How to Win Back Your Husband or Wife

If Anything Works, This Will

“You actually want to stay married to this guy?”

She didn’t hesitate a moment. Yes, she wanted to save her marriage. She and her husband were 40ish, married about twenty years, with a couple of children. One evening he told her he was in love with his assistant, that he already had a lawyer, and suggested she procure one for herself.

At least that last part was different. Often the abandoning spouse tries to convince the other that he will be nicer in the divorce – and they each could save a lot of money – if she would agree to let his lawyer handle everything. It’s a way to manipulate the outcome and many spouses fall for it, thinking that keeping him (or her) calm provides better opportunities to potentially salvage the marriage.

Not so.

Making the path to divorce easier may keep the abandoning spouse calmer, but keeping him or her calm shouldn’t be the goal. In my work with marriages over nearly twenty years, I’ve learned that rather than making divorce easier, anyone who wishes to salvage a marriage should make it harder. Much harder.

That’s what I told Sally.

“If you really want this marriage to work, I’ll guide you through a step-by-step process to save it. If anything works, this will. Understand me clearly, IF anything works, this will. I can’t guarantee success but it works more than 75% of the time.”

Before sharing with you the steps I guided Sally through, I’ll give you the good news; it worked. It wasn’t easy and didn’t happen overnight, but by doing the right things she created a climate that ultimately led to the saving of her marriage. Her husband abandoned his lover, returned home, and worked on falling in love with his wife again. That was nearly twenty years ago. They’re still together and still in love.

For the last dozen years I’ve been teaching the same principles to couples who come to my intensive workshop for marriages in crisis. I’ve seen it work with just about any situation you can imagine, not just adultery but also marriages plagued with anger problems, a controlling spouse, disrespect, disinterest, and more.

So what advice did I give? What works if anything will? Here is the short and simplified version. We provide a much more detailed and customized version in our workshop.

Accept the Person but Not the Actions

Never accept the sinful actions of another, but try to understand and accept what is behind the sin. What led the person to those actions? Was it pain? Feelings of neglect or disrespect? Even if you consider it imaginary, accept what your spouse sees has his/her reality and be very open to the possibility that you played a part in causing your spouse to feel the way he/she feels. That doesn’t make you the “bad guy” or the other person the “good guy.” It simply makes each of you human beings.

Be Ready to Forgive

I regularly see people who work hard to save their marriage and as soon as the spouse turns, the anger overwhelms the spouse trying to save the marriage. At that point he or she doesn’t want to forgive. I’m warning you, don’t try to save your marriage unless you intend to follow through by learning to forgive. That doesn’t make the hurt instantly go away; it makes it possible for it to go away. That also doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to know who, what, when and where but that is a delicate matter for each of you that we’ve found often needs a third party or at least a constructive plan.

Such a plan is outlined in my article, “How to Confess An Affair without Losing Your Spouse.” It’s written more for the straying spouse, but it will likely help you understand that this type of conversation needs the right mindset, environment and forethought (maybe even professional help).

There are steps that the other person will need to take in order for you to be able to do this to the level necessary to save your marriage long term. But in the short term, while your spouse still wants to leave, you need to find a way to forgive them using a broad stroke. If your spouse feels he/she is just going to be punished by coming back, it’s very unlikely to happen.

STRATEGIES

The next steps are about strategy. In some ways, they’ll act as your secret weapon in winning back your spouse. But you must be confident that they’ll work so that you’ll stick with them even if you feel the urge to do the things you shouldn’t. Like I said at the start of this article, if anything will work, this will.

Don’t Pursue

If you beg, whine, cling, or try to manipulate your mate into staying, you push them away faster.
Give the other person space to breathe. If you don’t leave them alone, you aren’t allowing him/her the opportunity to miss you. You probably need to take a step back in order to create a vacuum that the other person will see and feel. Don’t be rude or mean but don’t make them feel that they are all you’ve got. Make yourself scarce. That’s one of the keys to attraction and that leads us to the next step.

