Love as an Action – Through a Divorce You Don’t Want
Breaking down these barriers that have been built by resentment is absolutely necessary to save a marriage. It also leaves you open and vulnerable. If he wants a divorce, but you don’t… the work begins with your hands. Learn from our panel of expert contributors how to turn this beautiful mess into a beautiful marriage.
Life is a Highway
Divorce is a two way street and Marriage is a one way highway, where a married couple is going in the same direction. As two become one when you take your vows it is a commitment to honor and respect one another. When one person decides they want to be on the two way street, this becomes very dangerous, since it is meant to be a one way highway. Many people think the two way street is more exciting, but wisdom will say keep on your path, even if it means letting go.
— P H Jones, Author, P H Jones Ink
Traveling the One Way Highway Alone
So your husband announces he wants a divorce. You are shocked and had no idea he was unhappy. What do you do?
First, do NOT have an emotional breakdown in front of him. That is for your girlfriends. Most men who announce divorce have been thinking about it for a long time. If you cry and scream, it will only confirm his desire to leave. After he makes the announcement, just walk away to compose yourself. When you are calm, ask him to sit down and explain his reasons.
DON’T ARGUE! Once again, walk away and think about it. Later, tell him, firmly but quietly, that you do not want a divorce. Then ask him to go to marriage counseling as a favor to you and the children. Point out that many people rush to divorce, only to regret it later, so counseling can help him decide if it is really the best decision.
— Lynn Armendariz, President, La Frontera: Life on the Border
Now ladies… our next contributor has provided us with some advice from a male perspective for situations when he wants a divorce but you don’t. And while sex is a sensitive topic, intimacy is often one of the first things to suffer in a damaged relationship. That being said, try reading this next bit of advice with a “fake it ‘till you make it” kind of perspective. This is where your hands and heart get the dirtiest, because love is no longer a feeling, it is an action. And since he wants to divorce and you do not, the actions must start with you.
Learn the Language of Romance
Many women have mixed feelings about sex. Try getting comfortable with your sexuality and provide your husband sex lovingly, willingly and present yourself in a manner you know appeals to him.
Provide your husband with a “safe harbor” where he knows he has a friend to talk to about anything without being verbally punished. Yelling is counter-productive. Never ever yell at him, because inside there is a little boy whose feelings are crushed.
Use collaborative problem solving techniques instead of fighting. Try asking open ended questions like, “In what way can we resolve this?” These simple techniques will do much to reassure him that you are willing to make an effort and that you want the marriage to work.
— John Wilder, Marriage Coach, Marriagecoach1
For more advice for coping when he wants a divorce but you don’t, please see our library of Divorce articles.