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Advice for Men after the Wife Says the Marriage is Over

By July 8, 2010May 10th, 2012Christians, Encouragement, Fear, Marriage, Prayer

I hope you don’t need this post. It is for a select audience.

After I have answered a question too many times to count, I figure more people have the same question. One of the issues I see frequently is what happens to men when their marriage caves in around them and their wife no longer wants the marriage to work. This could be because of simple neglect over the years or an affair, but she wants out and he wants her to stay. When this happens, a man often becomes a vulnerable puppy of a man and literally doesn’t know what to do next. (I’ve sadly seen it so many times, especially recently.) It could be his fault or her fault, but at this point, the man just wants to save his marriage.

Here are a few suggestions I gave a while ago to a man in this situation. Although this is a personal reply to one man, I believe it may have application for many man in this situation. One thing needs to be clear, however; you must own your decision. You know your situation far better than anyone else. These suggestions are based on experience with dozens of marriage situations, but they are simply my opinions and not designed as professional advice.

If you are in the immediate days and weeks after your wife has indicated she thinks the marriage is over, this is what I suggest:

1. Don’t beg. You are likely much more broken and emotional right now than normal, but women are attracted to a man’s strength, not as much his emotional side. (Even if they say they are…over time they want to see strength.) She needs to know you are hurting, but not see you as weak. That balance is hard to strike, but important to find.

2. Sometimes writing a letter works better than talking in person, because you can share your true heart, think through your words, etc, without all the emotions being involved. When the relationship is especially strained, we tend to say the wrong things, which backs the other spouse into a corner, causing defenses to rise and emotions to take over the conversation. Read THIS POST about how to write this type letter.

3. As hard as it is, after you’ve told your spouse your heart and what you want, you have to give her some space. Honestly, she’s probably feeling crowded right now. After a woman has wrestled through this as long as she has, when she’s done, she’s done. That doesn’t mean her heart can’t change later, but for now she feels smothered almost to be around you. I’m not trying to add to your hurt here. I am simply giving you the reality from what I have seen many times. That’s why she may talk about one of you moving from the house. Chances are this was a very long process for her and you just found out how severe it is for her. That’s typical.

4. Build yourself up physically, emotionally and spiritually as much as trying to save your marriage. You’ll need that in days to come regardless of what happens and it will make you more attractive. In these days, you should draw closer to the heart of God than you ever have before.

5. Seek professional help. You probably aren’t as capable right now of making wise decisions. Find someone to help you do this. Ideally this would be professional Christian counseling with you and your wife, but could be a mature friend or minister. Regardless, get personal help if your wife will not go with you.

6. Do your best not to make stupid mistakes during this time. It’s hard to do, because you are vulnerable, but you don’t want the marriage set back further than it is. Spend time in personal reflection, asking God and yourself what you did to contribute to this situation. If you already know your blame, seek God’s forgiveness, your spouse’s and anyone else you have injured.

7. Surround yourself with a few other men you can trust. Be accountable, open and honest with them. It’s especially helpful, and they are plentiful, to find men who have walked where you are walking and survived.

8. Realize that any change of heart in your spouse is going to take longer than you would hope it would. A woman’s heart usually changes slower than a man’s heart. Be patient. Pray that God brings the right people and influences in her life and that her heart changes towards you.

Please know I’m praying for you as I type this. My prayer is that your marriage will be saved, your wife’s heart will change, and the two of you will grow a marriage that glorifies God. Also, again, this post is not professional counsel. You didn’t pay me to receive this, so don’t hold me accountable for it’s success. I can’t stress enough that every situation is different. I would suggest, although, that these situations often have similar characteristics. Hopefully some of this will help.

Men/Women, what would you add to this?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 75 Comments

  • Mike says:

    Hi, my wife and I been together for 10 years, we have a 2 years old kid, we moved from our country because the problem it is facing, but after 2 months of been here she decided she is tired of me and told me she wants to be alone, I want to save it, I want to be around my kid all the time, I work from home and this is the first time im away from him, I been giving her space, but What confuse me is that she is been around in these 3 weeks I been out of our home, she slept with the kid in my temporal home a couple of time, so I dont understand it, this whole situation took me to see God and im praying each day for his forgiveness because this whole situation is my fault! But I want to understand why is she around?