Do the PIES

Make yourself attractive physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Do it for you but it also will affect the other person.

I’m not telling you that you have to compete with your spouse’s lover. Simply attempt to be as attractive as you can at your stage in life. Get involved with a local gym, go for walks or bike rides, join a book club, and/or sign up for classes at church. Not only will those things help make you more attractive physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, but they’ll give you things to do and new friends to enjoy to help you resist the urge to pursue or be clingy toward the straying spouse.

HAVE FUN

No seriously. If you mope around and sound like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, your spouse is not going to want to come back to you. Do you want to be around people who are constantly complaining, whining and negative? Do you feel attracted to those types of people? No you don’t.

Let your spouse see you having fun. By that I don’t mean that you go over the top or fake it. Go out with your friends (preferably of the same gender) and have a good time. Go see a comedy at the movie theater, go to the mall, go to concerts-just have fun. Even if your spouse is not there to see, it’s possible that he/she will hear about it. Or maybe they’ll call about something and you’re too busy having fun to talk (that’s a good thing because it shows them that you have a life and a world that doesn’t revolve around them). At the very least you’ll be making yourself a more fun and attractive person.

One final thing to keep in mind on this strategy step is that if you’re having fun, you’re probably doing the other things right too.

Do the Work

It isn’t easy to put a marriage back together, but the LovePath works. If you do the things mentioned above to stay on the path, you’ll likely pull your spouse back to walking the path with you.

It’s important to limit your panic. Do your best to stay cool, calm and collected so that you can focus on what you need to do to apply the strategies mentioned in this article. There are other strategies that I might be able to provide in future articles but because of their complexity, I don’t have the space or time at the moment.

If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce, call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper 911 workshop for troubled marriages. Our success rate over the last decade is saving three out of four marriages, even when adultery, porn, anger, or other things have deeply hurt the relationship! (If you’re thinking your spouse would never come, contact us by phone or the form below and we’ll tell you what others who felt the same way did to get their spouses there.) We will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for your particular situation. We also offer solutions for couples who can’t attend the workshop.

If you and your spouse cannot attend a Marriage Helper 911 weekend or your spouse refuses to get any marriage help, there is still hope. Check out our Save My Marriage Course – where you’ll learn how to bring your spouse back to the marriage. Click the banner below to find out more about it.

Save My Marriage Email Banner 2

25 Comments

  1. zameka koroma zameka koroma
    December 28, 2014    

    My spouse is back for a year now,everything seems to be normal, but sometimes when we pray before going to bed he will thank God, our family mentioning names including his lover as his wife also.this hurts me but i dont re act.

  2. Kathy Richardson Kathy Richardson
    January 1, 2015    

    Do these strategies work even if he is very angry and threatens to “play hardball” if you do not let him handle everything in a divorce? He does not want me to get a lawyer and says he is not coming back and is moving on with his life.

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      January 2, 2015    

      Yes, these strategies do still work. However, it could be that your husband believes that he can manipulate you into getting what he wants. It sounds like he may be trying to control the situation if he is demanding that he handle everything without you being able to have any input. We talk more about this in our Marriage Recovery online video series as well.

      • Kathy Richardson Kathy Richardson
        January 2, 2015    

        Thank you, Kimberly. I do feel the manipulation, but am trying to stay focused. I did find the video series helpful.

