Unfortunately, divorce is extremely common. In the United States, around 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, according to the American Psychological Association. If your wife has told you she wants a divorce, you may be feeling a range of emotions, such as anger, confusion, shock and sadness. If you don't want a divorce, you need to act quickly to save your marriage.
Change Yourself for the Better
Making positive changes to improve your relationship may show your wife that the marriage is worth saving. Resist the temptation to beg your wife to stay, advises licensed professional counselor Kim Bowen in the article, "When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce and You Don't" for the "Power of Two Counseling Center." It may be difficult to change long-term behavioral patterns, but if you want to turns things around at this late stage, you need to take action -- and fast. Stop doing the things that have pushed your wife away. Whether you are hypercritical, aggressive, uncaring or selfish, stop being so now. Ask you wife why she feels that divorce is the only option -- and listen carefully to her answer. For now, forget about the role your wife may have played in the breakdown of your marriage -- for marital breakdown is rarely the result of only one person's actions -- and concentrate on avoiding divorce.
Talk It Out
Whether your wife has previously tried to talk to you about the marital issues between you two or if she has suddenly announced that she is thinking of divorce, now is the time to have an in-depth conversation. Ask your wife why she feels that divorce is the only option. If her reasons are about you or your behavior, tell her that her happiness is your priority and that you are prepared to work on yourself to save the marriage, advises psychologist Jack Ito in the article, "How to Prevent Your Husband from Divorcing or Separating and Save Your Marriage," for Relationship-Coach.org." Try to work on your issues, because you cannot do anything about her issues.
Professional help may help you address the issues that have lead to the breakdown of your marriage and to help find the skills that will enable you to help create a stronger, healthier, happier marriage. If your wife is willing to consider couples counseling, look for a professional with the right expertise and qualifications, advises psychologist Susan Heitler in the article, "7 Strong Steps to Stop a Divorce," for "Psychology Today." Sometimes, painful emotions, past hurts and baggage from previous relationships can make it difficult to work out the issues get a marriage back on track. A counselor will help you create an actionable plan for you two to work through.
Let Her Go
If your wife is willing to stop -- or at least postpone -- divorce proceedings, it may be necessary to agree to a temporary separation. Although it may be more difficult to save the marriage when you two are living in separate houses, time apart may be a positive step, as it provides a cooling-off period and the opportunity to view the relationship and past events in an objective way. A separation may give you a clearer view of the unhealthy elements of your marriage, suggests the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center in the article, "Can a Marriage Survive a Separation?"
- Power of Two Counseling Center: When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce and You Don't
- Relationship-Coach.org: How to Prevent Your Husband from Divorcing or Separating and Save Your Marriage
- Psychology Today: 7 Strong Steps to Stop a Divorce
- TwoOfUs.org: Can a Marriage Survive a Separation?
- American Psychological Association: Marriage and Divorce