At one time, you were in love with your spouse, and your spouse was in love with you. But right now, you might be so confused because your spouse is no longer in love with you. It feels like it came out of the blue. You want to know how to save your marriage, but you’re not sure what’s going on in your relationship right now.
They want out. Your spouse seems disconnected, disengaged; they might even be gone. And you’re thinking, “Is it possible? Can I get my spouse to come back? And how? How can I get someone to come back who doesn’t want to be here? How can I get someone to fall in love with me who doesn’t love me anymore? Is it possible?”And the answer is yes, it is possible.
Over the past 20 years, our Marriage Helper courses, workshops, and trainings have reached over 250,000 people. And we have seen marriage after marriage saved. For example, our workshops for marriages in crisis have over a 70% success rate. So, we know how to save marriages.
We believe that any marriage can be saved, and we believe that any person can be rescued. It’s all about knowing what to do and what not to do.
I will tell you the seven things you need to know to do and not to do to save your marriage and bring your spouse back, even if they want entirely out right now.
Here’s the thing, this stuff does work. We’ve seen it work with thousands and thousands of people. But it’s not a guarantee. I’m not going to be one of those people who says, “Buy this $47 program, and I guarantee your spouse is gonna come running back after you.” It’s not like that. We’re going to teach you these things for you to learn and implement.
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it is absolutely enough to get you on the right track today if you’re wondering how to save your marriage.
Number One: Don’t Give Up
When your spouse wants out, and you feel like there’s no hope for your marriage, it can be easy to want to give up. You can look at a friend’s marriage or your parent’s marriage and see how all of them ended in divorce.“So why should mine be any different? Maybe I should settle for the fact that my marriage is doomed, it’s over, and there’s nothing I can do.”
It can be so easy to give up, especially when you have friends, counselors, therapists, even pastors who might be telling you that there’s no hope for your marriage and it’s over.
Here’s the thing. Those people don’t know what we know at Marriage Helper, which is: your marriage can find healing. You don’t have to give up, especially not before giving it your all, giving it the last fighting chance. We believe there can be hope for your marriage, so don’t give up.
Number Two: Don’t Overreact Emotionally
When you’re in a situation where your spouse wants out and you want to save your marriage, a very natural reaction we have as humans is to try and get our spouse to stay. If someone we love is about to leave us, our natural response is to cling. So we do everything we can to try and convince them to stay, not to let them go out the door, figuratively or literally. And that’s something we have in us as children. Children often react this way when they realize what separation is from their mom or dad and how to interact with that.
While it works as kids and it’s ingrained in us to try and make sure that we feel safe, it doesn’t work as adults. When we start to cling, begin to beg, begin to plead, it can actually push the person away further.
Number Three: Don’t Be a Doormat
You also don’t want to let your spouse call all the shots right now. Don’t just concede to everything your spouse says because you’re scared of them getting mad. Even if they already want out, and you want to make them happy so that maybe they’ll end up coming back, remember that this is not the way to bring them back.
Be sure that you are being strong for yourself.
Don’t just become a doormat where you do everything your spouse says even if you disagree with it. If they want you to do something, maybe financially, or anything that you don’t feel comfortable with, you don’t have to do it.
There’s a way you can stand your ground and save your marriage without coming across as mean or rude. We call it being strong, calm, and gentle.
Number Four: Find a Support System
When you’re in this situation and you want to save your marriage, it can feel very lonely. Perhaps there’s no one to turn to because the people turned to said, “You’re crazy for wanting to stay in a situation like this.” Or maybe the people you talked to about it have been judgmental, or perhaps you’re just embarrassed. All of that is entirely understandable.
It’s crucial that you find a strong support system during this time. At Marriage Helper, if you contact us, we can guide you to some excellent resources to support you. We would love to provide that support for you because it is essential during this time.
Number Five: Work on Yourself
Your spouse “wants out.” Maybe it’s an affair. Perhaps they’re not happy anymore; maybe there’s been just a lot of negative things that have happened in your marriage, a lot of fights or things left unresolved that ended up pushing them out the door. Whatever that might be, this is an excellent time for you to take advantage of working on yourself.
Working on you:
At Marriage Helper, we call it the PIES. I go much more in-depth on the PIES.
Being the “Better.”
At Marriage Helper, we have a saying:“People don’t leave what they have unless they believe what they’re going to is better.”Now that’s not to say that it’s necessarily true. It could be that your spouse is leaving to be alone. Maybe they’re not going to another person. But the principle is, there’s something that’s drawing them away. And it might not be something that you have done, but you do get the opportunity to become the “better.” So ultimately, you want to be a “better” person when your spouse wants to come home.
Then, they will want to leave whatever they have “out there” and come back to you–because you are the “better!”
Number Six: Find Freedom Through Forgiveness
You may not feel like forgiving, and I completely understand. There are probably things your spouse has said or done that hurt you immensely during this time. But if you continue to hold grudges or continue to let these things harbor anger within you, then it’s going to change:
The way you feel about your marriage.
How you feel about your spouse.
The way you interact with your spouse (which could ultimately push them away).
Forgiveness is not an Approval of Actions.
Forgive for you. You’re not forgiving because you’re saying that you’re in agreement or approve of anything your spouse is doing, but forgive because it frees you.
Number Seven: Create A Better Environment
Lastly, if you’ve been doing any of them, you want to stop doing things that are destroying love in your marriage during this time.
If you’ve been controlling in the past
You’ve been someone who just constantly nags
If you’ve been someone who tells your spouse they need to change something about themselves before you love them (whether you said that in your words or just in your actions)
These actions don’t harbor love. That is, it’s not an environment where love can grow and prosper.
You’re working on yourself and becoming a better spouse during this time. So work on becoming a better wife and husband right now. Because then, when your spouse does come back, it makes the process of putting your marriage back together so much easier. I cannot emphasize this enough.
You Can Learn To Fall In Love Again. It’s Absolutely Possible.
We’ve seen marriages in situations that have been at the end, where everyone believed they would (or should) divorce, that they shouldn’t be together. We’ve seen those marriages saved. But it’s a process–and the seven things I’ve shared with you are the first part of that process.
You don’t need to worry about how you’re going to reconcile right now or anything like that.
The first thing, the only thing that you need to be focusing on right now, is what you can do to “soften” you. To soften your situation, soften your outlook on your marriage, strengthen your resolve, and work on yourself.
Then, when your spouse starts coming back around, we’ll go to that next step. We’ll start talking about, “How do you reconcile? How do you do that part?” But that’s not where you are right now.
Focus on where you are now, get the work done that you need to get done in you and your interactions, forgive your spouse, and move forward.