  3. Allie Allie
    April 7, 2015    

    My husband left me and our 6 month old daughter at the end of last month. I was and still am devesated. He said he fell out of love with me and that we were no good for each other since all we did was argue and fight. He then changed his story before he left saying he would come back for us after 2 weeks of working and saving up and move us all down to flordia to live so we could raise our daughter without my family’s meddling in our business. Well once he was down there I found this wasn’t true. He told me it was over and that he wanted to sign his rights away to our daughter and he wants to divorce. He claims he is very happy down there and I am happy for him. Turns out I found from one of his friends that he had no intention of coming back and he said that stuff so I wouldn’t over react and cause a scene. I miss him so terribly much..we’ve only been married since Septmeber 2014 and he’s about to turn 21 next month and I am 22. My family says it’s his age that caused this and that he’s scared. I’ve prayed to god every single night to be there for him and to help him grow up and understand what it is he’s doing. Meanwhile my heart..it’s not feeling broken like it first was..yes I’m sad and miss my husband terribly but it’s like my heart is full of hope..even after us bickering on the phone 2 days ago I still feel hope that things will get better and we can save our marriage. I’m asking for advice on what I should do..my family is no help..they think that I should ignore him and his mother and wait for him to contact me since he’s the one wanting a divorce but I’m not sure that’ll work except drive him away. Please someday help..my email address is alliemclachlan@yahoo.com

  4. Shane Shane
    April 27, 2015    

    What do u do when u have all this alone time and have nothing to do but miss her? How do I stick to these strategies?

  5. Shane Shane
    May 6, 2015    

    How do you fight the urge to run?

    • Mark Mark
      May 27, 2015    

      Shane, what you do is seek God first. I know people (especially if you aren’t spiritual) don’t want to hear this, but trust me it is true.

      My wife had an affair and wants a divorce and has even seen a lawyer a couple months ago. I decided to not make any of this easy for her while still showing that I loved her and forgave her. If I had just come out and said, fine, I’ll divorce you under your full terms if that will make you happy, then went out and filed, it’d be over right now. As of today, we are still sleeping in the same bed, even if we aren’t “with” each other in the sense that I’d like to be.

      Grace and time. Unconditional love. These are the things you learn if you seek Him first. Then through His power you can find strength to get through. You have to realize that everything is going to be OK regardless of the outcome, and for me that took God.

      • Reimert Reimert
        December 13, 2015    

        I totally agree with you Mark. Seeking God first is the only thing that helped me through my crises apart from having support from my family and friends.

        About a year ago I found out that my wife had a affair with a guy who was her first love years ago. I knew that they were texting but she assured me that she just wanted closure as their relationship had ended abruptly years ago due to circumstances and that they were just friends now.

        When I confronted her she first denied it. I contacted the guy and told him to leave my wife alone and then all hell broke lose. I was totally devastated and went through a lot of emotions. We had some bad fights causing my 17 year old son to move out of the house to stay with his grandparents and leaving my 8 year old daughter traumatized. My wife wanted a divorce and said she wanted out

        My wife literally threw me out of the main bedroom and I moved into the spare room. Then I decided to change my approach I started seeking God first and spent my alone time praying for our marriage and my wife and children and seeking comfort in His Word.

        After about nine months my wife finally cracked up one morning and said that she and her lover had a fight and broke up. She said that she knew that what she did was wrong and will not blame me if I chased her away. I assured her that I still love her and that I will never chase her away. She asked met to give her some time to get over everything and give her some space to work things out with herself and with God. I agreed but after a few days I realized that they were talking and texting again.

        I continued to seek God and pray, all the time fighting emotions and pain inside me. One Sunday while at church I was crying my heart out to God when a elderly lady who was a total stranger to me suddenly kneeled beside me and asked if she could pray for me. I agreed and a peace came over me.Not long after that things started to happen. my wife had a fight with her family because of the affair and then she found out that her lover, who was also still married, was cheating on her with another woman.

        We are still together, although we are still sleeping in separate rooms, but we have now become friends and she started opened up to me. She told me that she is suffering from depression after the loss of her Mother and baby sister to cancer only days apart two years ago and that she has recently realized that she is going through a pre-menopause phase. She is now using medication and she has managed to get a job recently which has really given her a positive boost.

        I am still seeking God daily and I keep on praying for my wife.I am trying my best to win her back and although it is taking painstakingly slow I can see that we are slowly moving forward. She started holding my hand again in public and allows me to kiss and hug her now and then. I daily ask God to help me as I am an affectionate and emotional person and I find it hard and miss not having a sexual relationship with my wife. I believe and pray God will also change that to and that my marriage will be completely whole soon

      • Anthony Anthony
        December 31, 2015    

        Thank you Mark for your word of encouragement. I am putting all my trust in the Lord Jesus, even though all my family now dislike my wife. One thing I know for sure, God is able to do all things.

