My wife Ashley and I have been working with married couples for years, and one of the most heartbreaking scenarios we encounter is when one spouse wants the marriage to work, but the other spouse has made up his or her mind to leave and pursue divorce. This often leads to the question, “What am I supposed to do when my husband/wife tells me they want a divorce?”
If you are in this situation right now, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m sure you’re feeling a mixture of conflicting emotions, and you’re probably not sure what to do next. It’s very possible that this difficult time of your life is the most painful challenge you’ll ever endure, but you will get through this! Don’t lose hope.
Every situation is unique, so not all of these action-steps may apply in your marriage, but I believe these five actions could help you get through this storm and possibly save your marriage as well.
1. Keep loving your spouse.
Don’t pick fights or give ultimatums. Just love them. Pray for them. Serve them. Be the best husband or wife you can be to them for as long as you remain their spouse. Try to diffuse the tension with love. Even if they’re being hateful towards you, love them in return. God loves us even when we’re acting “unlovable,” and we must do the same for each other.
2. Be careful where you turn for comfort.
When you’re hurt and confused, you’ll naturally want to find comfort. The problem is that we tend to make our worst choices when we’re hurt and confused! Don’t turn to self-destructive behavior to numb the pain. Surround yourself with accountability and support from people who love you AND love your spouse too.
You obviously can’t force your spouse to stay married to you, but do everything in your power to encourage reconciliation. You can find some great resources to help couples in struggling situations at SaveMyMarriage.com.
4. Have faith!
In the Bible, Jesus promised that we would have troubles in this life. The good news is that we’ll never face those troubles alone. You might feel alone right now, but Jesus has said, “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” God can and will carry you through this difficult time.
5. Protect the kids (for those who are parents).
If you have children, this whole ordeal could be even harder on them than it is on you. Do everything in your power to protect your kids and shield them from the tension in the marriage. Don’t say hurtful things to or about your spouse, because your spouse will be part of your life for the rest of your life (either as your spouse or, at the very least, as the mother/father of your kids). Be a calming, reassuring force for your kids through this time.
For more tools to help you build (or rebuild) your marriage, check out “iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage“ which is now also available on iTunes as an ebook download for iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices (by clicking here).
Please share this post using the links below, so we can bring hope to hurting couples.