  • Billy says:

    What an article. My wife and I have been married for 7 months….yes, that’s it. She was married before and this is my first. Back in mid January things started to crumble. We had some financial issues, which didn’t help my wife’s heart. We had many spats, (No yelling or physical abuse, just dagger words at each other). I threw out the D-word on evening and from there her wall went up. I dove into the word focusing on 1 Peter 3:7 and Ephesians 5 and started to honor my wife with love and kindness, with no remorse in heart. She had stated that she’s not in love with me anymore, she made a mistake marrying me, and in one of our two concealing sessions, she said she’s not attracted to me. We are now separated, and I am hurting bad. I can’t focus at work or seeking God is a struggle. I have “little hope”, that’s it, but the flicker of hope is very low. Our counselor said since our marriage is in a “holding pattern” we both need to focus on “self care”, doesn’t sound biblical, but I’m trying to reinvent my life. The strange thing is, is when the counselor wanted to talk to us individually, he asked my wife if there was infidelity on her part and she said no. Then he asked her, if she feels these hard feelings towards me, why doesn’t she cut me loose. She said because of the wedding vows. It hurts that her heart is hard, but doesn’t want to make contact to really talk about things. Nonetheless, like the article says, maybe she needs this space. Praying Gods grace is with her and He softens her heart.

    • Rob says:

      I’ve just read this after my wife of nearly 30 years has told me that she is in love with a younger man.

      I will take advice and draw closer to god,I need to let her go and be happy,but I’m just like that weak broken puppy,that makes things worse

  • Mike says:

    My story is this, anger. Anger towards my wife ,
    Anger towards my kids . I need to get help . Stay off drugs and not loose my family . My wife is all but gone , but the relationship with my daughter hurts the worst . If I have any advise for addicts it's this , sober up and be a man, let your wife live and love life so when you are together she wants to be in your safe arms . Love God and put him first .

  • John says:

    Thank you, Ron. I am going through this right now and it is extremely sad, hard and hurtful. I am a believer and have prayed to God so very much to save my marriage yet I feel that It still is slipping away in spite of my pleas. How do you continue without losing faith?

    • Ron Edmondson says:

      The key to faith in all circumstances is to not base it on your circumstances but on the object of your faith. God is trustworthy. Trust His eventual outcome when you can’t understand the current path.

    • Doug O'Connor says:

      Thank you for these words.

  • David says:

    Have been married 29 years. 7/19/2015 W drops Bomb saying she has no feelings for me, does not love me and wants a D. She filed 8/11/2015. Moved out 9/28/2015. Restarted D proceedings March 2016. We completed mediation 6/23/2016 and D will be final after 9/1 unless she has a change of heart. Thru the whole time she has spent zero effort to work with me to save our marriage, I have done everything I know to save our marriage: Counseling, parish priest, self-help courses and books, read everything out there, pray. The past 5 mos (the anger subsided) have treated my W with kindness and love. She hardly talks to me and when she does it is short and not always sweet. we have 4 grown kids and loving families and friends on both sides. I have written multiple letters, emails where i take responsibility for my shortcomings. She has not taken responsibility for anything, including citing her 2 year affair as her little mistake….which I fully forgave her for. Much of the past year she has been angry with me about financial decisions made 16 years ago. Anyway. am heartbroken but don't know what else to do? Have given it to God.

  • Jeramy Rust says:

    I read your blog and was drawn to comment. Here is my history.
    We have been married going on 23 years. Every since we have been married my wife has told me she hated me, wanted a divorce and never felt like she was my first choice and that my youngest daughter was not mine. After hearing all those things for countless years I had a weak moment and spent the weekend with an ex-girlfriend. She had beat me down so much that I wanted out. After I came back we went to talk to a counselor. Didn’t go as planned. She felt attacked. I realized that I had never been the husband and father I needed to be and vowed to be that person from them on. Its been a very rocky road for the 4 years since then. Within the last 3 months my wife has said she isn’t in love with me and is moving out. She has told our 3 kids that the only reason she is still here is because of them. I know I’m not perfect and have never been the husband or father God intended but I love my wife and can’t stand the fact that she doesn’t love me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m lost.

