Your spouse has filed for divorce. You’re upset, confused, and maybe you had no idea this was coming. What do you do next? No matter how much you invest, work on, and improve your marriage, no marriage is ever going to be perfect. What makes the difference is acknowledging when you mess up, realizing how you could have done it better, and fixing it going forward.
Small Fights Lead to Big Changes
It’s daily occurrences that happen in our marriage. Those things that start happening day after day lead to bigger things. From separation, to fights that never end, to talks about divorce, to filing for divorce.
It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s something that occurs after a period of the same type of interactions, the same kind of disrespect, the same kind of fights, the same kind of choosing not to listen to each other. You understand; you get it. However, many times, when our spouse files for divorce, we react to serve our own interests.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
When my spouse reacts, I used to react back. I wasn’t proactive, I didn’t stop myself and think about a better way to handle it. I was utterly reacting from my own emotions happening at that time.
Many times, when our spouse files for divorce, we react from our emotions. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be hurt or that you shouldn’t cry about it. All those things are natural reactions, and they’re going to happen.
However, when a spouse files for divorce, what happens most of the time is that in the next day, week, month, or many months that follow that occurrence, we react. We react to everything that comes across our plate. Everything that they say to us, every interaction we have with the spouse that filed for divorce. We respond to them from that point forward, telling them how hurt we are by what they’ve done, not knowing how to manage our emotions.
So we end up trying to punish them, make them feel guilty, and give them a taste of their own medicine for what they have done. What we’re doing is we’re living in the past. We’re living in the fact that they filed for divorce, and we’re not proactive in seeing forward into the future.
However, that was just an instance. That was an event that occurred a week ago or a month ago, but there’s hope for the future. If my spouse filed for divorce, it doesn’t have to end that way because there’s hope. I’m going to choose to start thinking about things differently. I’m not going to choose to focus on that being my final destiny.
Change Your Thinking
I’m going to choose to think differently. Our thoughts determine our actions. If I choose to see my husband as mean or selfish, or evil, then the way I treat him will be based on that.
We have the power to think differently, change our minds, and see things differently for our future. What do I mean by that? You might be thinking, “they filed for divorce; what am I supposed to see as a light at the end of this tunnel?” Here’s the thing: people file for divorce all the time.
Furthermore, just because a person files for divorce doesn’t mean that the divorce will go through. What’s going to make the difference is how you handle it during this time.
If you continue to make your spouse feel guilty, always bring up the past to your spouse, try and give them a taste of their own medicine, then it’s only going to prove to your spouse that they’ve made the right decision.
What you want to do is to change their mind. You probably need to change your mind. So quick tip number one for what to do when your spouse files for divorce is: don’t react in the moment.
In the following days, months, weeks, you can control how you react to your spouse. We have more videos that talk about that on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe and look for those videos about SMART Contact. How do I handle it when my spouse has separated from me? Look up SMART Contact. We talk more about how we can do that in some other videos, and we also have a SMART Contact Toolkit course if you really want to dive into the topic.
Work On Yourself
As your spouse has filed for divorce during this time, maybe you’re separated either physically or relationally, and you’re thinking, what can I do?
All you’re doing is worrying about the future, and we already know that’s not what you want to do. What you want to do is focus on how you can change the future and make it better, and here’s the truth of the matter: you can’t control your spouse. You can’t force your spouse to change; can’t force them to tear up the divorce papers. You can’t force them to fall back in love with you, but there’s one thing you can control—YOU.
No matter what happened that led you to this point where you are now, that’s not what we’re going to focus on because you can always work on yourself. You can always work on making yourself the best version of yourself that you can be. And at Marriage Helper, we call that the PIES of Attraction: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Those four things are what make up attraction.
Attraction is how we first fell in love with our spouse back when we were dating. Maybe we were attracted to them physically and intellectually. We were attracted to them because we could talk about things, we had similar interests, and we enjoyed having a conversation with them emotionally. We liked the way that they made us feel.
When you focus on becoming your best self in each of those four areas, you are doing the best thing for yourself. No matter what happens in the future of your marriage, you’re becoming the best you can be physically. You’re growing your mind and expanding intellectually. You’re becoming an emotionally safe place that people like to be around; evoking emotions and other people that they enjoy feeling, and spiritually, you’re becoming the kind of person that does what you say.
You’re becoming a person of integrity. You have high character, and people are drawn to that. So when you work on these things, you do it first of all for yourself.
Find A Good Support System
You can go to your parents, sister, brother, best friends, pastors, to the people who hate to see you hurting.
They’re probably going to tell you to move on. While we don’t want you to hurt at Marriage Helper, we also know that there is hope for your marriage. No matter what situation your marriage has gone through and how desperate, dire, crazy, or hopeless it may seem.
You’re not going to tell us anything at Marriage Helper that we haven’t heard. I promise you that. However, you have to find the right support system because you will give up hope if you are listening to the wrong people.
We offer some solutions, recommendations, and communities that you can be a part of to give you that support system that will guide you in the proper steps. That will encourage you when you need encouragement. That will cry with you when you need to cry, and that will celebrate with you when you have terrific victories that come in your marriage.
We have an online course called the Save My Marriage Course, a fantastic community for people just like you, who want to make their marriage work, but their spouse has been completely disengaged. And we see amazing things happen in the people who go through that course and are a part of that community everyday. If you want to talk with someone about what would be best to do in your situation, you can schedule a strategy call with one of our client representatives here.
There is hope, and we want to help you every step of the way.