Saving a Marriage Alone: To Stay or Let Go…That Is the Question

“Should I stay or should I go?” Is that the burning question on your mind lately? In other words, is it possible to stop your spouse from running away…or is it already too late?

With the American divorce rate at 60%, you’re not alone in the pain and anguish you’re currently going through.

On one hand you just want the fighting, arguing and silent treatment to end. On the other, there’s a ray of hope inside you that really believes this marriage can be salvaged.

One amazing human phenomena is when you chase someone with urgency, they often run away faster. You may be at a point right now where your husband or wife is determined to leave you and for the life of you, there is no clear answer as to “Why?”

You’ve asked your spouse a thousand times but all you get in return is answers you just don’t understand. These “reasons for calling it quits” seem to conflict with earlier answers from earlier arguments and conversations. But that’s not important right now.

What you really need to do is “stay the course”.

Here’s what I mean…

You may have noticed that your spouse seems deeply confused right now. To understand their state of confusion, you must think of your husband or wife as Nemo, the clown fish in the Disney movie. Bold, daring and confident but swept away because they didn’t know the difference between reason and risk.

Right now, you’re acting as Nemo’s father who was worried and over protective of him. Now pay attention because this is a very important point: being over protective drives confused people away.

Do you want to get logic and reason out of your spouse? You CAN…but only for an hour or so. After that, it will be some new story, a new mood, a different way to recall the past, or a new interest. Such is the life of people who do not search for the real truth, but instead search for what feels good at the moment. One thing is certain…chasing what “feels good” inevitably ends in a sorry mess.

And that is exactly what you’re trying to avoid. But to avoid a sorry mess, your spouse must WAKE UP! He or she must realize what divorce is really going to do to the kids and they must admit their actions are morally wrong.

I’ve written an article on the effects of divorce on children that will help you understand what happens to children of divorce.

Chances are that your spouse is not going to admit their actions are wrong because they’re too caught up with what feels good right now. He or she is leaving the marriage and your instinctive actions will drive him or her away even FASTER.

So where does that leave you?

I work with many men and women who are faced with a spouse who is running away from the marriage. Some of them ask me to speak to their spouse but I almost always decline. Why? Because it makes very little sense for me to speak them in the condition they’re in.

This “condition” consists of the spouse using vague words and phrases that demonstrate how very unaware they are of their own motives for what they do. These fleeing spouses do not want to look at hard rights and wrongs, morality or self analysis. They are NOT open to new ideas, new ways of thinking and they don’t like anyone asking them questions!

I find that spouses who are running away from their marriage are in three main groups:

Group 1) The Dreamy: This is a person who seeks romance, adventure and an exciting new life. They believe their spouse is holding them back.

Group 2) The Angry: This type of spouse seeks revenge and cannot calm down because their spouse ignites even more vengeance which they cannot control for any amount of reason.

Group 3) The Affair: In this group, the spouse has met their romantic match who fills them with feelings of love and acceptance while their marriage partner of years leaves them feeling empty.

No matter which group your husband or wife falls into, as the spouse who wants to make this marriage work, the only thing you can control right now is the environment. By environment, I mean the best vibe, the most secure feeling, the most self confident “aura” you can. In other words, create an environment your spouse will enjoy.

But here’s the BIG mistake most people make when trying to keep their marriage together…

Let’s say your spouse took off for a couple days to stay at a friend or family member’s house. This leaves you feeling worried, hopeless and even more desperate and stressed out than before. When your spouse returns, you’re so angry and frustrated that you simply “lose it” and ridicule them for the decisions your husband/wife has made thus far.

Here’s what’s wrong with doing this…

– Guilting your spouse into staying will NOT make them come home to you.

– Begging or pleading for them to stay will NOT work either.

– Telling your spouse you love them will NOT change their mind.

Changing their environment, however, may not change their mind completely, but it at least sets the stage for an open and honest discussion.

You’d be surprised how much of a difference you’ll see when you act on this advice.

The goal is not to end your troubles as quickly as possible. The goal is to learn from your trouble as long as it lasts. When your focus is on learning from your mistakes, you will not be torn with the simple and superficial goal of “trying to get back to happy”.

Everyday you’re not happy and you dwell on those negative feelings and become more torn up inside. Instead of torturing yourself with these feelings, ask yourself “What am I learning from this experience and how can I prevent it from happening in the future? What is this experience teaching me today?” Keep a journal and answer these questions everyday. You’ll be surprised what you learn as you write.