Often departing spouses demonstrate anger and frustration if their mates do anything that deters their departure. They use their anger to manipulate with threats such as, “If you don’t go along with me, I’ll make things very hard on you...I’ll fight to take the children...my lawyer will take you to the cleaners...I’ll tell people you care about that...”

In response to threats, tantrums, and manipulations, often a person gives in. They rationalize that it will make things better. The truth is just the opposite. Giving in typically leads to the same results as giving up.

Do Not Control

If you try to keep your marriage together by demanding, dominating, or dictating, you will fail.

No one wants to be controlled.

If a major reason your spouse wants out of your marriage is that you have exhibited controlling behaviors, this is your wakeup call. Stop now and demonstrate that you will treat her with utmost respect and equality. Quit forcing your opinions. Quit the habit of haranguing until your mate yields to your point of view. Never again, tell your spouse what he/she feels...or should feel. Allow your partner to be, think, and feel even when you do not like it.

If you think (or know) that your mate is unfaithful, tracking or following will backfire when you are caught.

Clinging causes the other person to pull away, collapsing helps them leave faster, and controlling disgusts them with you. None of these helps your cause if you wish to save your marriage.

What will help?

Consider these suggestions.

Do Be Patient

Patience buys time.

No matter how difficult, take life one day at a time. Make decisions one by one. Overcome obstacles separately. Start with matters you can do something about. Patiently work out how to deal with situations or problems that seem overwhelming. Take time to seek wise counsel.

If your spouse seems in a hurry to move toward dissolving your marriage, do not join the race. Time is on your side. If your mate is involved with someone else, enough time will begin to erode the intensity of the emotions in that illicit relationship. If your spouse is dissatisfied with the way life has been with you, enough time provides you the opportunity to demonstrate changes you are willing to make.

When you feel you may do something rash through anger, pain, or frustration, ask yourself, “If I do this, how will I feel about it in ten days? Ten months? Ten years?” Do not sacrifice your long-term future for a short-term emotion.

For every action you make, your spouse will have a reaction. Positive actions instigate positive reactions. Positive actions provide a possible future for your marriage.

Do Ask a Trusted Third Party

Do you know someone that your departing spouse holds in high esteem? If so, ask that person to intervene in your marriage. It may be a pastor, a friend, her parent, or even one or more of your children (if mature). Ask the person(s) to spend time with your mate, to listen to her, and to do everything possible to influence her to agree to marriage counseling or our intensive marriage weekend workshop. Our experience is that often a spouse who absolutely refuses counseling or a workshop when asked by a spouse will agree, if reluctantly, when urged by a third party that they deeply care for.

If your spouse agrees reluctantly, do not become frustrated and refuse because of his lack of desire. Rather than being upset that your mate does not desire to save your marriage, rejoice that he is willing to go to counseling or a workshop in spite of his desire to end the marriage. Over the past twenty years, I have seen marriage after marriage salvaged when a couple came for help though only one spouse wanted to save the marriage.