How do you convince your wife that the marriage can make her happier than divorce, if she would just put in the work with you?
Before I tell you the answer, I’d like to ask you a question:
How many times has a telemarketer convinced you to buy what they’re selling?
For most of us, the answer is zero.
If you’re like me, as soon as you realize that the person on the other end of the phone is trying to sell you something, you either hang up or tune out because you know what they’re trying to do… No matter how nice they are, their real motive is to get your money.
Why is this important to understand?
If you’re trying to learn how to convince your wife not to leave the marriage, you’re probably a lot like that telemarketer.
And just like the telemarketer, as soon as your wife realizes that your goal is to “sell her” the marriage, she’s going to tune out and stop listening. All that you do by trying to convince her to stay is prove that you don’t know or don’t care what she wants.
How Most Men Try To Convince Their Wife To Stay
I’ve seen a lot of men try a lot of different tactics to get their wife to reconsider leaving the marriage.
Usually, a man’s first reaction to his wife dropping the D-bomb is to either beg for a second chance or try to convince her to stay. Here are some of the most common ways men try to convince their wife to stay:
- I’ll do better! I’ll change! I promise!
- Don’t you care about our kids? A broken home will ruin their lives.
- Please, I’m begging you! Give me one more chance.
- Don’t you know the statistics? People are always more unhappy after divorce.
- Did you read this article about X reasons that you should give the marriage another chance?
- Don’t throw away the past X years of our lives – our marriage deserves better than that.
You get the picture.
Most men try to make some kind of argument that convinces the wife that divorce is a worse choice than working on the marriage. Or, they try to guilt their wife into changing her mind about divorce.
But guess what?
Even if you’re right, even if you make good points, even if everything you say is factually true… Your wife will only hear a sales pitch. In her mind, everything you say is just an effort to get your way instead of hers.
First, Here’s The Bad News…
I’m going to tell you right now — you can not convince your wife to stay in a marriage she doesn’t want to be in.
I’ve personally talked or emailed with nearly 2,000 men going through separation. Very, very few marriages are saved because the husband “convinced” his wife to stay, no matter how persuasive or logical it may be.
This means you need to get the word “convince” out of your mind. Your job is not to “convince” your wife to stay; that doesn’t work. You can give her a good incentive to stay, you can challenge her and state how you feel, but you can’t make her choose something she doesn’t already want.
Below, I am going to give you some tips to communicate with your wife when she wants out, but I want to make it clear that this is only the first step on the road back to a happy marriage. And keep in mind that every marriage is different and what works for one man may not work for another.
It’s not like you’re a terrible husband if you’ve tried to convince your wife to stay in the marriage. It is a GOOD thing that you want your wife to stay in the marriage! It’s not wrong to try and convince her to stay, it’s just generally ineffective.
If You Can’t Convince Your Wife To Stay, How Do You Save Your Marriage?
- Your wife will only stay in the marriage if she wants to stay in the relationship.
- She will only stay if she has an emotional desire to stay in the relationship.
This means that your goal is not to ‘convince’ her to change what she wants; it is to give your wife the best possible incentive to choose the marriage.
You can never force her to make this choice, but you can do everything in your power to make that choice more appealing to her. You do this by showing her that you understand her and accept her, but that you also love her and are willing to fight and change for her.
If your wife is already talking about divorce, there is a lot that needs to happen for her to get from where she is now to where she believes that you and the marriage can make her happy.
We spend a lot of time talking about the best way to do this throughout Husband Help Haven, especially inside the subscriber-only email lessons, but the short answer is that you start by INCREASING your understanding of your wife and DECREASING your own bad habits and thought patterns.
Recommended: Make sure you watch the 3+1 Separation Strategy video and read the accompanying guide, if you haven’t already.
It’s Not About Convincing Her; It’s About Understanding Her
As we already said, the goal is NOT to convince her to stay in a marriage she doesn’t want to be in. First you must understand why she wants out, how she feels, what she’s thinking, THEN you can try to start slowly chipping away at the wall she’s built around her heart.
Many times, the best first step to get your wife to stay in the marriage is not to convince her of anything, but simply to ask questions.
Since the goal isn’t really to “convince” your wife to stay in the marriage, instead our goal with these statements is to do three things:
- Grow empathy — Learn and understand why your wife wants out of the marriage, and put yourself in her shoes. See the marriage from her perspective.
- Show acceptance — You know that it is your wife’s choice to leave and you’re not interested in holding her captive. You are not interested in “fixing” her or controlling her.
- Take responsibility — You have spent meaningful time thinking about where you’ve made mistakes, and you can take ownership for the things you’ve done that have pushed your wife to this point.
How To Avoid “Convincing” Her? Do NOT End With An Ask
Often a man will show me a Facebook message or email that he’s written his wife, and it will end with, “So because of all these reasons, please give this marriage a second chance.”
Now ask me how many times I’ve seen the wife give this man what he’s asking for?
That’s right, zero.
You can write a 10 page letter about how you recognize where the marriage went wrong, how you’re going to change, what you wish you’d done differently, all that stuff, but when you end it with a plea to work on the marriage, everything you just said is negated.
Because as soon as you make the ask, then just like the telemarketer, everything you’ve said up until that point is just a sales pitch; it’s not genuine and it’s not driven by really caring about what’s best for your wife. No matter how genuine your motives might be, that’s how she will see it.
Your Actions Will Always Speak Louder Than Words
Your wife will never be attracted to an argument. Love is never won over in a debate.
Love and trust and attraction all regrow over time, when you do things that show your wife she can trust you. Once she trusts you, she can then start opening up to the idea of loving you again. And once she starts to love you again, she can start to find you attractive. Sometimes the order between love and attraction swap places, but trust must always be rebuilt first.
Again, the importance of trust is why we stress the need to show your wife that you understand and accept her. She cannot possibly trust you unless she believes you have her best interests at heart.
What is the formula for trust? If you’ll remember from the 3+1 Separation Strategy, it is as follows:
Time + Consistency + Trustworthy actions = Trust
You need each of those to rebuild trust. So, start by figuring out what it is your wife needs from you in your unique situation to start seeing you in a different light. How can you adjust your attitude and your actions in a way that she can (hopefully) start to trust you again.
What Should You Do Next?
My hope is that by the time you’ve finished this article, you’ll understand why you need to adopt a Let Her Go mindset and stop trying to convince her to stay in the marriage. Get the word “convince” out of your vocabulary.
This article covered a lot of the basics that you need to know when your wife wants out. I’m sure you still have some questions, perhaps even more questions than when you started!
Don’t worry, repairing a marriage is no easy task, and there’s a reason that an entire industry has been built around helping people save and improve their marriage. It’s hard! It’s completely natural to feel confused, especially when you’re first hit with the D-bomb.
DOWNLOAD: 7 Separation Pitfalls To Avoid
This guide covers 7 of the most common mistakes men make when their wife says she wants out.
Fortunately, you’ll find a ton of other free resources available on Husband Help Haven. A great starting point would be my 7 Separation Pitfalls guide, which you can download for free above.
If you’re not already subscribed, you’ll also receive a free email lesson series that takes you through all the basics you need to know when your wife wants out, including the most important thing to start rebuilding attraction.
With much manly love,
I'm Stephen, the guy behind Husband Help Haven. I'm not a marriage counselor or a lawyer, I'm just a guy on the Internet who has talked to a loooooot of men going through separation... Over 2,000 in the past 5 years. My goal is to give men the tools they need to save their marriage from separation. Read more here