  6. Mark bailey Mark bailey
    May 9, 2015    

    Will this work after they been gone because my wife been gone for almost five months and we talk text and some times have sex she want to do a trail separating and found out it ends in June but she still don’t know if coming back she lives with a guy that a preacher and I’d married to and he brought her a ring to she was upset when he prose to her in front of his friends and she said right now it does mean much and I do beg to her sometime and have brought her lots of stuff and pay her bills and I asked why he didn’t she said she didn’t want to owe him more and even said she would pawn the ring and she does tell me she loves me and I think this will work but don’t know let me know

  7. Alan Alan
    June 24, 2015    

    My wife has announced a month ago that she intends to leave after 25 years of marriage. We are both early 50’s. I diont believer there is an affair, just fed up and tired and ready to move on. She is literally never home except to sleep and communication is practically non existant. I believe the only reason she has not moved out is to build up enough time of sleeping in seperate beds ( part of me “giving her space” ) or bedrooms at this point. she just seems to want to be free.. There is not much angry but I believe she is very abgry and has made up her mind, calm and calculated.
    How do I practice the PIES when she is out of the house for 16 hours at a time ( on purpose) what do I do to win her back and get her to check back into the marriage?.
    I WILL do ANYTHING.. its hard for me to be scarce when she has beaten me to the punch.. HELP!! .

  8. jennie jennie
    July 18, 2015    

    What do you do when your spouse is convinced you had an affair, but you never did. Never would and it never would cross your mind?

  9. sdream sdream
    August 17, 2015    

    My husband loved me so much and I never expected he would leave me one day. He left me last month because we fought a lot and he couldn’t handle the stress any more and never talked to me since then. I found he had booked his trips traveling for a month in next January and he is working in remote places most of this year. Basically we haven’t had communications since he left and will not have much chance to see each other. I don’t know what to do to get him back to me. He moved most of his stuff out of our rented house. We don’t have common children because our marriage is the second one for both of us. I want to tell him I love him and miss him so much but I didn’t. I don’t want to show him my weakness but I want to ask him to try with me because I realized how important to just have each other. What should I do?

    • sdream sdream
      August 17, 2015    

      We have been married for 7 years and I moved to Canada from China. He asked me to become a nurse just like him so we can work and travel together and I worked hard on it. Now I just graduated but he left me and I don’t even know how to move on by myself.

  10. Anthony Anthony
    October 4, 2015    

    Well my wife came back from being with our daughter and her first baby. New grandma and all. When she returned after being home for two days informed me she was going to Texas for a job and had to leave that day . As I figured the story she gave did not add up and left for Texas to be with another guy. I believe it is an x-husband. All she told me was she needed to clear her head and needed time away. Packed up the car with clothes and left and she left everything behind including our 14 year son. She has been gone since July. In the first two weeks we spoke once and text. After two weeks she does not answer the phone and she does not answer text. So there has not been a word from her in over a month. I do not even know where she is living. Not sure what to do at this point if there is absolutely no communication at all. I have been through all the emotions and I have done all the things you should not do. Now I am at peace and making a life for me and my son as best I can. There are days when my emotions kick in and I can barely deal with life. I guess at this point whats my next move sit and wait …hope that someday she calls or just call it quits..I want her back but how long can some just wait for the other person to surface again.

