My wife has no interest in working on our failing marriage, despite my attempts to over the last 18 months to do so. Since she’s the one who’s left the marriage, how to I begin to find closure and move on without her?
Let’s slow everything down. Far too often, people “move on with their life” and overlook the possibility of saving their marriage. Let me explain.
In my experience, people leave their marriage most often out of sheer frustration and feelings of powerlessness. I wonder if this was the case with your wife. You may have made some of the more common mistakes that actually push a mate away rather than attract her back. These include:
–using coercion, guilt, or manipulation to force her to return
–using Scripture to try to “make her see the light”
–refusing financial support
–threatening possible legal action
–using your children against her
People turn to these more common tactics out of fear because they desperately want their spouse to return. But these tactics actually are ineffective and make matters worse. So instead of using these futile, harmful methods, consider the following actions to win your wife back:
Take a Fearless Relationship Inventory.* This involves critically reviewing why your mate left and the role you played in it. Write how you’ve been to live with—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be candid. Go over this with a Marriage Specialist.
Make sure you’re not making any of the above mistakes. Use your time apart to remedy the problems you contributed to the failing marriage.
Begin making “living amends.” This starts with a heart transformation that leads to a behavioral transformation. In short, you behave differently because your heart is different. One example of demonstrating this transformation could be writing your mate an apology letter, in which you take full responsibility for your contributions to the marriage problems.
Ask your mate for a Therapeutic Healing Session arranged by a Marriage Specialist. In this session, should your mate agree to it, you take full responsibility for the pain you caused and clearly state how you intend to behave differently in the future–with no expectation that she’ll to return to you. Do this as an act of submission and godly sorrow.
Live out these changes, knowing they’re likely to positively impact your mate. As you do so, you create the possibility of reconciliation. After you’ve allowed a significant amount of time to pass, if your mate still refuses to engage in any way, you then can consider how to move forward with your life. Do this, however, only after engaging in the above actions.
*If you’ve experienced a mate who has left and would like assistance in creating a Fearless Relationship Inventory or setting up a Therapeutic Healing Session, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.