Last night, I received an email from a wife who wrote in part: “My husband left me last week. I feel that with work, we could save this marriage, but he doesn’t seem to feel the same way. I’m wondering if I should fight to get him back or if that would just be a waste of time or energy? I want to save this marriage, but I’m not sure how to play it. Should I agree with him or fight my way back in?” I’ll share with you the advice I gave her in the following article.
Why “Fighting For Your Marriage” Is Probably A Mislabeled Phrase: Before I offered this reader advice, I needed to find out more about what went wrong and how things were when everything was right. However, regardless of that, the fact that she kept using the phrase “fight to get him back” needed to be addressed first. This is a very common phrase which I hear being used a lot. But, its connotation and the context in which it’s used could have you using the wrong tactic here.
You do not want to add more fuel to the fire right now. If your husband has left, it’s often because he doesn’t think that things will really change and that this marriage has reached a point of no return. He may feel that it’s better to end things or at least pause things than to continue on with the negative way that things are going. But, by going into this with the attitude that you are going to need to “fight,” you run this risk of coming across in a negative or combative way that will likely do more harm than good.
This phrasing also gives a mental image of a couple that is going to have to brace themselves for a lot of undesirable hard work, in order to fight their way through to the other side. You don’t want to present this as an undesirable process. You want for him to want to work with you rather than thinking he’s going to “have to” or be forced into it.
Deciding If It’s Worth It To Try To Get Him Back Or Save The Marriage: I have to warn you that I’m a big proponent of postponing divorce until you leave no stone unturned. There are exceptions to this of course. If you’re being physically or mentally harmed in a relationship, then I would never advise you to stay. However, if things were fulfilling and happy and just went off track somewhere, then I would generally advise you to come up with a plan to sort this out and to change his negative perceptions into positive ones. That’s sometimes a process that doesn’t happen in only a few days. But, with gradual changes over time, I’ve seen countless marriages transform themselves to the point where both people are equally committed to moving forward.
And here’s a possible hint that you’re not entirely sure it’s over. You’re reading this article, aren’t you? People who are completely at peace with their marriage ending generally do not research this topic or read articles on it. Chances are if you are reading this article, you suspect that there are things that you have held back or not completely put on the table. You likely have mixed feelings or doubts. This can be a good indication that you know in your heart that the relationship is not over for you.
So what often stops people from putting their differences aside and saving the marriage? Pride. Misunderstandings. Miscommunication. Holding back from saying or doing what you really want to say or do. Refusing to give more than you are getting. The list goes on and on here. No one wants to put themselves out there to be vulnerable and to be rejected. No one wants to be the only one who is trying or the only one who still wants for this to work. But, sometimes you have to make the first move. Sometimes, you have to just go forward on faith – knowing that they will eventually join you as things begin to turn around and you begin to prove their doubts to be wrong.
Getting Started: How Do You Even Begin To Get Him Back?: You may well agree with most of what I’ve just said, but you don’t know how to even begin. Well, your biggest obstacle is changing perceptions. Use the break between you and make it work for you. Since you are not with him, he will often begin to evaluate the relationship and how his life is without you. When he does that, you want to give him recent actions and behaviors to take into account.
So, when you are interacting with him, focus on creating positive impressions. This doesn’t mean that you have to bow down or agree with everything that he says, but it does mean that you don’t want to argue or start a fight or leave him thinking that you’re combative and someone he would rather not be around.
In truth, you already have a road map as to the kind of person that he falls in love with. You already know what attracts him and intrigues him. Now that doesn’t mean that you should lay it on too thick or that you should be the only one who initiates contact. You really do need to let him take the lead sometimes and you need to move slowly. However, you should ensure that all of your dealings with him go well enough that he walks always thinking that maybe he misjudged this whole situation. And, hopefully you can see now that “fighting” your way toward this is probably not the best way to go about it.