  • Hello Ron,
    I have read your report .My problem is that my wife left me on 7/31/2015 but we started seeing each other in 9/24/2015 every thing was going very well until a friend told me something about my wife went was a child and I became very sad 2 week gone by so I ask my wife if this happen to you and she said no so I did not bring it up anymore .So she ask me was it her friend that told me and I said yes. she did nothing for 2 month on 1/12/2016 she went to talk to the pastor of our church and the same she went to talk to her friend and the next day I got a text from my wife I am not coming home and we are done.We did not talk or text any more On Sunday 3/13/2016 I say another friend of my wife and she said to me That my wife will not return to me and I was hurt It very hard for me to give her up Please help me with this. I have been talking to my pastor but its going very slow and my wife stop going to church.

  • Jacob says:

    Hi my name is Jacob and I’ve been married to my wife for 9 years. We met right after I became a Marine and got married six months after. We have a 6 yr old son and live in Japan. Just recently my wife told me that she wants to have some space and possibly move back home. hearing this crushed me. She said it so coldly in my opinion. Like she had no feelings invested. I broke down in front of her and she didn’t shed a tear. For the last two days I’ve been trying to talk to her and it’s almost like I have to force her. We went to counseling yesterday and she was more worried about the time we were there than fixing any issues that we have. I would just say that she doesn’t care and has given up but immediately after she kisses me and wants to pick dinner up for us. She still sleeps with me cuddles tells me I love you and shows affection but I feel like theirs mixed signals going on here. She says that we lost our spark and she feels their a cycle going on and she’s tired of it. What do I do? I love her more than life itself and I just couldn’t give up on her ever. She’s my everything and I’d do anything to fix what’s going on with us. Please help me!

  • James Wilson says:

    I know this is an older post, but my situation is a troubling one. I am a soldier currently deployed to Africa. The day I left, she told me that divorce was her path for our marriage. I was crushed to say the least. We have been married only 9 months and it has definitely had its ups and downs. We also, just purchased a house in our hometown, as I was going to get out of the military in order to start a family and life near our friends and family. I wasn’t the husband God wanted me to be. Although I was loyal, I wasn’t trusting and was always worried about what was happening that I didn’t know about. My military mindset of “prepare for the worst” has ultimately drove me and my spouse apart. This is my second marriage by the way. My first ended after she was unfaithful, and even though I was willing to save it, she ended the marriage and quickly married the guy whom she had an affair with. Some of that baggage and worry definitely followed me into this marriage. On another note, we have been to Christian marriage counseling just very recently and it worked for us, but I fell back into my untrusting habits again thinking about my upcoming deployment and how things have happened in the past. My wife said that “it’s over” and “we should both walk away peacefully and not make this harder than it already is on either of us”. I do not think my wife would physically cheat on me, but my hyper-vigilance and worry says otherwise to her. She has basically said there is no hope. I pray continually, and with 6 months to go on my current deployment, I pray that God can grant me wisdom to do what I need to show my wife that the marriage is not only salvageable, but can also be better than we ever imagined. She is a Christian as well, I might add. She has said “how many times do I forgive you?” and that I have “ruined her idea of what marriage is.” At this point all I can do is pray and hope that God can change her heart. Is there any other advice that you could give that would help me in this trying time?

    • ronedmondson says:

      I think all you can do is pray – and work on you. You are admitting your mistakes but you need to keep working on yourself. You can't change another person only yourself. And, regardless of what happens with your marriage you will be a better person. Keep the prayers going that God does a miracle in the heart of your wife. Praying for you. And thanks for serving our country. 

