“Gillian, my husband thinks he wants a divorce!” I get emails that begin this way on a weekly basis. It’s always very difficult to read the words of a woman who is holding onto the threads of a marriage that is coming apart at the seams. Hearing your husband express his desire to end the marriage is obviously devastating. Suddenly, the life that you’ve been living becomes questionable and you have no idea what the future will hold for you. Before you decide to give in to his desire to end the marriage, there are some things that you absolutely must consider.
Before you jump to the foregone conclusion that your husband doesn’t love you anymore, consider when he expressed his desire to divorce. There is a fundamental difference between a man who shouts out in frustration that he wants a divorce compared to a man who says it when the relationships seems calm and quiet. During an argument, emotions can become very heated and a man can search for a way to cause his wife to feel pain. Bringing up the subject of divorce is a guaranteed way to do just that. That’s why you must be fully aware of what caused him to say it. Don’t put too much stock in his words if they really were a reaction to a disagreement.
If your husband has given this notion some thought and he’s expressed his desire to end the marriage in a succinct and calm way, then, yes, you do have reason to be very concerned. Anytime a man puts careful consideration into what he’s feeling, that shows that it’s something that he cares deeply for. Divorce can feel like the best option to a man who is emotionally disconnected from his spouse or a man who feels that there is nothing left to give within the marriage.
What Should You Do If Your Husband Thinks He Wants a Divorce?
Ignoring your husband’s desire to separate or divorce will not change the problem at hand. Arguing over the issue will do more harm than good. You can’t bully or guilt him into staying with you by bringing up what the collapse of the marriage will do to the children. He has already thought that through. You must work with him to find a solution that will give you more time to work on the relationship.
Separation may feel like the beginning of the end of your marriage, but it’s important to see it as a positive when the other option is filing for divorce. If your husband suggests the end of dissolving the marriage right now, ask him to consider a separation. This will allow you both time to think about the future of the marriage and it will also grant you the opportunity to work on changing his mind and getting him to feel close to you again.
I want you to look at your husband’s desire to divorce as a wake up call for your sleeping marriage. To this point you both may have been taking each other for granted. Now is the time to face the demons that exist in your relationship and work as a united pair to resolve them.
It may take more work on your part for now, but view it as an investment in your family’s future. Many couples come back from the brink of divorce to have fulfilling, deeply connected marriages. You can have that as well.
My own marriage suffered through a very difficult period. You can read more about my personal experience with how I got my husband to love me more here.