Do not think that placating her demands will lead her to change her mind and stay. Departing spouses typically manipulate. They make their desertion less painful for themselves if they convince you not to seek help and comfort from your friends, or to protect yourself by legal counsel.

If you wish to save your marriage, do not yield to manipulations and threats. Stand strong. Take legal action to protect financial assets. Demand fairness and equity. Develop a support group for your emotional, spiritual, and other needs.

Do not behave arrogantly or meanly, but in every way demonstrate independence and confidence.

You never hear someone describe an attractive person as fearful or weak, because those are not attractive traits. If you are to have any hope of saving your marriage, be strong. That makes you more attractive.

Remember, even if it does not bring her back, you are doing the best thing for yourself.

Also, if you pray, ask God to create negative circumstances that alter your spouse’s plans. Motivated by love, not meanness, ask God to cause negative situations such losing her job, developing problems in her relationship with her lover, or losing inner peace.

A NOTE OF CAUTION: Hurt, anger, and frustration often blur judgment. Fragile, bruised, or exhausted emotions need balance from levelheaded mentors. Never do anything – offering a prayer or implementing the suggestions that follow – that could cause harm without first seeking counsel from wise, learned, and deeply spiritual people. That often means disregarding advice from family and friends angry with your spouse for hurting you.

Change the Consequences

Typically, a deserting spouse tries to leave the marriage with as few negative consequence to himself as possible. He hopes to maintain good financial status and reputation with everyone, especially friends and family. You hurt yourself and your children if you purposefully say or do things to hurt him. However, helping him keep his behaviors and actions secret benefits neither you nor him.

If infidelity exists, ask your church leaders to intervene and call you spouse to accountability. If your spouse is addicted, immoral, or violating the law, consult your wise advisers and then seek the right help for yourself or your children with no hesitation, even if doing so might hurt him.

Seek qualified legal representation that not only protects you and your children, but that forces him to face the consequences of his actions. Be wise, not vindictive. Focus on rescue, not destruction.

There is no kindness in allowing – or helping – anyone do destructive things to himself or his family.

Genuine love calls people to accountability. If that leads to his “hitting bottom,” it typically is far less severe than the bottom he will realize if he continues on the wrong path.

Having to face the consequences of one’s actions often motivates a person to stop those actions and do the right thing instead.

Change the Future

Our experiences with thousands of couples indicate a probability that the suggested changes gradually will positively affect your spouse. You become more attractive. When you become more attractive than the person, situation, or thing that your spouse was leaving you for, you will witness positive changes within her.

If your spouse suggests that you try to work things out, insist that your marriage will not resume as it was. Staying together without solving the underlying problems that led to the marital discord is like living in a minefield. Things may go well for a while, but danger lies nearby.

Give grace, mercy, and forgiveness, but insist that you together get professional help to understand what happened, why it happened, what your relationship needs, how to overcome your difficulties, and how to develop a deeply loving marriage.

Do not stop being strong if she wishes to return. That is the time to be stronger than you have ever been, and with love and graciousness repair your marriage to make it what it should and can be.

If your marriage is in trouble, click here to learn about  a marriage seminar that saves marriages that are in crisis. 

Joe Beam is founder and chairman of Beam Research Center, an organization that provides marriage help to hurting couples. He is a best-selling author and popular speaker on marriage. For information on Joe's seminar for troubled marriages, call (866) 903-0990 or click the link above.

Publication date: July 20, 2012