So, you need to quickly change your wife's mind about divorce...
Statistics show that nearly 2/3 of divorces in America are initiated and filed by women. Once deeming their marriage beyond repair, women quietly shift focus to departure strategies, while attempting to bolster financial and emotional resources. When the timing is right, women throw down the gauntlet by informing their husbands that the marriage is over.
This announcement inevitably triggers astonishment and stress, as husbands gain quick understanding of the magnitude of their wives’ unhappiness. At this point, husbands seem to gain temporary access to both 20-20 and hindsight vision, allowing them to fully understand, appreciate, and value their wife. Amongst panic, fear, and uncertainty, some husbands will try to save the marriage via a journey of personal transformation and priority shifting.
Some wives will deem this last ditch effort as “too little, too late”, while others may be more open-minded. If you happen to be a husband in this scenario, please use these potential courses of action to assist you in changing your wife’s mind.
Can wives change their minds about divorce? What if they have already filed?
Divorce is a complex, emotionally and financially costly, and arduous process not to be taken lightly. Divorce proceedings are complicated and time consuming, as individuals need to determine where to file for divorce, eligibility requirements, mediation protocols, and settlement agreements.
The sheer length of the process affords individuals with ample opportunity to halt proceedings if they should experience a change of heart. An individual is at liberty to change their mind at any time by either withdrawing their petition, or by asking the court for a dismissal.
What to say to a wife who wants a divorce
If your wife desires a divorce, it is likely that she has been unhappy and considering potential options for quite some time. It is probable that she no longer trusts in you or your relationship and has lost faith in the possibility of reconciliation or marital improvement. If you are committed to changing your wife’s mind, you must first understand her reasoning for considering divorce.
Perhaps she is feeling neglected, unloved, or as a distant priority amongst perceived bigger concerns. She might feel unheard, invalidated, or as if emotional and physical needs are being neglected. Whatever her reasoning, you need to listen with an open heart and without interruption.
You need to earnestly commit to making improvements in yourself and to the relationship. Your wife needs to believe that you are genuine in your resolve to enhance and repair the marriage.
How to make her reconsider divorce
A spouse should refrain from making any hasty or impulsive decisions, while being confident and fully sure that they want to move forward with proceedings. An individual has multiple opportunities to reconsider their actions during the many phases of the divorce process, thus representing a distinct window of opportunity for persuasive discussions.
Your wife needs to be reconnected with positive memories from the past to remind her about why she fell in love with you in the first place. Concurrently, it would benefit you to make individual changes and improvements to validate her concerns and to address original reasons why she is upset. If you want to generate a persuasive and compelling argument to convince your wife to reassess her options, please consider the following tips.
Tip #1 Concede that you have hurt her
Your wife is distant, closed off, and harboring a broken heart. At some point along the way, whether you were aware of it or not, you deeply hurt her. Cracks may have developed slowly over time, or her entire heart could have shattered in an instant. Perhaps you listened, but did not truly hear. Maybe you were inattentive to her requests, or too distracted to notice.
Perchance, you put her at the bottom of a long priority list, as she became a distant last to career, finances, or your own needs. Or quite possibly, you simply took her for granted. Hurt is often masked as anger, resentment, or revenge, but can also masquerade as indifference or apathy.
Over time, hurt can morph into depression, anxiety, or grief. However the hurt occurred and whatever its intensity, your wife is going to guard her heart with ferocity to avoid irreparable damage. Despite reflexive reactions to defend yourself, argue, or question the validity of her claims, you must concede that you have hurt her.
Do not attempt to compete or match hurt against hurt, but instead admit that you have intentionally or unintentionally hurt the woman that you married. It will be important to humbly admit this fact to both your wife and to your own conscience.
Tip#2 Express regret
Once you acknowledge the depths of your wife’s wounds, it will be important to express regret in the role that you have played. An honest, heartfelt apology can go a long way in mending a broken heart.
It takes courage to make yourself emotionally vulnerable, to take responsibility for your actions, and to admit your wrongdoings. Be prepared to apologize many times until your wife is able to accept your apologies, or to forgive you.
Tip #3 Enhance communication
Once you have shown remorse and expressed regret, your wife should be given an opportunity to speak openly about her feelings, experiences, and disappointments. Allow your wife to talk, cry, scream, or vent and tolerate repetition until she feels completely heard.
Practice reflective listening by understanding what your wife is saying and then repeating it back to verify that you have understood correctly. Validate her feelings by identifying and acknowledging their importance. Show genuine interest in what your wife has to say and ask questions to clarify.
