You have been told your marriage is on the rocks.
Whether you agree or not, your wife has taken the fate of the marriage in her hands. You are swirling with a range of emotions, none of them pleasant. What to do right now to keep your sanity?
We talk at length about this terribly difficult situation in our Are You A Leaning In Spouse blog post.
For this shorter post we want to be very direct with you as a husband. We’ve invented a term for your situation: a leaning-in spouse. And your spouse is leaning out.
First thing to keep in mind:
whether or not you feel your wife has been clear in the past, or is even clear now, there is one truth to keep in mind: Everything you do or say, or don't do or say, is being carefully analyzed by your wife as proof of a failed marriage or as hope for the marriage.
We know it's unfair.
Second thing to keep in mind:
the majority of wives hanging off the marriage cliff have some uncertainty about divorce. They care about the marriage. They want real change. So your goal right now, in this "moment", which may last days or weeks, is to hold yourself together and focus exclusively on what she's saying (likely she's been saying for years). And take it seriously, even if you don't agree with her perspective.
By taking her very seriously, not over-reacting, and being the best version of yourself, you will give your marriage its best shot.
We work with men in your shoes all the time (not every therapist specializes in your precarious situation),so we developed online material to offer you a lot of what would we do in individual therapy with you.
There is a very specialized form of therapy your wife may be interested in because it fits exactly where she's at: Discernment Counseling. We have therapists around the country (and abroad) trained in this short-term protocol. It's not couples therapy which takes the heat off her but it's a couples experience you participate in together in 1-5 sessions with a specialized discernment counselor.
The First Step Guide
The First Step Guide is designed as your next step with us online, should you wish to go deeper.
The material for you is nearly identical to what you'd get in therapy with us, but now available just one click away. One man told us it was "the best 7 minutes of marriage advice" he's ever heard for his situation.
This is a terribly rough time and it's smart if you're not telling a lot of people about what's going on.
We know that can add to your isolation and confusion.
We are here for you and any of our therapists are committed to supporting you right now.
Is Your Wife Talking Divorce?