends. Focus on your appearance. Get out there. Make sure your husband knows that you are dealing with this in a positive way and you aren't sitting at home eating leftovers and watching reruns. Men are attracted to strong, self-sufficient, and positive women. Make sure that this is what you are portraying. Not only will it make you feel better, but your husband will wonder what is going on and will want to see for himself.

At the end of the day, your goal is really to change your husband's perception of you from negative to positive. This often takes time and small baby steps. The goal is to create positive interactions that build upon one another until the nature of your relationship begins to change. Always let your husband take the initiative and don't push for more or ask where this is going - these are all negative behaviors that will only intensify his wishes for a divorce.

Now, I'm not asking you to push down your own needs or concerns. Certainly, you will need to work through issues and you have needs and requirements too, but the deep discussions can wait until you're back on solid ground.

How do I know all this? Because I have lived in a situation that was very similar.  And I made catastrophic mistakes. Eventually, though, I was able to reestablish intimacy and prevent the divorce, even though I was the only one who wanted to at the time. You can read that story on my blog at

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