  • Geoff says:

    I don’t know what to do or if there is even anything i can do… I have been unfaithful to the love of my life in a bad way. In a weak moment that is not me i replied to a sleezy internet ad for a discreet encounter with someone. The ad was fake and i had no intentions on actually going through with something like this, but its already happened and i cant take it back. She found the email in my phone and says it us disgusting and is basically the same as me soliciting a prostitute. She said she wouldn’t be able to respect herself if she took me back. Though i didn’t cheat she views it as i did or would have and doesn’t believe that this was a terrible one time mistake. I’ve known her for close to 15 years and we’ve been together for the last 5, and we were within a year of engagement/ house together(were in apt.) and starting a family in the near future as we both have just turned 30. This is only a few days in and i feel empty. I am confiding in close friends and family. I’m so miserable and would absolutely do anything to regain her trust. This relationship is everything to me and i feel that she is truly the love of my life and that we are meant to be together forever. I need any help i can get

    • ronedmondson says:

      I think I would give it a few more days before I did much. Maybe text or email only once a day a simple message such as – I love you and am here. Praying for you. – then see in a week or so if she's willing to talk further. She needs some time to get out of a stun zone. 

      • Geoff says:

        Thank you for the reply. I am giving it a few more days. When i have a chance i am going to get all my stuff out of the apartment and give her time and space. I am going to write and mail her a letter first. I’m willing to give this time, I don’t know if that will be a few weeks or months. I am afraid if too much time goes by i may lose her as she is a person that likes to have someone around for a comfort aspect, as she has a medical condition and can sometimes be afraid to be alone if anything were to happen. I know I’m the one thats always supposed to be there for her and i pray that she can once again realize that. She is also a beautiful, smart, and very successful professional and she could have anybody she wants and nobody would think twice about being with her. I am so scared to lose her and just wish there was something i could do to prevent that

    • Bill says:

      My wife and I were married in out teens, 19 and 17. It’s now been over thirty years. She was my first girl friend and we got married. I know the first half of the marriage I was very controlling, for fear of her leaving me for greener pastures. She is all I know. She believes I am obsessive love disorder and that I smother her. She has had about a 5 year text/phone relationship with a former friend of mine. I’m pretty sure it’s not physical, but I worry about that all the time. She wants to be on her own to see what she is like without me. I know we have to separate as deep down, I know I will finally find out who I am. But the devastation of trying to pick myself back up and move forward is so very difficult. I have to realize that this won’t fix overnight. Obsessive or not. I do know I am completely in love with her, but I do believe I be obsessive to a degree. Is there the chance she may come back and how do I not continue to hope she will, as that will damaging to me should she not. Looking for advise.

  • Tony D. says:

    The things you have explained in your suggestions are frightfully right on queue with what I am currently going through. My wife just blind sided me with wanting to leave a month after renewing our vows for our 15th anniversary. She said she just done and has been slowly falling away from me and has been recently tempted to look at other guys. It's been nearly impossible to not beg her to stay and she only stays for worry of what I might do if she leaves. We are both Christians but as much as she says she prays for us I feel she doesn't want it to work anymore or I think God would have given her a change of heart. She's my everything and ive given her the world but she says it's her not me and that I have Ben the perfect husband outside of being overly sexually needy which has become her biggest reason for not wanting to stay. I've been dramatically better with giving her space but she refuses to let go of the past even though she says I'm a completely different man. Does anyone really divorce because there is too much sex? Alot of people I ask say there must be something else going on with her or in her head….

