Can You Save Your Marriage By Yourself If Your Spouse Isn’t Trying?

Type the question into Google and in less than a quarter of a second it returns over two hundred million links. Some lead to articles, others to “sure fire” products that promise to solve all marriage problems, and others to blogs that say one can and blogs that say one cannot.

Employing the slightest logic proves that one spouse cannot save a marriage. If a marriage involved only one person; one person could save it. By its very definition, marriage is a bond between two people. Therefore, if one leaves the bonds, the marriage is over, no matter how much the remaining spouse wants their marriage to continue.

Should the spouse trying to save a marriage then give up all hope?

Absolutely not.

There are times when one spouse can do certain things that will likely lead the other to trying and working out their marriage problems to save the marriage.

Things That Do Not Work

The key to saving a marriage is for the hoping spouse to understand that trying to make the abandoning spouse stay is the kiss of death. People do not appreciate being forced, manipulated, or controlled. The spouse fighting to save the marriage will be unwise to use money, guilt, cajoling, sex, or anything else to try to keep the other from departing. Actually, the more one tries to force the other to stay, the more the other one wants to leave.

Think of it this way: How would you like to be in a marriage where you chain up your spouse in the basement alone so that they will always be there for you? Would you like the way they think about you? Feel about you? What they wish would happen to you? Of course, not. Using means other than chains doesn’t really change the result.

Additionally, when the spouse who doesn’t want to save their marriage knows that the other is there, waiting and longing, they have little motive to consider more carefully what they are doing. It’s almost as if the waiting spouse is a safety net; if the new course of action doesn’t work well, they can always go back to the one who is waiting on them no matter what.

Things That Work

There are four things that cause one person to want to be closer to another. They are physical attraction, intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, and spiritual attraction. When one spouse is being abandoned, the best thing they can do is to quit clinging and work on the four areas of attractiveness.

Physical attractiveness has to do with how one looks. It doesn’t mean plastic surgery or pretending to be 20 years younger. It does mean doing what it takes to be as physically attractive as one can be at their age and situation in life. That isn’t competing with the physical appearance of whoever may be alluring the spouse. (Interestingly, many people involved in affairs say that the lover isn’t as physically attractive as their partner.) It is making oneself the best they can be. It says to the abandoning mate, “Leave if you want, but I will survive without you and I will attract the attention of others. I may be in another relationship by the time you come to your senses.”

Making oneself as physically attractive as possible reminds the other of the initial attraction that once existed. It also increases the self-confidence of the spouse being abandoned and gives a way to move on with life if the other spouse doesn’t come back.

Intellectual attraction means that a person is perceived as mentally equal or better when it comes to matters of life. A person who is intellectually attractive is one that can be talked to in meaningful ways, one who understands important matters of life, and who stimulates the mind of the other.

The stereotypical “dumb jock” or “dumb blonde” may be attractive physically, but looks aren’t all there are to a satisfying life. In the long run, people enjoy conversation on a peer or better level. When a spouse is being abandoned, moping doesn’t accomplish anything. Deciding to learn, to grow, and to master matters of life accomplishes two things. First, it affects the person’s self-confidence in very positive ways. Second, it causes the abandoning spouse to see that the person they are leaving is much deeper and more interesting than once thought. It again demonstrates, “You may leave, but my life won’t end. I will continue to grow and new people will come into my life as a result.”

Emotional attraction occurs when a person evokes emotions in another that he or she enjoys feeling. That might range from laughter to feeling important to feeling safe and more. When one evokes emotions the other does NOT enjoy – guilt, shame, rebellion – the result is just the opposite of attraction. It is repulsion. Being strong, having friends, going on with life, laughing, and sincere joy are always attractive in another. The abandoned spouse would do far better for self and for the possibility of reconciliation if they found a way to enjoy life rather than clinging to the hope the other may come back.

Spiritual attraction refers to how one perceives the other’s beliefs and values. Too often a person being left resorts to behavior inconsistent with, or directly contrary to, their beliefs and values. Some start drinking heavily. Others act out sexually. Some become quite mean. Whatever the behavior, if a person lets go of those things that they hold dear, they become a different person. More attractive? Yes, if they abandon unseemly behavior and become a better person. Not if they abandon lofty ideals and move in a downward spiral.

