What to Do If Your Spouse Wants a Divorce (And You Don’t)

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Have you tried everything you can to save your marriage? Has your spouse had it? Have they gone so far as to serve you divorce papers?

Feelings of pain, guilt, and sorrow are normal. You may be wondering how you’re going to face the world with a sudden loss of companionship and familiarity. Yet what do you do when your spouse is ready to call it quits and you want to keep trying?

Here’s what to do when you aren’t ready for a divorce.

1. Resist the Urge to Beg

The threat of losing a spouse can make you feel like the floor is getting ripped out from underneath you. It can be tempting to express your hurts and fears and beg your spouse to stay.

Your pleading and coaxing, however, won’t do you any good in the long run. If your spouse does decide to stay, it will be as someone who was coerced rather than a partner eager to get their marriage working well again. And you will end up resenting each other.

Instead of giving full vent to your woes, express that you don’t want a divorce in a firm, positive manner.

If, for example, your husband wants a divorce, let him know in a pleasant, calm way that you’re sorry that he’s going, and you hope you can find a way to make your union work. This way, it will be clear that the divorce is not your decision, but you won’t come across as desperate or needy.

2. Focus on Yourself

It’s tempting to let yourself go during times of emotional upheaval. If you’re feeling worn and hopeless on the inside, it won’t be long until you begin to show it on the outside.

You’ll be surprised, however, at how much of a difference changes in your appearance can make in your sense of self-worth.

Find an exercise routine that makes you feel empowered. Invest in regular blow-outs at an inexpensive salon. Find some outfits that make you look and feel your best.

Take the time each day to relax and recharge. You may, for example, find yourself taking a long bath or relaxing with a hot cup of tea each evening. If you’ve got children, self-care is critical to staying rested and strong so you can focus on their needs.

If you don’t have a close circle of friends that supports you no matter what happens, now is a great time to reach out. Find a local community group or house of worship that offers activities for other folks your age. Once you begin socializing and laughing regularly, you may find the pain of your marriage troubles begin to subside.

New hobbies and career goals can also give you something to get excited about. Look to absorb yourself in activities that will keep you stimulated no matter what happens in your love life.

Once you begin to take your mind off your marriage, you may find your feelings of helplessness and longing begin to dissipate. It will clear your mind and allow you to approach your situation with confidence and rationality.

3. Decide What Needs to Change

As much as you may be feeling the pain of a marriage that’s no longer intact, there’s nothing to be gained from re-living the same old destructive patterns with your spouse.

If you want to rebuild your marriage, start by deciding what needs to get done differently. If your spouse made disparaging comments, for instance, make sure you can give examples and explain how these hurt you.

If your spouse was little help with the children, explain how this made you feel alone and overburdened. You won’t want to continue destructive patterns if your spouse decides to stay. These could only lead to another trip out the door for one or both of you.

4. Own Your Part

No one is ever blameless in a marriage that isn’t thriving. Before you rehearse your problems in divorce court, think about the behaviors that you could change. 

You may, for example, have leveled unfair criticisms at your spouse when you were angry or stressed. Make sure your spouse knows that you’re willing to work on your own flaws. Your example could be the inspiration they need to begin making their own changes.

5. Get Positive

Sometimes, negative patterns of thinking about yourself and your spouse can lead to a downward spiral in your marriage. Before you give it another try, consider how staying positive no matter what can help you build each other up.

There are lots of resources that can help you understand your own patterns and be a better spouse. Find self-help books that speak to you, or listen to podcasts on the way to work.

Marriage counseling is less expensive and life-changing than divorce. Find a good therapist who can help you resolve your conflicts and help you see the best in each other. 

Find a group of friends you can rely on for support even during the good times. And keep consulting resources that help you resolve negative patterns. Keep your favorite book by your bed, for example, and consult it the next time you’re hurt and tempted to confront your spouse in a critical way.

Being grateful for what you have in your current situation is the best way to keep your attitude positive. Make a list of all the things you can be thankful for, and build on your advantages.

When Your Spouse Wants a Divorce

It’s never easy to hear that your spouse is ready for divorce, especially if you still want to make your marriage work. However, with the right attitude and support, you can rebuild your lives together and have a strong relationship for years to come!

For more lifestyle advice, read our blog today.

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