I often hear from wives whose husbands are telling them that there is no longer any hope for the marriage. I recently heard from a woman who had been trying everything in her power to save her marriage. They had been to counseling. They had taken trips. They had “worked” on the marriage. And, while the wife felt that she had seen some improvements, the husband didn’t feel the same way. Basically, he’d told the wife that he felt there was “no hope” for the marriage. He told her he was going to seek a divorce soon and felt that they should go their separate ways.
The wife was having a hard time accepting that there was no hope for them. She felt very strongly that if her husband would just have an open mind and give the marriage a chance, there most certainly was hope. But, she couldn’t seem to convince him of this and she wasn’t sure what to do. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Your Husband Can’t Take Your Hope Away Without Your Permission: Obviously, the two spouses had a different view of the marriage and of the future. This happens sometimes. But, one person’s perceptions doesn’t always have to be the same as the other’s. And, sometimes, people’s perceptions are wrong and can change over time, especially if you are successful in showing them something that changes their mind.
That’s not to say that the husband wasn’t firm in his beliefs. But the two obviously had a different perception. And, the wife didn’t need to give hers up just because his was different. I have seen many marriages on the obvious brink of disaster turn around, even when both people had seemingly given up hope. So, his not having hope does not mean always that you have to surrender yours. This really is your choice because your perceptions are made up of your own feelings and decisions, not his.
Don’t Worry So Much About Defining Or Quantifying The Relationship All Of The Time. Just Focus On Making Improvements And Seeing Where That Leads: People often use their partner’s descriptions as sort of a gauge as to how things are going to turn out. Many people will hear the words “no hope” and immediately shut down or consider giving up. And, sometimes this makes sense if you keep trying the same things that do not work which then cause you pain. There’s nothing wrong with making the best decision for you or changing course.
But sometimes you can get so caught up in the definitions that you allow this to cause you to lose sight of what you want or to derail you from making improvements. I often tell me not to get so caught up in what people are saying every day or in “checking in” with how he feels during every instant in time. Things can and do change. It doesn’t make sense to hang on every word before something has definitely happened.
Sometimes, you are much better off if you just focus on small goals that allow you to feel a little personal hope. In other words, if you’re only trying to improve the give and take between you or to see even some small improvements in how you are interacting and feeling, this often feels much more doable than trying to change his mind or save your marriage over night.
You really can’t know what tomorrow will bring. But, even small strides really can provide the foundation for much bigger gains in the days, weeks, and months to come. Sometimes, slow and steady really does win the race. When it’s not completely obvious what you’re trying to do, you’re often met with much less resistance, which really can make all of the difference.
It’s Not Always Hope That Saves Marriages. It’s Gradual Action That Leads To New Perceptions: As counter intuitive as it might seem right now, you don’t always have to 100% believe that everything is going to work out flawlessly. Sometimes, you can take small steps and feel your way as you go, moving toward the places where you are seeing improvements and away from the places where you hit road blocks.
And, it’s not uncommon for husbands to start to come around when they are shown (rather than told) that things can actually change without an excruciating amount of work or sacrifice on their part. The key really is to begin to make small improvements that are sustainable but substantial enough to change the outcome. You likely know your marriage well enough to know where these efforts and changes are most needed.
So, while it would likely feel much better to you if you knew he had as much hope as he did, his perceptions don’t need to become your own. This husband hadn’t yet filed for divorce. There might possibly still be time. So, if you know in your heart that there’s still some actions you’ve yet to take, there’s nothing that says you can’t control your own actions and give new things a try. This may work and it may not, but at least you’ll know that you did everything you could and you weren’t driven by someone’s perceptions that weren’t your own.