How to Communicate With the Spouse Who Wants a Divorce When You Don’t Want to Split Up

I very often get emails from spouses (most often wives) that want to know how to talk with or express their feelings to their spouse whose mind seems to be completely made up about divorcing. The spouse who wants to save the marriage is often quite frustrated because he or she feels that she could sing and dance and / or do somersaults and none of it really matters. The opposing spouse is not listening. Their mind is made up. The situation feels quite desolate because a divorce seems so life changing and final. The committed spouse is searching for the right words or attitude that is going to make their spouse sit up and take notice and they hope that all of this will help them to avoid a divorce.

I know this first hand because I lived this situation during the time period that was among the worst in my life. Since I’ve begun to share my experiences, I’ve learned that there are some strategies that most definitely work better than others. In the following article, I will offer my observations on which communication strategies get more positive results and which often just don’t work.

Remain Calm, Logical, And Approachable: First off, it’s nearly every one’s inclination to bring forth the dramatic actions and the phrases that are perceived to get the most immediate response. However, although the dramatic might feel right or necessary, it often will only bring you further away from what you want. Think about it. How well do you yourself respond to someone who is reeling, out of control, and acting like someone who is not themselves? This often reads as desperate and unattractive.

Instead, you will often have much better results if you do your very best to only interact and communicate with them when you can be your strongest, most rational, and attractive self. You want for them to know that they aren’t going to get a negative reaction and therefore don’t need to avoid you. There’s nothing wrong with your disagreeing, as long as you express yourself in a way that makes it feel safe, conciliatory, and positive as the dialog is taking place.

What you’re attempting to establish is open and unguarded communication in which you both feel free to say what you really feel without the fear that you’re going to be judged for it or will suffer negative repercussions. This spirit will make the compromise and give and take that is necessary to work this out much more likely.

Don’t Try To Do Too Much. Settle For Baby Steps And Don’t Push: It’s usually unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to talk your reluctant spouse into committing to thinking that your marriage has no problems or is blissful when you both know that this isn’t true. You may need to settle, at least at first, with just lessening the tension and improving the vibe between you. It may be necessary to consider just buying some time a success in the early stages of this process. Don’t push for too much of a commitment. Settle for just little improvements along the way.

If you push too hard, your spouse might retreat and then once this happens it may be ever harder for you to gain ground as they pull away and retreat even more. They’re also much more likely to listen even less once you push too much. It is so much better to move too slowly than to attempt to move too fast.

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Don’t Try To Fix Issues That Are Too Big For Where Your Marriage Is Right Now: Many people will assume that if they can just fix the huge and big issues that are standing in their way, then everything will eventually be OK. The problem with this is that if your spouse is pulling away or isn’t connected to you, the marriage, and the process, fixing these issues is going to be next to impossible anyway. And that’s just one more demand that you are making when you are already on very shaky ground.

You are much better off trying to slowly reestablish the connection and the commitment before you even begin to delve into deeper waters. Once this happens, navigating your problems are going to be so much easier anyway.

Create The Perception Of Strength And Scarcity: You always want to be aware of how you’re being perceived. And you do not want to be perceived as someone who can not live or survive without someone else. This is just not attractive. You want to always conduct yourself with strength, dignity, and respect. And if you’re not at the point where you can do this, wait until you can. Also, you have to remember that something that is perceived as somewhat scarce is perceived to be much more valuable. What I mean by this is that you should not always be available and agreeable to any and everything.

Make sure your spouse knows that you have other people with whom you can’t spend time (I mean friends, of course.) Display yourself as someone who is busy, capable, and coping. When you are able to do this, you will most often find that he will be much more receptive to you than he would’ve been if you were coming at him from a position of weakness rather than from a position of strength.

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