I sometimes hear from wives who are devastated by a new revelation from their husbands – that he is no longer sure that he loves his wife. Sometimes, this disclosure comes up during an argument. Other times, the husband is just being brutally honest. No matter how this information comes to light, it’s not only very painful, but it can make for an awkward situation.
I heard from a wife who said: “a couple of days ago, my husband sat me down and told me that he could no longer live a lie and that he needed to be honest with me. By the tone of his voice, I suspected that he was going to tell me that he had cheated and perhaps was in love with the other woman. My suspicions were wrong. Instead, he told me that he is no longer sure that he loves me. He insisted that there was no one else. He claimed that I haven’t done anything wrong. He just insisted that he wasn’t sure of his feelings anymore and that he felt that I had the right to know. I asked him if he was going to move out or file for a divorce, and he said not at this time. This is so devastating. I’m just not even sure how I’m supposed to respond to this or how I’m supposed to act. I feel like I’m walking on egg shells but I don’t want to get him angry at me by asking a lot of questions. I want to be pleasant and I want to make sure our marriage is going well, but I don’t want to appear fake. In short, I just don’t know what to do and how to act. What’s the best way to approach this?”
I could see why this wife was struggling I know first hand that there’s nothing quite as painful as knowing that the person you love most in the world might not feel the same way. But fortunately, this wife intuitively knew that how she acted in the days to come could well have a dramatic impact on the outcome of her marriage. I hear from a lot of men in this situation on my blog, and I’ve also been through this myself, so I have a definite opinion on how to handle this, which I’ll discuss below.
As Difficult As It May Be, Try Not To Constantly Ask Him To Define His Feelings Or His Plans: I know that you’d probably do about anything to find out what your husband is thinking, planning, and feeling right now. But, repeatedly questioning him about this is often the worst thing that you can do. Many husbands say that they wish they had never been honest with their wife about these feelings because she can’t talk about or focus on anything else.
She’s always asking him if he’s changed his mind. She’s always looking for reassurance that the marriage is getting better. She’s always wanting feedback that he just can’t give her at the time, especially if she hasn’t even given him time to evaluate. I know that you are probably tempted to constantly ask him if anything has changed. I was too. But it is usually much better to have faith that you will know when he has made a decision or has more information. And frankly, it is better if it takes him awhile to decide. Because this gives you time to try to improve things and to influence his decision, which I’ll discuss now.
Try To Be Upbeat And Attempt To Make Sure That Your Marriage Feels Solid, But Don’t Make This Obvious: Of course you will want to make sure that the two of you get along well and reconnect. You want to feel the spark again. But you have to walk a fine line. Because you don’t want for your husband to think that you are just acting in a certain way to change his mind. You want to be completely genuine but you also want to change things if you can.
You probably already know what your husband likes most about you. So you want to make sure that this is who he sees. You don’t want for him to see the insecure, needy side of you that makes him feel guilty or makes him want to spend less time with you because he knows that doing so is only going to hurt you.
Coming Up With A Suitable Response: As to how to respond, a suggested script might be something like: “well that is very hurtful and certainly not what I wanted to hear. But I do appreciate your being honest with me. I hope that we can work this out because I still love you and I value our marriage. If there is anything that I can do or address that might improve things, I’d appreciate your telling me. Can you share anything that’s bothering you?”
After saying this, now you need to listen. You don’t want to argue, disagree or tell him that he’s wrong. If you do any of these things, he will get defensive and you can’t afford for that to happen. You want to listen because sometimes the few words that he does say will give you incredibly important clues that you need to hear in order to come up with a workable plan to return the loving feelings.