I recently heard from a wife who told me that she could literally feel her husband slipping away from her. She said in part: “I know that I’m losing him. I can feel it. He just doesn’t seem all that interested in me or the marriage anymore. I feel like any day now, he’s going to tell me that he wants a separation or a divorce. Most of the time, he ignores or avoids me. But when I ask him if what’s wrong and what I might do, he denies that he has a problem when it’s obvious that he does. How can I save my marriage when I know that I’m losing him, especially when he won’t even admit we have a problem?”
I understood how this wife felt. You can feel very helpless when you feel him and the marriage slipping away from you. And it’s even worse when he won’t help you to fix it. In the following article, I’ll offer some suggestions on how to approach this situation.
Determining How Likely Is It That You’ll Really Lose Him: As I alluded to, this is a situation that can cause a high level of anxiety. Some husbands in this situation will tell me that their wife is “reaching” or is seeing things that don’t exist. Also, sometimes I hear from husbands who tell me that although their definitely are marital issues, they don’t plan to pack their bags and leave tomorrow (even though the wife makes assumptions along those lines.)
When fear takes over, we can become so afraid of losing our marriages that we almost brace ourselves and accept that this is going to be a self fulfilling prophecy. We accept this as inevitable when it certainly does not have to be. Instead of taking real action, we find ourselves in prevention mode, almost waiting for the shoe to drop.
I would never tell you to ignore what you feel. Often, these sinking little feelings are based on at least some form of reality. But sometimes this situation feels so dire and immediate that we make assumptions that lead us into an end that perhaps did not need to happen.
As much as you can, try to put the fear aside and look at the situation objectively. Ask yourself what things most contribute to your fear of losing your husband. Do one are either of you no longer find the marriage fulfilling? Is the closeness or intimacy gone? Is there some issue that you’re avoiding or just can’t solve? It’s important to understand the things that are most contributing to this so that you can address them. Ignoring the problem or just hoping it will go away is often a risky proposition.
Place Your Focus On A Plan Rather Than On Your Fears: It’s really so easy to fall prey to all those “what ifs” that feel as though they are imminent. Unfortunately, this can scatter your focus when what you really need is hyper focus. Rather then dwelling on what may or may not happen or continuing to question your husband and get the same old resistance or the same old answers, consider taking decisive action so that at least you feel a sense of empowerment or that you are doing something.
Many wives in this situation tell me that they don’t know where are how to start to save their marriage. This is especially true when their husband isn’t forthcoming about how he feels or what he wants. Admittedly, this does pose a challenge, but I can tell you that often, in this situation, the intimacy and bond is at issue. It’s my experience and opinion that there’s often a distance and lack of connection that wasn’t present before. If you can place your focus on this and begin to tweak the plan as more information presents itself (and as you are able to process your husband’s reactions,) this is a good place to start.
You don’t necessarily have to save your marriage tomorrow, but you can immediately work on reestablishing the connection. Take things slow and try to keep things light hearted. Try to focus on those things that bring positive reactions rather than negative ones.
Keeping An Eye On Your Terminology: I sometimes cringe when wives tell me that they are “losing” their husband. I have said this phrase also, but it almost implies a lack of control, or as if you have no say over the outcome. I’m also not sure that you can “lose” a husband like you would an everyday object like a watch. At the end of the day, people leave marriages because they aren’t happy within them. Understanding this is vital to taking decisive action.
I sometimes see wives who sort of watch this process as it’s unfolding and then watch and wait in fear. This can be a risky plan. It’s my opinion that there’s less risk in taking some well planned action meant to address what is really wrong rather than just hoping for the best while dreading the worst. Until you can do that, reestablishing a light hearted connection is a good place to start.
There was a time that I thought it was too late to save my marriage. My husband had seemingly moved on and wanted me to do the same. I knew that, at least from my end, it was not yet time to call it quits. Thankfully, even though I had doubts, I lucked into trying one last thing and this eventually worked. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/.