I sometimes hear from wives who are well aware that their husband isn’t sure about his feelings for them or about whether or not he wants to salvage the marriage. Often, the husband has taken the initiative to move out (or at the very least has asked for some space.)
The wife often springs into over compensation mode. What I mean by this is that very often, the idea of separating (even temporarily) is the wife’s worst case scenario. So she will try her best to be loving, accommodating, and open to whatever might make the husband more willing to save the marriage or to reconcile.
But over time, it can soon become obvious that her attempts just aren’t working. The husband will often be very upfront about the fact that he is reluctant to make any commitments or promises. And because of this, the wife can eventually wonder if she is just wasting her time. She starts to wonder if his reluctance is going to outweigh her efforts.
Common comments are things like: “my husband is very clear on the fact that he has his doubts about our marriage and might want a divorce in the near future. He’s been staying with his old college roommate. I have asked him to work with me to make things better but he says he doesn’t think that there’s anything that can help our marriage because we have grown apart. I think that part of his unhappiness is that many of his friends are separated or divorced and he now sees all these guys being totally free and without responsibilities. So, my husband feels like he is missing out. And he seems to be having the time of his life going out every night. I know that deep down, he loves me. But he just doesn’t see it right now. When we do see one another, things feel forced between us. His phone calls have become less and less frequent. I have recently become frustrated and I straight up asked him if there was any chance for us. He told me that he was very reluctant to give me any hope. Is there any way to win him over? I’m starting to run out of hope.”
It makes me so sad when I hear people say that they are running out of hope in terms of their marriage. I believe that even when things seem dire, you have to make a very deliberate choice. And no one can decide whether or not you should give up hope except for you. It’s my opinion that you can win over and eventually reconcile with a reluctant husband. It isn’t always an easy or even a quick process. But I think it’s definitely possible. I will discuss this more below.
You Will Often Need To Have A Good Deal Of Patience: I know first hand that it is very tempting to continue to question or pressure your husband. Because you feel that you need answers and it is so difficult to just sit around waiting for him to make up his mind when you feel so helpless just watching and waiting. But honestly, having patience is often the best thing that you can do. Your husband’s reluctance already indicates that he has some resistance to you. So, continuing to push him and to be impatient will likely only intensify his reluctance and make him less likely to willingly want to reconcile.
I understand that it be difficult to accept that this is just going to take time. But that is often the honest reality of the situation. As difficult as it can be to wait, doing so will often give you the best chance of success.
Show Him With Actions Everything That You Have Told Him With Words: When us wives are in this situation, often our first inclination is to start talking and to start negotiating. We went to tell him all of the things that we are willing to do. We want to make him promises and to offer up concessions. But what we often do not realize is that he is taking what we say with a grain of salt. He may be listening to our words, but he’s often not really fully taking in what we are saying.
That’s why it’s vital that you show him with your actions what you are telling him with your words. If you promise him that you won’t be pressuring him and will give him the space that he has asked for, that’s precisely what you should do. So many people will make this promise and then they will break it by continuing to talk or check in, even when the resistance is obvious and painful. If you tell or promise your husband that you are going to do something or that you are going to show him real change or improvement, then you must do precisely that or he’s going to stop listening to or believing you. And frankly, showing him something is so much more effective than telling him something.
Accept Gradual But Sure Progress: It’s very important to understand that, especially at first, you may have to accept tiny little victories. I know that you desperately want to overcome his reluctance in order to reconcile. But you will often have to accomplish this through a series of smaller steps. Perhaps you give him some space and you notice that he’s a little more receptive. Then, you build on that by improving the quality and quantity of your telephone calls. Once you have that running smoothly, then you work on making your face to face meetings so pleasurable that you are both left wanting more. In short, it’s best not to try to move too quickly, especially if you are still seeing any reluctance.