If I Pour My Heart Out To My Spouse, Will He Reconsider Divorcing Me?
I sometimes hear from people who are looking for the perfect words to say in order to finally get through to the spouse who wants a divorce. Often, they know that this conversation is going to be a last ditch effort, especially since they have had trouble getting through to their spouse in the past. But when you are facing a divorce that you really don’t want, it’s amazing how continuing to talk begins to look a lot better than the alternative.
A common comment in this situation is something like: “three weeks ago, my husband told me that he wanted a divorce. I wasn’t completely surprised. I knew that he hasn’t been happy. However, I’d hoped that he would show the commitment that we need to work through this. I have this type of commitment and determination, but apparently, he does not. I have tried to talk him out of this before, but I’m fully aware that my words were based on fear and desperation and that they were peppered with anger. In a sense, I’ve held back because I’m afraid of rejection. But now things have reached a point where I need to just speak from my heart. My question is does this ever work? If I really just release what is in my heart and say exactly how I feel can this change my husband’s mind about a divorce?”
Unfortunately, I can’t predict the future. Every situation is different. But what I can do is to tell you what I’ve found is more or less likely to work. I hear from a lot of folks on my blog and some common themes come through for people who have had success with this. I’ll discuss this more below.
Don’t Make Your Speech All About You: Frankly, it is just human nature to see how this situation relates to you. When you are driven by fear, you can’t help but think about how lonely you might be and how hurt you might feel that your husband is divorcing you. It’s very common for your heartfelt speech to include phrases like: “I’m going to miss you so much. ” Or “I don’t want to live without you.” Or “my life will be empty if we aren’t married.”
I realize that all of these things might be true and this may be exactly what you are feeling. But frankly, your spouse is likely thinking about just the opposite – how the divorce might affect him. And in his mind, as of right now, something is making him perceive that a divorce is going to make his situation better in some way. So to be brutally honest, he may well feel badly that you are hurting. And he may be sad to see the marriage ending as well. But, he’s probably already thought about all of these things. Just verbalizing them isn’t going to be the thing that is most likely to make a different. And this leads me to my next point.
Make Sure Any Heartfelt Speech Outlines What Is Going To Change And How This Is Going To Happen: Here is something that you really need to understand, even though so few people do. (I didn’t understand it at all when I was separated until it was almost too late.) People who want a divorce typically think that their marriage isn’t ever going to change. They’ve given up hope. They often believe that everything has already been tried. So when you come at them with more promises that they have already heard, they aren’t very likely to suddenly change their mind due to an argument that already hasn’t worked.
They are looking for a promise for action that sounds a little different from what you have already said. So, you are often better off if you very calmly and methodically outline what steps you are willing to take in order to make things different this time. It will often help if you say words that let him know that you know exactly what your problems are, you are take responsibility for your part in those problems, and you have a plan for addressing them.
There Comes A Point When It’s Time To Stop Talking And A Time To Take Action: I don’t mean to insinuate that words aren’t important because they can be extremely important. But a reluctant spouse who thinks that he wants a divorce is very often going to respond to actions much more favorably than he responds to words. As heartfelt as your words might be, he may meet them with doubt. He knows you very well. He has likely heard some variation of these promises before. And he knows that you are motivated to say whatever you need to say in order to change his mind.
That’s not to say that your words are inaccurate or that you don’t mean them. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try. But often, it’s just as important to follow up your words with decisive actions. Because if you make promises that you don’t keep, you’re going to have a very hard time convincing your husband to trust you again in the future.
As I alluded to, I tried talking endlessly during my own separation. But in the end, it was my actions that actually worked. You’re welcome to read the whole story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com