It’s not unusual for me to hear from wives who have been told that it’s “too late” to save their marriage. Often, their husbands have decided that the marriage is over and that the time has passed to save it. But rarely do the wives who contact me agree with this. They often tell me that it isn’t over for them. And that they don’t believe that it’s too late either. I often hear comments like: “so he just gets to decide whether it’s over and whether it’s too late? Do I not have any say in this?” Or “he says it’s too late for us, but I don’t believe that it is. If he’d actually try rather than just giving up, I believe that we could make it.”
This is indeed a very frustrating situation. It can feel quite infuriating when you know in your heart that something is true when you can’t convince him of the same. But, he does have a say and he apparently does believe that it’s over and that it’s too late. So where does this leave you? Well, although you can’t change someone’s mind by force, you can set up the situation so that this change is more likely to happen. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Do I Just Have To Accept It If My Husband Says It’s Too Late For Our Marriage?: This is one of the most common questions that I’m asked. No one wants to accept something that they themselves did not chose or don’t believe. With that said though, it’s important to understand that you can’t strong arm someone into changing their mind and expecting a positive long term resolution. This will often cause resentment and additional problems.
And, last ditch efforts that may feel necessary and sound can often backfire also. Arguing, trying to make him feel guilty, pleading, or playing games based upon negative emotions will often only throw more negativity on an already negative situation. You always have to be very aware of how your husband is perceiving the situation. If he only sees more of the same or, worse, changes that are insincere, then he’s not likely to change his mind.
And more than this, often when he sees that you’re trying to change his mind, he might be even more determined not to change it so he actually comes to believe his position even more. While I believe that you don’t have to just blindly accept that it’s too late for your marriage, I also think that it’s sometimes smart to not try to do everything all at once.
Some wives will accept nothing less than their husband proclaiming it’s not too late as early as tomorrow. And while this would be great, it’s not always realistic and if you push for it too early, you’ll often risk making the situation worse and making your job even more difficult.
Changing His Perceptions So That He Begins To Wonder If It’s Really Too Late?: I dialogue with men in this situation fairly regularly. Many of them have the perception that there’s nothing else that can be done because they feel that you’ve tried everything and yet nothing really changes significantly enough to make a real difference. Sure, there may have been some short term changes, but somehow, you always seem to revert back to old patterns and behaviors.
And at some point, many of these husbands realize that this isn’t how they want to live the rest of their lives. They hear you suggest counseling or working on your problems, but the thing is, they don’t believe that any of it is going to work. So, you’ll often have to show than rather than tell them that real change can happen without either of you having to make huge concessions that aren’t all that appealing.
Sometimes, I tell wives that instead of focusing so much on whether it’s too late or if he thinks that time is up, instead focus on how he’s perceiving you and the marriage. You’re often better off it you make small improvements over time rather than pressuring him to define his time frame.
When Does It Really Become Too Late For Your Marriage?: This, of course, is the central question and the answer is going to be individual for each couple. People often tell me that think it’s really over because he’s getting ready to move out or file for divorce. Or, they tell me that one spouse is so angry at the other. None of these things necessary mean it’s too late in my opinion. I believe that as long as there are some feelings (even if they are reading negative right now) then there’s always a change to turn things around.
I’ve seen couples who have actually been nearly or actually divorced decide that there was still time for them. To me, the biggest indicator that it’s really over is BOTH people being indifferent. In other words, they’re both at the point where there’s no anger, animosity or turmoil because both people are able to clearly see that despite their best efforts, they just couldn’t make it work.
This is rarely the scenario that I’m asked about though. Usually, the wife still is very invested in your marriage and into saving it. And in my opinion, as long as one person is still invested and is willing to try things to change those perceptions I talked about, there’s always a chance.