Wish you could get your husband back?
Here’s how it stands with this couple…
Rianna kept yelling at Josh, “You only care about yourself! You are the most selfish person I’ve ever met. You weren’t there when your own daughter was born! Off on a business trip! You care more about your company than you do us! And here you are, running off again. You can’t leave… the kids need you here! I need you here! You HAVE to talk to me about this!”
Josh slammed the door to the house, then threw his suitcase into the trunk of his car. He’d come back later for more clothes. Right now, he just wanted peace. He was done. He’d gone to counseling, read the books, attended workshops, and nothing had changed. They still had conflict, she still pressured him about everything and criticized literally everything he tried to do at home. He needed a break from her ugly outbursts and certainly the kids would be better off if he wasn’t there to argue with. He hated leaving his children, but he would see them a few times a week. If she resisted that, well, a lawyer would make certain of it.
Rianna stood at the window watching her husband drive away. She didn’t understand why he could be so cold. He never wanted to work through anything and always put off talking about the issues. She was beyond frustrated, but she was also scared. She never thought he would actually leave. She had told him to get out multiple times in the last month, but she didn’t really mean it. What was she going to do?
She started texting…
You’re acting like a coward, not a Christian husband and father.
You are abandoning your family and God will smite you for that!
You have to come back so we can work this out.
Unfortunately, she hit “send.” On all three.
Rianna doesn’t know this yet, but being ruled by her emotions caused her actions and words to literally push her husband out the door. And at this stage, those texts might just push him over the cliff into the lawyer’s office to start divorce proceedings. In my experience, and I certainly can’t claim to know ALL men, but the vast majority of men I’ve interacted with are simple and honorable creatures. Seriously different than women, yes, but they want just a few things – peace, respect, admiration, companionship. They rely on us to create an environment that they can rest in peacefully after getting the tar kicked out of them at the brutal job they’re in daily. When we don’t provide respect, admiration, or companionship, they will endure for a long time, but when they are done, they are usually done.
I’ve only seen ONE approach work when a man has walked out. It’s counter intuitive, but provides an opportunity for them to consider returning. Here it is – take the pressure off. He’s stuck in negative sentiment override, so are you, but if you do these things, you’ll give him some peace, and maybe he will miss something about you and be open to trying again. Here’s what that looks like, in a very broad form, as we usually coach women through the many stages of this process:
- Stop instigating text messages of any kind (he’s gone, figure the carpool, etc. things out because this may be how it is if he stays gone and he needs the space)
- Respond to any text or phone call from him after waiting at least 15 minutes – this is a test for YOU – is it hard? You might be a people pleaser if it half kills you to not get right back to him. This also takes the pressure off. Your immediate response is a push towards him – he’s had too many of those.
- Get busy with your self-care Basics. Chances are good you’ve been wrapping your identity up in him alone and are miserable. Get a hobby, invest in your health, and stay away from men – you are vulnerable right now!
- After a few weeks of not instigating, if he has done something for you, anything at all, even if it is paying the power bill, turn that into a strength-based-compliment that is very brief and text that.
- Rinse well, repeat, the next stages depend on his responses, but you’ll potentially make some headway with the above
If you’re NOT in this desperate situation… I Dare you to…
Consider Josh’s feelings. Think deeply about his experience. Now think about your husband. Consider deeply his experience as a husband. What is it like, from HIS perspective, to be married to YOU? Do you give frequent compliments, or do you mostly complain? Do you show honest and sincere appreciation to him and your kids? Do you listen well? Do you communicate understanding? Do you patiently work through problems, or do you attack verbally? Do you dream with him? Does he believe his heart is safe with you?
Here’s the dare: ASK your husband if it’s a good time to ask him a hard question. If not, set up when this will occur, and when he is open, ask him if he feels respected by you. Then just listen to his response. Take notes. If he asks why, tell him you just want to understand and you want to make sure you get it. If he says mean things, let him say them. This will actually help because those thoughts have been bottled up for a while, and it’s good for him to get them out. Maybe you’re strong and dignified enough to not take offense, but rather just gather his perspective. You and God can sift through all the information later.
If you can make it through this, ask him, “What more could I do to communicate that I respect you?” Bear in mind, you don’t have to do what he says. It may be some crazy outlandish thing, just listen, and communicate understanding. Then sort this information with the Lord. (or us, we’ve seen it all!)
When we push and pressure others, if they are immature, they more easily dig in their heels and stay stuck.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
- Have you been pushing and pressuring your husband, demanding actions or better treatment from him?
- In conflict, is it easy for you to stick to the topic at hand, or do you “kitchen sink” your spouse, bringing up things from the past? What issues do you usually gravitate to? Work the Connection Steps around those with the Father.
- If not, praise God. If so, consider what that feels like for him, and consider that you may be running him off, creating distance in your marriage. Work the Connection Steps over this topic with the Father.
- What do you sense the Lord revealing to you about yourself and your husband from this dare?
If you are IN THIS SITUATION NOW... my heart goes out to you. This is gut-wrenching stuff, for sure. The journey is paved with tears, and it IS hard, BUT we have hope for your marriage!! We have a special coaching group set up for women trying to get their husband’s back. Consider yourself invited – or if you know someone in this situation, please forward this to them. I’ve seen God work miracles time and time again, when everything in the world looked like it was over. We can help. Reach out at coachnina (at) greaterimpact.org or just respond if you got this in email and we’ll have a chat!