A Last Ditch Effort To Save Your Marriage: What Should It Include?

by: Leslie Cane:  I often hear from wives who are at the point where they’re willing to do just about anything to prevent a divorce or separation.  And many have already tried numerous and various things which haven’t worked so far.  So, sometimes they come to a point where they intuitively know that it’s now or never as far as their marriage is concerned and they’re struggling to come up with some last ditch effort that is actually going to work.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “nothing that I’ve done to try to save my marriage has worked.  I’ve promised my husband I would change.  I’ve tried to figure out what he really wants and then attempted to give that to him.  I’ve begged him to go to counseling but he won’t.  I’ve tried to make him see that neither of us are going to be any happier apart.  But everything that I do or say is either ignored or discounted.  I’m getting pretty desperate at this point.  I’m trying to put together a last ditch effort to save my marriage but so far, he’s been resistant to everything.  What can or should I do at this point?”

I can remember feeling exactly this way when I was trying to save my own marriage. And I also know that when you’re in this very scary and desperate place, this is when you will often make the most unfortunate decisions.  You often aren’t thinking clearly and you suspect that you might have to do something very dramatic or over the top to finally either get some results or some relief.  I’ve had wives admit to me that they’ve considered any number of things that were very embarrassing and unfortunate as they look back on them now.  Many have admitted to behaviors like making threats, promising that he will be sorry, out and out begging, or even alluding to the fact that the wife can’t (or won’t) be live without him.  Unfortunately, these sort of strategies are so obviously so desperate that most husbands see right through this and respond in the exact opposite way that you’d hoped.  Instead of suddenly seeing you as desirable, they can see you as unstable. So below, I’ll discuss what I think a last ditch effort to save your marriage should include.

Look At What Has Or Hasn’t Worked In The Very Recent Past: It’s an unfortunate truth that much of the time, wives who feel like they’re at the point where a last ditch effort to save their marriage is necessary will usually continue with what they have been doing all along, but in a more dramatic way.  They sometimes feel so much frustration at not being heard that they will just try to deliver the message louder, with more intensity, or in a way that they hope means that he can’t possible ignore them any longer.

But, if you’re trying things that haven’t worked in the past, you’re likely to get not only the same result, but a result with a stronger negative result from your husband.  It’s not likely that what hasn’t worked in the past is suddenly going to start working simply because you’re laying it on a little more thickly.   Instead, you’ll often do a little better if you can rationally look back and determine which efforts resulted in something positive and which were a disaster.  Can you see any situation when he responded at least somewhat positively?  Because if you can, this is a vital clue as to the strategy that you should be using right now.

For example, many wives should notice (but sometimes don’t) that coming on very strongly will often result in their husband being less receptive, while approaching him in a calm and cooperative manner will often results in him being more receptive.  I can’t say that this is always true, but usually it is true more often than not.  People have a tendency to recoil away from things that inspire negative reactions or inspire them to be defensive, while they tend to welcome or be receptive to the things that make them feel more positively and less conflicted.

Men will often reject dramatic behaviors because they just don’t feel comfortable invoking those types of negative emotions.  They would rather see a smile on your face and be approached in a positive way.  Now, I know this may not make any sense to you.  Many wives will tell me how silly it seems to approach things from a positive place when their marriage may be on it’s last legs.  But, sometimes you have to place your focus more on the results that you want and vow to do whatever it takes to get you there.  So, if you’ve seen negative results from making promises or debating or trying to bring on the guilt, then it makes sense to stop that.  If your husband has shown a little more compassion or been more receptive when you’ve backed off some, then that’s the strategy you should focus on right now.

Frankly, Your Behaviors And Your Actions Shouldn’t Make It Obvious That This Is Your Last Ditch Effort To Save Your Marriage: Here’s something else that I can not stress enough.  Whatever strategy you are using should not be so obviously desperate or “last ditch” that your husband is going to be tempted to discount it’s sincerity because he thinks you’re just doing whatever you can to get your way.

And it’s for this reason that I suggest you get the whole “last ditch” idea out of your mind.  Because when you are afraid that you only have one chance left, then there’s a real risk to take on a mind set that forces you to act the unstable way that scares men.  And you lose the confidence that is often necessary to pull this off. So, you are often going to be better off just telling yourself that you’re going to approach this in a way that you both can be comfortable with and know that if you keep at it and you are meant to be together, it will eventually work out.

I have seen so much more success (and had more success in my own situation) when the wife approaches this in a calm and confident way.  Rather than “fighting for” your marriage and taking a combative stance, approach it in a different, more cooperative way.  Partner with your husband to work together.  Show him a woman that he can feel comfortable working side by side with because he isn’t going to met with drama or conflict every time he’s in a room with you.  Say what you truly mean and don’t make over the top declarations or promises.  Speak from your heart and be calm but sincere.  Don’t try to save your marriage overnight because this just isn’t believable or realistic.  Instead, just focus on making small improvements and concessions that ring true and make your husband want to see and interact with you more.

No, this isn’t a last ditch effort.  This is a more gradual plan that has a much higher success rate in my own experience. As I’ve alluded to, my “last ditch effort” to save my own marriage failed because my husband saw my behaviors as unstable and over the top.  It wasn’t until I calmed down and approached it calmly and methodically that I got the results I wanted and saved my marriage.  If it helps, you can read more of that very personal story (and a somewhat embarrassing one too) by visiting http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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