  • Bob says:

    Me and my wife have been married 18 years and together 20 she said she loved me but not in love with me. And she moved out we still talk every day. And I found out she was having a affair and called her out we are now going to do couples counciling I'm praying to God that it's works. I think she is in a midlife crisis I have asked what I did wrong but she said its her that I didn't do anything wrong and I also begged wrong thing to do all I can do is read my bible go to the counslser and pray

  • Steven Surnear says:

    Most of what you have said I have been doing wrong. My wife and I have been together for three years, a little over a month ago she decided she was done and left. We still talk almost every day, and she said she will “think” about us getting back together but says I am being to pushy by trying to be romantic and win her heart back. I am trying to give her space but it is so hard. I was once a strong Christian but since she left I have backslid away from God…. I blamed him for not answering my prayers to help me save my marriage. I want to get my life back spiritually like I had before but every time I pray or try to read my bible I get angry. I love my wife so much and want her back. What do I do? If you reply to this you can message me on Facebook or email me. I dont know what to do anymore please help :'(

    • ronedmondson says:

      I wish I had a easy answers for you, but there are no magic answers. When the heart has changed the only thing that matters is the heart changing back towards you or God intervening. My personal advice would be to work on you and your relationship with God more than trying to change your wife's heart. The best chance you have is if you are in a vibrant relationship with God and you personally aren't the best place emotionally, spiritually, etc. keep praying, do smart things – and begging is never one of them – and hope that God changes her heart or she chooses to try again. Don't completely ignore her, but don't wear her out either. Praying for you

  • Here’s my situation any advice would be great. We’ve been together 7.5 I’ve had an on/off again drug problem but this time there’s a twist. Some time in my black out I called some escort service for whatever reason. I’ve never cheated on her before and I didn’t this time either. She’s pretty upset rightfully so. How do I save this? Can you help me or am I just done. This stuff aside I hit my bottom this time I can feel it in my heart I’ve thrown myself into AA and am really giving everything I have to the program not just to get my stuff back it’s really to get and stay sober. I kno it’s finally over this time, it just took a long while to get here. She doesn’t believe me and she shouldn’t I’ve lied so much she just can’t. If you can help or need more info please by all means e mail me back. I’m open to anything. Thanks. Phillip

    • ronedmondson says:

      Phillip, nothing is hopeless. Honestly, though, there are no magic words I could say or write that would turn things around. Yours is a tough one. I would make sure you're first right with God then find someone who can sit with you and help you through this time. Probably either a pastor who can commit the time or a good Christian counselor. Find a church in your area and start asking for help. Praying for you.

  • Allen says:

    My wife has moved out and is staying with her sister she yold me a week ago its over and moved out.

  • Will says:

    hi Rod, first off I found this site by just looking on the web searching and looking for answers to understanding things better.thank you for this information because I think it helps a lot of people even myself although I have friends strong Christian friends who have told me a lot of the things you’ve said in this column.
    Okay me and my wife is been married for 16 years together 18 we were married at 20 and 21 I’m 38 and she’s 37 now and this past July 2014 my wife told me that in fact she didn’t love me she doesn’t think she ever loved me upon a bunch of other hurtful things. Most of the stuff is unbelievable to me because my wife has such a servants heart and has told me I love you you share lots of moments and everything over all these years we have to girls together The oldest is 17 years old the youngest is three years old, and yes for the record I love my wife with all of me she is a part of me and I want my marriage to work we are not at each other’s throats although I’ve had with her a few emotional conversations which we don’t have anymore we’ve had one big fight this past month the biggest fight we’ve had an 18 years and since then we’ve still communicate and talk but it’s more like friends and all her terms so I kinda just give her the space i’m hoping she needs for us to start to reconcile we still sleep in the same bed of course no touchy no feeling every thing that keeps us together she has pulled apart, again we still sit at the table and pray before meals with the girls I’m sure the girls know when something is not right kids are not dumb, anytime we do have a good chat and she starts to laugh she’ll pull back and push away I have not been pushing trying or anything at all because one I’m afraid to do something and get pushed away or to show just shut me down right from the beginning I’m trying to wait in hopes that my wife will come to me. I have joined the gym to keep busy I do work and I do a lot of things with my girls every day to keep ourselves occupied I put a lot of trust in God that he’s going to work things out for the better although that doesn’t mean my marriage will work out but I’m believing it will so anyway my question to you is we are both refusing to leave the house which I think is a good thing because I told her I would not allow my kids to see me leave they have to know that I have put 150% in this relationship all the time every day and I’m not giving up but my wife has said you’re going to make me leave and I told her if that’s what you feel you have to do you have to do but she has also said I don’t want to be marked as abandoning my house and I told her the same with mebut at the end of the day it’s really not about the house we neither one of us or material people I think she wants it to work but she has to trust God to make it work she has told me a week ago that things are not getting better and my response was honey for things to get better we have to try we have to communicate we have to force ourselves to make it work and believing God to help us through the process and I believe it’ll work but it’s getting her to follow through with that plan she believe God is telling her he wants her to be alone and I told her God would not go against his word she says we were married young I says I know I remember I was there but my love for her strong and I know she loves me and I told her at the end of the day that’s an excuse we never argued before this incidentwe never had any issues I must admit we have not shared a lot of goals or set goals for our future together and let the romance die a little which goes both ways but I will take the high road and say mainly me we both Kind of got busy with life and they really look to each other and did everything for kids, so it’s hard to kinda understand that your wife Who has said I’ve been a great husband great father great man do everything and anything I can for her in every way shape or form and I have been a blessing to her many ways for her to say she wants out it makes no sense and she’s trying to make me leave I almost feel like she’s trying to use me as a scapegoat to leave so I believe I shouldn’t leave so I just wanted to know your thoughts I’d appreciate it and I’d appreciate any prayers, believing God will get me through this God bless