    • Samantha McCollum Samantha McCollum
      October 29, 2015    

      I read your post and my heart feel your exact pain. I do hope she is back and you are working thru this difficult time. My Christian husband filed for divorce, went to court, forgetting to “mention” this to me, all the while still sharing same house, bed, normal night routine, etc. Day I found out (he hid the papers that came in mail) I filed an Emergency Hearing to set aside, then he states he can no longer be in the same house. I would love to chat more through emails. You and your spouse will be in my prayers tonight. God Bless and keep you,

      Samantha

  11. Tim Tim
    November 6, 2015    

    I have been married to my wife for 20 years and I am trying to save my marriage. I was caught by surprise that my wife was emailing another man behind my back and talking to him on her work phone so I couldn’t find any phone records of her doing so. She has had men friends before some I have know about as just acquaintances others she has text and talked to but didn’t let me know twice before this guy. This one was a little more upsetting to me because I actually saw some of the emails her calling him baby and him calling her angel and her saying she was becoming attached to him and her sending him a racy pic is what hurt too not sure it her talking to him hurt more than the picture she sent. It has only been maybe a month since this has happened and she did say she was sorry and that she didn’t know why she did it and that it was stupid of her to do this. She claims I pushed her into doing it because I kept making accusations and because I am controlling and obsessed and jealous. Which I have never really been like this until I found out about her texting and talking to other men behind my back about only God knows what it was only eight months from the last incident we had about talking and texting another man at her job but she claims it was purely just a friend thing. But this new one has really turned me inside out and it is fresh in my mind. She said she just wants to forget about it and move on. She was on the verge of leaving me here these past few weeks she claims she didn’t want to be with any one just wanted to be alone but now she is being loving and wants me to comfort her and hold her and treat her as if nothing ever happened but it is in my mind and heart there are days that I can give her that but I still have anger and hurt and if I ask or say something about the incident, because I still have unanswered questions that probably aren’t worth asking because it just causes us to fight and she will say see told you we shouldn’t be together. I want to save my marriage I want to get the emails and image out of my head I want to move forward but I am scared and angry that she is just pretending or playing the good wife as she calls it. Which I don’t understand that if she is just playing the good wife what is the bad wife or when is the bad wife going to show up again. There is a whole lot more behind this we have three children ages 18,10, 5. God doesn’t like divorce and neither do I but will I ever be able to trust her again and I am only human too I have made the same mistake but she doesn’t know about it and I just stopped because I didn’t want to continue to do that to her or my children or my marriage no physical contact on either parts of us so she claims they didn’t have any physical contact but only God knows and that is also eating me up inside not knowing.

    trying to go forward with my wife and marriage with hurt and anger in my heart.

  12. Cassandra Cassandra
    December 8, 2015    

    Hello,
    My story is a little different. I admit to being a little selfish and bratty in my marriage, and my husband can be a little controlling, but over all, we were so happy. We have been married for 2 years, together for 4. He found out one morning that I joined a guy from the gym on a run (around our home) because we are both training for marathons. My husband kicked me out, regretted it, and begged for me to come home. I was so filled with anger that her had kicked me out, I refused to come home, and said the meanest things to him…ones that I intended to cut him deeply. I moved everything out, and now have my own apartment. I could not be more sorry for it now. It has been two months since the incident, and my husband swears up and down that he does not love me anymore and that he wants the divorce…no if’s and’s or butt’s about it. I want so desperately to get him back. He tells me he is moving on with other women, he thought I was as well…but I could not even think of being with another man. People suggest the “no contact method,” but that seemed to not work and seemed to make him more upset. I hate to seem desperate, but I have no choice now but to call, text, and even stop by our house (with his permission of course). I don’t want to accept that it is over because it is all happening so fast….

    Can men really turn their love on and off like that? How can I tell if what he is saying is the truth or if it is out of anger. Please help…I want to win him back and will do anything…I know our problems are fixable with counseling (which we both had agreed to prior to this incident).

    p.s. things I said to him in arguing and after he kicked me out.
    1) i don’t love him anymore
    2) I don’t want kids with someone who can do that (we don’t have any yet)
    3) he verbally abused me during our marriage
    4) he physically abused me during our marriage (over exaggerated)

