It’s an awful feeling to be looking back on your marriage with negative hindsight. Sometimes, we don’t see things clearly enough until we’re faced with actually losing them for good. I recently heard from a wife who was experiencing this first hand. Her husband had left her after finally becoming tired of her constantly bending the truth, not treating him in a respectful way, acting irresponsibly, and taking him for granted.
She said, in part: “I was furious with my husband when he left me. I was mad that he would give up on our marriage without giving me any warning first. But after I began to think clearly, I realized that he did give me plenty of warnings but I wasn’t always paying attention. I spent the money that he mostly earned like crazy and put us heavily into debt. I would bend the truth about my activities so I could keep on doing exactly what he wanted. He worked hard while I had the fun. If he mentioned not being happy about this to me, I’d call him a stick in the mud or asked him if he was my father. I flirted with other guys and didn’t show him the respect he deserved. He was nothing but loving, loyal, and good to me, but I didn’t fully appreciate him until now. So now I’m at the point where I fully realize my mistakes and am committed to changing my ways. I’ve gotten a better job and have stopped the spending, lying, and partying. But when I tell him this, he looks at me with doubt in his eyes and doesn’t make any further attempts to see me. If he would only give me a second chance, I could and would prove to him that our marriage could be different. Will he give me that second chance? How can I make sure that he does?” I’ll try to answer these questions below.
Usually, In Order For Your Husband To Give You And Your Marriage A Second Chance, Several Things Need To Happen All At Once: Over time, it became pretty obvious that this wife was sincere. It has been months since her husband had left. And, during that time, she had gotten a job, adjusted her thinking and her behavior, and really embraced a new way of life that the husband had been encouraging and calling for all along.
The wife was frustrated that she’d made all of these changes and yet, despite her repeatedly detailing her mistakes and how she had changed them, her husband still had not been receptive enough to give her another chance or to come home. In fact, he’d started talking about divorce, which was especially upsetting to her.
This wife didn’t understand that in order for your husband to give you a second chance or to be open to a reconciliation, several things need to happen, as follows:
1. Your husband needs to completely believe that, not only have you really and truly changed, but that you understand why you acted the way that you did and are completely remorseful for it. He needs to believe that you now see the attributes in him that you missed before so that you won’t continue to take him for granted.
2. Your husband needs to believe that the changes that you made are lasting and that you didn’t only “change” for his benefit. Many husbands suspect that as soon as he agrees to give you another chance or comes back home, you’ll eventually get comfortable again and resort back to your old ways so that he’s having to deal with the same behaviors over and over again without any escape.
3. Once your husband believes that you’ve made lasting realizations and changes, then he has to perceive that continuing in a relationship or marriage with you is going to be better for him (or make him more happy) than to continue to be alone. Sure, he might believe that it’s possible that you’ve changed. But sometimes, he still feels that too much negativity has happened between you to really salvage the marriage. Or, he doubts if things can ever really “be the same” again.
Identifying And Addressing Any Doubts That Your Husband Might Have About Giving You A Second Chance. Where Is His Reluctance And His Resistance Coming From? Admittedly, I didn’t personally know either the husband or the wife in this scenario. So, I couldn’t pinpoint which of the above 3 factors was keeping the husband from believing his wife or from giving her a second chance. But, if the wife truly observed the husband’s behaviors and listened to the clues he was likely offering her, then she should be able to figure out what truly stood in her way.
Most of the time, this is a gradual process because you have to hang in there in order to keep going long enough to over come what is usually a husband’s considerable resistance and doubt. In truth, this couple had been married for years and yet the wife’s changes had only been around for a few months. The husband likely still had his doubts that the changes were sincere or were truly going to last. And he may have also had his doubts if the two of them could be happy again after he’d walked out on her and given up on the marriage.
The best way to address these doubts was to just continue on with what she was doing and to give the process time to work. Because with time, the husband could likely see that she truly was sincere and absolutely meant what she said. It helps if you can somehow let your husband know that you are incorporating these changes even when he’s not watching you. If a mutual friend or family member comments about the changes in you without your being present, this can help.
Here’s one more point that I would like to make. It’s entirely possible that the husband was slowing warming to the idea that his wife could change, but that he still had his doubts that the marriage could truly be a genuinely easy or happy one. The wife admitted to me that sometimes things were tense when they were together because she was frustrated that her plan didn’t seem to be working. This was something that needed to be avoided in the future.
It’s vitally important that your husband sees you being light hearted, fun loving, and very easy to be around. The relationship and the conversations should be light and should not feel awkward or forced. I know that this sometimes takes some doing, but if every interaction feels or reads negatively, then this will often just reinforce the husband’s belief that the marriage is too far gone to save.