Each of these areas of attraction work for the benefit of the person focusing on them. At the same time, they may well stop the leaving spouse in their tracks as they see their spouse in a new light. When one knows that the other will move on, succeed, and have a good life without them, that person naturally becomes more attractive. Perhaps more attractive than what the departing spouse was moving toward.

So even if your spouse doesn’t want to work on your marriage there are things you can do to win him/her back. And even in the event that it doesn’t work, you are improving yourself for a better life than you would’ve had otherwise. But I’ve seen the formula described in this article work more times than not.

If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce and you are the only one trying to save it , call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper 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.

 



18 thoughts on “Can One Spouse Save A Marriage?

  • September 14, 2015 at 12:51 am
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    my wife of 19 years (total of 22 years) is deeply involved in a limerent affair with her coworker. Our teen daughters have noticed a change in mommy. My wife is 50, experiencing perimenopause and probably midlife crisis.my wife has changed her look, the way she dresses and her musical tastes. She is constantly texting her paramour. I’ve contacted a whole slew of family therapists, physchiatrists etc and no one is familiar with limerence.before I confront my wife I wanted to line up someone for my wife to see. Distraught and unhappy in New Jersey. Help or advice is very much appreciated. Also my wife is getting increasingly nasty with me. I guess her coworker has assumed my role in her world.

    Reply
  • February 20, 2016 at 7:42 am
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    We have been together for almost 16 years married 8yrs, we have three boys 4,5,10, my wife is having an emotional affair for 2yrs (she said). She says she is not happy and “I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore” and wants a divorce, she says that she prays to ensure that she is making the right decision, she says that she feels like she has lost a part of her self and is tired of always giving to other and never to herself. We are currently living under the same house but sleeping in separate bedrooms, I can not take care for my kids and work reason for her to be in the same house, I refuse to leave our home and kids (feel that since I’m not the one that wants to leave, my should I move out plus we could not afford it). She is a stay at home mom and has not work for 11yrs. Lately her emotions are all over the place, any little thing done by either the kids or me annoys her and gets really mad. She says that she doesn’t feel like she is cut out to be a mom, she feels confused and lost. She has also seem to be overly tired, does not treat the kids properly and feels guilty about. She feels I’m controlling and have not show love to her.
    I admit that I was not showing her my love and validation to her in the way she could understand.
    How can I get my marriage back? We went to MC together once but when the counselor ask her to give up EA she got mad and refuse to do so. When I ask her why at home she said because I would be giving you control.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2016 at 6:09 pm
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      Give us a call at (615) 472- 1161. Let’s talk about some different options we have that may help your marriage!

      Reply
  • December 18, 2016 at 2:48 am
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    I have tried everything I know to do but my husband says one thing but behaves the oposite of his words

    Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 1:31 am
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    Hi,

    We have been married for 4 years, lived happily until some family issues happened (long story short) and today my husband wants out, after our last fight he doesn’t wana have anything to do with me anymore, I keep trying to fix things he said he will try and then goes back to saying he doesn’t wana come back, can you help?

    Reply
  • January 3, 2018 at 4:42 am
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    My wife and I have been married six hears dated before. And we are separated now have been for almost a year says she wants a divorce then legal separation then wants divorce there is trust lost and hurt on her two kids. I don’t want it to end started anger management and church while back. And still nothing she says to litttle to late an I only love you as the father of my kids there has to be something I can do to save this.

    Reply
  • March 18, 2018 at 6:57 am
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    Husband of 15 yrs, together for 20. Found out his having an emotional affair with someone I no. Not a friend but someone in passing. I I confronted him about this woman because I seen the text in his phone. We had a huge arguement and he said that he wanted to separate because we’ve grown apart. Its been a mth and hes still here. He left and stayed in a hotel for the weekend and looked for his own place that Monday. I told him he could leave and stay with family, sleep on the couch and be roommates and take care of our daughter, or sleep I the bed with me and try and fix things. That night he slept in the bed. It’s been a wk and he’s being Sarcastic and short when I talk to him, so I asked what’s really going on and he finally said he only stayed for his child and I Gilted him into staying. That crushed my heart. So of course I got angry. We have more bad days then good and he hasn’t stopped talking to her. I would really like to keep my family together. But it’s making us both drink and making me crazy.

