Question From A Reader:
A couple of weeks ago my husband told me how unhappy he was in our relationship. I am 25 and have been in my marriage for 5 years. We also have a 2 year old son. I know I did my fair share of screwing things up in our relationship but, I desperately want him to change his mind, and to give our relationship the fair chance it really needs, not just for us but our child as well.
I can’t tell all of you how much I love this man! He did agree to go to marriage counseling with me, but he says that he is going to go just to help me understand why he’s leaving. Is there any hope for us at all? Should I not talk with him about this subject anymore? Every time I talk with him about it he seems to get stronger in his feelings.
First of all, realize that it took time for your marriage to break down and that your husband is feeling hopeless about the relationship right now. It is best to let the counselor help you through this and begin to give your spouse hope for your marriage and suggest how you can change to make your relationship better.
Keep off the hot issues for now. Don’t prod for motives or beg for your husband to stay. You will lose his respect behaving like that and begging or pressuring him to reconsider actually will make him more determined to end the marriage.
On the other hand, let him know that you want to work on the marriage and that you are willing to do what you can to make it more satisfying.
Your spouse needs hope and evidence that your marriage can change for the better.
Ask yourself: what has my husband been asking from me all these years? Start doing some of those things now before you go to counseling and without pointing it out that you are making the effort to change.
Don’t suffocate him with letters and affection, but, show you care by being more considerate and listening to him. Most likely, the two of you have not grown intimately on all the levels in which a marriage needs to develop.
Many spouses have not built a deep understanding of each other, worked through conflict or connected emotionally and spiritually. Continual conflict and criticism can create a sense of hopelessness and resentment making it difficult to work through issues and sense the love you once had.
You can change by learning to communicate in a healthier way.
Read articles and books on managing anger, assertivenes and communication skills. Begin to use active listening skills. Learn to paraphrase what he says – this sends the message that you hear and that you are concerned about his opinions and what he has said.
Your marriage has been rocky for a long time, thus, it will take time to heal. Your husband needs to see that you are determined to change and that the changes will be permanent. So it will take time to convince him there is hope for your relationship.
I encourage you to order a couple of books about Separation and divorce:
When a Mate Wants Out Secrets for Saving a Marriage by Jim Conway, Sally Conway andHope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed by Gary Chapman.
These books can give you some insights to understand the crisis you are facing and how to make some personal changes to improve your relationship.
Continue to pray and trust God for your marriage and ask for wisdom as to how you can change. Nothing is impossible with God! I encourage you to talk with your pastor and a counselor. You can get a referral from the American Association of Christian Counselors.
© copyright 2007 by Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC