How To Save Your Marriage

Be sure to watch the video above all the way through before reading this article to the end.

It can be completely overwhelming to know where to start when trying to save your marriage.

Where do you start?

What is the most important thing you can do?

What should you do FIRST?

This post will provide real, implementable steps that you can use when moving forward on how to save your marriage.

First, Do No Harm

Medical doctors take this oath in med school. They realize that at the very least, they must be careful with what they do so that their patient is not worse off from their direction and care.

The same is true of your response to your spouse.

If your spouse has told you that he or she wants a separation or divorce, no one can expect you to simply take the news in stride or without negative emotions.

However, it is in this moment, and the moments to come that you must keep your composure and discipline so that you don’t say something out of anger or hurt that pushes your spouse further away.

In that way, you keep from digging the hole deeper and give yourself a greater chance of winning back the heart of your retreating spouse.

If You Want To Save Your Marriage, Don’t Do These Things

These are things that cause harm even if they might seem harmless or productive.

  1. Yelling and words of anger – Even in your pain and feelings of betrayal, control your tongue. If you have messed up in this area, commit to yourself to do much better. The old jingle that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” could not be less true. Words hurt! In potential moments of doubt, you want your spouse to have as few reasons as possible to continue the separation or divorce. Don’t provide negative memories to encourage them to stay away. Maximize their doubt in their decision to leave by showing composure, grace, and maturity. Again, plenty of good people mess up and say things they regret. Make a simple and sincere apology (a clean-slate message if you will) and don’t let it happen again.
  2. Begging or pleading for them to stay – It certainly happens when the one you love and have built a life with is wanting to back out. As I often say in my YouTube videos, when you feel loss and feel that the other person has the power, all you can do is beg for mercy. It’s like an all-powerful king or government having the power over your fate – if you have no power, you are at their mercy. People in that situation often beg and cry. You might be feeling that way with your abandoning spouse. He or she seems to have all of the power and control of your happiness, life, and fate. Resist your emotion that tells you all you can do is beg for mercy. If you want to know how to save your marriage, trust my words. Don’t beg, plead or cry. It’s one thing to do as I suggested in point number one and tell them that you disagree with them regarding your marriage being something to toss away. It’s another thing to beg them to stay as though they should ignore what they want and only consider what you want. It’s not attractive to do. It lowers their perceived value of you which is bad for your chances of saving your relationship.
  3. Don’t give them a quick divorce. This is where I often tell married people that strategy here is different for married people than for non-married relationships and dating. When I explain how to save a marriage, it’s different than when I coach on how to save a dating relationship. If it’s dating, giving the leaving person the breakup is important (after some initial push back). With marriage relationships, however, some people have unknowingly greatly harmed their odds of getting their spouse back by giving them the divorce soon after they request it. The reasoning is that people think that the spouse will feel the consequences later or see that you were kind in giving them what they wanted. The reality, however, is that giving them the divorce quickly most often results in them moving quickly to someone else or to a sense of not having any commitment left to you. It’s easier to get the toothpaste back into the tube than to get back with an ex spouse after a divorce. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not impossible, but it is more difficult, I’m sorry to say. So heed my words. Do your best to keep things moving slowly or drag out the divorce to save your marriage (a good lawyer will help you do this if you explain your reasoning), but don’t be harsh to your spouse.

If You Want To Save Your Marriage, DO These Things

    1. Be as attractive as you can be. I’m talking about all areas of attraction – not just physical attraction (though that is the most obvious to see and is, therefore, very important). Denying that physical attraction is important is sticking your head in the sand. At one point, your retreating spouse was physically attracted to you enough to want to be with you. So you can be as attractive as necessary based on your situation in life. If you need to lose wait, freshen up your hair style, or improve your way of dressing, banish the excuses and do it. You might say, “But I want him or her to be attracted to me and not the way that I look!” The way you look is part of you. Humans are three-part creatures in that we are mind, body, and spirit. Don’t neglect any of those. Be emotionally as attractive as you can be. That might mean seeking marriage coaching or counseling for your anxiety/etc. Be as emotionally attractive as you can be by healing and improving emotionally and mentally. It’s not just helpful to save your marriage and get your spouse back, but it’s good for you as well.
    2. Get a lawyer. This is more for you if you are wanting to know how to save your marriage while your spouse is actively seeking a divorce. Not only will your lawyer help you keep the divorce from happening too quickly, but he/she will keep your spouse’s lawyer from taking advantage of you or harming you. You might think that your spouse wouldn’t do that, but you might be surprised what people do in the name of self interest, especially when a lawyer is encouraging them and pushing them because of his/her own financial benefit. People too often assume their aspiring ex-spouse will be reasonable and will want to work together in order to minimize the emotional and financial toll on themselves and any shared children, but this is a recipe for disaster. See this list of divorce horror stories if you don’t believe me. It’s not attractive for you to let your spouse run all over you, take more money or property than they deserve, or to take your children away from you. Show self respect and that you will stick up for yourself by being legally advised and protected. Don’t think that you can show kindness in this area and it pay off by your spouse wanting you back. Don’t become a monster, but don’t allow your spouse to bully you legally either!
    3. Use limited contact for a time with your spouse. I speak a lot about the no contact rule. That rule is simpler and stricter with dating couples, but when it comes knowing how to save your marriage, you need to know that this rule is used differently to re-attract a spouse. If children, businesses, property, and legalities are involved, having a pure “no contact rule,” is impossible and will likely harm your chances. You might have to use limited contact meaning that while your spouse is actively trying to leave you, you should only interact with them when it comes to children and business matters. In this way, you allow them to feel some of the consequences of their actions which means that they don’t hear from you unless absolutely necessary. This is when your spouse can miss you. If you won’t leave your spouse alone, he or she can’t miss you. It’s that simple and complicated at the same time. This does not mean that you are rude or cold to your spouse. Be polite but brief and this can help you to re-attract and re-motivate your spouse to want to save your marriage. Limited contact with your husband or wife also opens the door for them to doubt their decision of leaving you to pursue a divorce. Doubt combined with your absence is a powerful combination when it comes to potentially saving a marriage!

BONUS: Allow Your Spouse To Feel The Negatives To Save Your Marriage

This could go under the “Don’t” section as, “Don’t protect your spouse from the negative consequences of the separation or divorce they believe they want.”

It could go under the “Do” section as, “Allow your spouse to feel the consequences of the separation,” if you want to save a marriage.

Too often I encounter a spouse who is being left who unknowingly enables their spouse to complete the divorce by protecting them from the negative consequences that should be associated with separation/divorce.

If you are doing this, I understand it is because you want to show love and because you do love your spouse and don’t want them to leave.

You also likely hope that he/she will see your attempts to shield and protect them from the negatives and that they will appreciate you and want to save the marriage because of that.

It doesn’t work that way.

You must let your spouse experience the full spectrum of negative consequences associated with leaving you.

If they don’t have to experience and feel the negatives, why would they want to work to change the situation?

What would their motivation be to do so?

Little to nothing.

You would, without intending to, enable them to leave you. You’d make it easier for them.

Sometimes you must be cruel to be kind.

That means, for example, don’t pay the rent on their new place unless instructed by an attorney (and you should certainly get an attorney as I mentioned above).

Again, why make it easy? And why look like their doormat?

There are other examples of letting them feel the consequences.

The bottom line is, if they want to leave you, allow them to experience the consequences associated with that when possible if it doesn’t make you look like a jerk or go against the advice of your attorney.

Give them reasons to change their course, not to continue it.

At the same time, be polite and calm when interacting with them and don’t say to them, “I’m letting you feel the consequences of leaving me.”

Don’t broadcast your strategy.

Just do it.

how to save my marriageWhat It Takes To Save A Marriage

Patience. As you might have realized in reading my article, this is going to take patience.

You likely won’t save your marriage quickly or over night.

It will likely take time and small steps.

If you are expecting a call from your leaving spouse in which he/she says, “I messed up and I want you back,” or “I want to save our marriage,” just know that it will take time and often comes in many small steps rather than a declarative statement like that.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that phone call comes and that’s sometimes a great thing.

The reason I said, “Sometimes,” is that the marriage is often more stable when your spouse had time during their attempt to leave.

It is time that can teach them the lesson that their marriage with you and you have great value.

Time allows your spouse to feel loneliness, to remember good times, to feel financial consequences, and other negatives.

Some people learn these lessons sooner than others and too much time can be bad as well.

But if I had to tell you one trait that maximizes your odds of saving your marriage, patience would be it.

Patience prevents you from demonstrations/words of anger, begging, and too much contact.

I truly wish you the best in saving your marriage.

I have a free mini-course on saving a mariage and I sincerely hope that you will get it and apply what it teaches!

-Coach Lee

ALSO SEE: How To Fix A Marriage

ALSO SEE: What To Do When A Wife Doesn’t Trust Her Husband

ALSO SEE: Praying For A Troubled Marriage

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Coach Lee

Coach Lee helps people save marriages from divorce. No matter the situation, there is hope with the appropriate response. Rely on Lee's 22 years of experience in working with couples in troubled relationships.

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