    • January 8, 2016    

      We can think that it’s done and be jerks like that. Do work on yourself and when we see change it draws us back. I told my wife to get out and I really thought I was done with her and I actually prayed she would find someone else tht will make her happy and guess what she did and I’m trying so hard to get her back and I was trying before I knew she had this other guy. She is nine years his elder and was actually a friend of mine and now she tells me she’s confused she loves him and me but is so hurt and is scared things will go back to the way they were which I don’t want to be in this situation again so I don’t want things the same so we think we can but its not always the case he might even know but work on you and when he gets more upset I believe that means he’s still wanting you

  13. seaducked seaducked
    December 8, 2015    

    Although she says she hasn’t had an affair I still am unsure as she has lied multiple times (where she goes, who she is with). I read this article about a week ago and I’ve been trying hard to give her lots of space, she then says that I’m ignoring her. I still talk and have a positive attitude and am working on my PIES (which have found to be useful) but I’m having trouble finding that middle ground of giving space and ignoring. I’ve tried just being friends or friendly but she is looking for affection too…. I think I’m so confused.

  14. Crystal Crystal
    January 24, 2016    

    I left my husband almost 4 months ago. A daughters friends father innocently called wanting to get to know each other becuase his daughter and mine were best friends. I told my husband about the conversations. Slowly he began to send me texts unrelated to our daughters. The conversations began. I was home all evening by myself becuase my husband worked a late evening shift then worked out immediately after work. So my husband never arrived home until 2,3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. So during the conversations with my daughters friends single father he started asking about my marriage. At first I didn’t reply and tried to hold it in how I felt. I felt like my husband didn’t like me,he verbally abused me, my feelings never mattered, he had secretly talked to a woman the previous year and I never believed it was nothing more, he had left me 4 months before we gather married for another woman. All these things ate at me. Then to top it off he was out late every night even though he knew I wanted him home and how it made me feel insecure. After telling these things to the single dad, we began to talk divorce. I told him I had thought about, but I always figured if I was going to do it , it would be when I was finished in school for my RN which was a year away. I begin to feel cared about by this single father. I finally told my husband I wanted a divorce. Things would be better. My husband immediately tried tk change and say sorry for everything. I was angry. I kicked him out. He seeked the lord and told me scripture that I would regret this to just let him come back and we can get through this. I denied it. We tried counseling but I couldn’t stop seeing the other man. The affair lasted almost 4 months. Mean while.my husband still said he wanted me back. I prayed. I finally felt I was getting to the point where I had made a huge mistake. I couldn’t live without are family being together. When I expensed this he told me it’s to late. He has finally made his decision and he is moving on. He said I disgust him becuase of the things I did, he gave me more than enough chances to return, his love has changed, and he will better off. He isn’t getting run over anymore. I’m trying so hard to get him back now. Do you think there is hope?

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      January 26, 2016    

      Yes, there is still hope. We have seen experiences like this many, many, many times, unfortunately. The fact that you have a daughter together gives you a reason, even if feelings on his part are gone, to do one final thing to work this out, even if it is solely for coparenting reasons.

      You may or may not want to attend our Marriage Helper 911 workshop, which has dealt with situations like yours monthly. Either way, this article provides great insight on how to get your spouse to seek marriage help in general. http://www.marriagehelper.com/get-spouse-to-workshop

      You can also look into our online Save My Marriage course that is developed for a person in your exact situation: http://www.marriagehelper.com/savemymarriage

  15. Adam J Adam J
    January 31, 2016    

    How this work, if she has stop having her affair, but we have been separated for 3yrs, an there is still an intervention order in place, she says she wants to reconcile, but I’m seeing no actions from her.

  16. Marissa Marissa
    February 8, 2016    

    Yes, me and my husband have been together for 14 years, married for 6 years. He left me for a woman who is younger and married also. We have 4 kids together and they are hurting really bad about what happened! I love my husband and I have forgiven him and wished him well. But, he keeps saying that he wants to come home and he loved me and that he doesn’t want to divorce. He can’t have 2 lifestyles, and that’s what he is wanting. I need help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

close
Facebook IconYouTube IconTwitter IconAdd Us On Google+