Maintain open body language and consistent eye contact to show that you are attentive, interested, and paying attention. Make certain that you are not distracted by technology or electronics while she is speaking to ensure that your sole focus is on her. Respectfully express viewpoints with “I-statements” instead of “You” statements to articulate thoughts and feelings.
Finally, unless you have a crystal ball, do not assume that you know what your partner is thinking and feeling. Instead, verify your suspicions by asking your partner for feedback.
Tip #4 Learn new mechanisms of coping
It is probable that you failed to cope with marital discord in a healthy manner. Perhaps you retreated and avoided difficult conversations, or maybe you disregarded and internalized your feelings. Maybe denial became your main defense mechanism, or maybe you avoided responsibility by blaming others. Perhaps you turned to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and numb your feelings.
It is important to abandon unhealthy coping mechanisms and equip yourself with healthy coping skills. Openly talking about feelings and concerns with trusted individuals or professional counselors is more productive than isolating and bottling up feelings. Releasing anger or anxiety through exercise, yoga, or journaling is preferable to aggression and fighting.
It is recommended to walk away and take a break if conversations become overpowering or heated. Fill your tool box with a multitude of positive coping skills so that you have various ones to choose from in any given situation.
Tip #5 Actions speak louder than words
Actions always speak louder than words. An individual can say the right things, or make promises with no true intent to follow through. Actions are more meaningful, as it takes motivation, effort, and follow through to execute a promise. It is likely that your wife’s hurt deepened when your actions did not match your words.
Perhaps you frequently verbalized that you loved her, but your actions did not match your sentiment. Maybe you promised that you were going to help more around the house, or take care of her in the way that she deserved, only to have disappointed her when nothing changed. Over time, your wife probably dismissed your promises and ignored your words, as she knew that they would not be accompanied by action.
History has rendered your words and promises as useless and thus, you must rely on action. Instead of verbalizing that you love your wife, show her through action. Buy her flowers, take her car to be serviced by the mechanic, or play her favorite board game with her. It is imperative that you are consistent and execute all promises to rebuild trust in your word.
Tip #6 Focus and prioritize your wife
Maybe your focus never left your wife, but perhaps the lens was blurred. Or possibly, you lost all focus when your wife temporarily fell out of your line of vision. Focus needs to be sharpened and magnified to show your wife that she is the priority. Often, couples fall into comfortable, predictable routines where they take each other for granted.
Things are expected without gratitude, acknowledgement, or appreciation, leading individuals to feel foolish and taken advantage of. Alter this cycle by recognizing your wife’s past and present efforts with sincere gratitude and appreciation. Make your wife a priority over other responsibilities and consider how your life would be irreversibly changed if she were not in it. If you do not like what that life looks like, treat your wife as if nothing matters more.
Tip #7 Transform yourself
A relationship is a two way street and always influenced and impacted by both parties. Although we never have control over others, we always maintain complete control over ourselves. If your wife is unhappy with what you have become, or what you haven’t become, it is completely within your control to transform yourself.
Standing on the precipice of divorce can be a highly impactful, life-changing moment. If you are unhappy with where you have been and what you have become, it is up to you to change it. Evolve into the man you aspire to be. If you do not possess self-love, you cannot expect another to love you. You will attract the love and respect of others when you love and respect yourself.
Make a commitment to improve yourself to someone that your wife can be proud of again. If you are unhappy with your career or finances, make changes and bold moves to improve it. If you are discontented with your appearance and health, join a gym and change your eating habits. If you wish that you were more social, join a sports team, club, or activity. If you regret never learning how to play an instrument, sign yourself up for music lessons. If you are interested in art, take an art class.
If your wife perceives you to be unmotivated and lazy, take initiative and make it a point to improve your motivation. If your wife feels that you aren’t spontaneous enough, whisk her away for a romantic weekend. You will only make progress towards changing your wife’s mind if you have confidence in yourself and what you have to offer.
What to do if she keeps changing her mind about divorce
Despite all of your commitment and effort, your wife may be unable to make a definitive decision and vacillate between divorce and re-commitment to your marriage. Her wild fluctuations may lead you to a place of frustration, helplessness, and despair. Although your wife deserves the time and space to make the best decision for her, it is unfair if she holds you in limbo.
Some degree of confusion and uncertainty is expected, but becomes unwarranted if it extends for too long a period of time. As both poles of her decision will leave you on very different life paths, it is wrong of her to leave you in an extended holding pattern. If this is the case, understand that you may have to take matters into your own hands by making a decision yourself.
You will need to decide whether it is worth it to hinge the rest of your life on her decision, or be ready to move forward alone. If this becomes the case, take solace in the fact that you have undergone a transformative journey, strengthened and improved yourself, and are equipped with many positive and healthy coping skills for the future.