    Reply
    • April 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm
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      Hi, please call us at 615-472-1161 so we can tell you about our resources and how we can help!

      Reply
  • July 29, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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    I’m sure this didn’t happen overnight. You probably ignored her needs for years and now she has found a way to cope.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2018 at 7:55 pm
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    I feel like my husband doesn’t care anymore. He tells me often I hold him down and that everything is my fault. I am trying my hardest to save my marriage. I don’t feel like he wants to save it. Help me please.

    Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 3:36 pm
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    My husband has been having an affair with a married woman on and off for about 3 years now. It just recently started back up with lengthy phone calls and texting. Neither of them seem to care that me and the OW’s spouse know about it. They don’t try to hide the phone conversations. My husband and I have discussed divorce but nothing solidified. He still calls me every day, multiple times, and acts as everything is fine. He tells me that he loves me, etc. The OW has not left her husband. She says she “wants” to but she is “weighing things out”. Im just so confused and dont know whats going on or which way to turn. I have tried to be understanding to his feelings and have carried on on most days as if everything is fine. I try not to ask him questions or ask him “have you talked to her today”. I desperately want to save our marriage, and I’m thankful that he hasn’t completely shut himself off to me, but MAN its confusing when he still tells me that he loves me daily! He try to be understanding of my feelings and tells me that he doesn’t like the situation that he has put us in, but doesn’t know if he can stop talking to her. I do know that he loves me and I understand that he is in limerence right now. I just dont know how much more I can take.

    Reply
  • February 5, 2019 at 11:12 am
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    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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    I don’t believe that one spouse can save a marriage. I’m married for 15 years. About 3 years ago we started having problems. His anger issues went out of control. He said words that hurt me badly and he never apologized because well, he just wasn’t feeling right. It killed all the love I had for him. I’m very attractive, intelligent woman. I stay at home, take care of my kids, parents , my husband. He let go of himself, and being very jealous, doesn’t let me go to work. He doesn’t think we have a problem, he thinks I overthink. He doesn’t give me attention, sexually he is inactive. I am still trying my best to just live for my kids, family. But I know I’m reaching a point when I will have to stand up for myself. No one likes divorce, etc. And sometimes it happens because of an affair, but I feel more and more that I am commiting after against my own self. Marriage takes two to save, when you are the only one giving, one day you will get tired. I am tired. But the older I become the more I understand that you can do your best, but you can’t change another person and if they are unwilling, you should start thinking about yourself. I draw, exercise, love people. He doesnt want any of that. Some marriages last, some not. But I don’t believe in only one savior. And some things need to be broken otherwise you can lose yourself. Im not here to prove right or wrong, but if i decide to leave one day, i wont feel guilty. I’ve done my best, but to stay in marriage just because it’s right or God told us do not divorce, it’s wrong. I’m married to my husband, but I’m divorce to my own self.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2019 at 6:15 pm
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      Follow God at all times. The reward will be amazing. When you stand in front of Him, He will only ask if you have fulfilled your duty to Him not to your husband. He will be judged as well… Always follow His will. Find serenity and peace.

      Reply
  • June 4, 2019 at 4:48 pm
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    I want to save my marriage but my husband doesn’t. He told me recently how bad I had hurt him and been hurting him for a while now. We’ve only been married 1.5 years. I really don’t want to lose him. I don’t know how to use language that doesn’t make him feel pressured to stay but still daily showing him that I can be better, can be a better partner and wife. I’m committed to fixing myself and dedicating to fixing our relationship. He just sounds like he’s given up on the idea that we could be good. I told him I wanted to earn his trust and respect again and I meant it. I’m looking inward right now. He told me he’s still in love with me. He just doesn’t think we’re good together. I’m desperate to fix it and don’t want to come off as pathetic to him. I just want him to see what we could be.

    Reply

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