  • Vernon says:

    Ron, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom concerning the healing of a marriage. I'm only 5 weeks from a court date (divorce), and I've tried everything humanly possible to convince my wife not to go thru. Your analysis of what's going on is right on the mark – all the syptoms are just as you say (that includes the fact I've lost almost all since of pride (i'm on pieces). I only have weeks left to avoid the worst, and I believe the only one able to save our marriage is God. I've fasted, prayed, i've pleaded with my wife to stay, shown acts of love. This evening, I will take the steps you recommended because i've got nothing left – things are in the hand of God – pray for us.

  • Joe Taylor says:

    I made the mistake of begging. It all happened so sudden that I broke down and begged. I’ve since stopped the begging but I hope its not too late. My wife told me we were done after ten years of marriage. I am definitely mostly to blame. I neglected her emotional needs and was unfaithful to her. I have been trying to give her space but she comes to my house almost everyday visiting with my family. I moved my elderly and sick parents into my house after my wife moved out and my sister moved in as well. My wife and my sister are best friends and my sister has told me that she doesn’t believe that my wife is truly done with me just yet. My wife of course still tells me she’s done though, but confides in my sister. I’m not really sure what she wants. I know my wife tells me that I don’t love her and only want to control her. I really do love my wife. I dont want to control her in any way shape or form. I want her to be my partner. I need all the help I can get. Any advice?

  • Roger says:

    My wife of 12 years told me she didn't love me any more. She got sick several years ago. She couldn't work any more, and it was hard on our marriage. I know, now – but was completely surprised when she told me, that we had lost a romantic connection. She wanted it so much…even just a few months earlier this year she was still trying.

    Then she met a man online that gave her that connection, and this was the result. That was about 50 days ago. I will say this, I got online, and I read every resource – first thing. I did, to the best of my ability, not to beg. I did, to the best of my ability, to work on myself. I lost 40lbs – too fast maybe, but I'm feeling healthy and the weight loss makes me feel good. I have rekindled old friendships and kept a busy social schedule. I gave her space – she has been on vacation out of the country for two weeks.

    Although there continues to be little trust, what is said so far is – 1, that she did end the online relationship, and this may be true. And two, she has been sometimes saying "I love you all" – meaning me and the kids. And once said simply "I love you" talking directly to me.

    It's hard to know when to express love without seeming needy, while – trying to express and build our love.

    She always said she loved me, but not as a man. She hasn't yet removed that restriction. I see her mood shifting. I see that she is less stressed and more happy. To me, divorce would lead towards stress, and she doesn't want that, she wants to be unstressed. So maybe, things are on the right path.

    I appreciate the advice people gave, and I think it has been accurate. I do not know if I can rebuild our relationship, or if there is more trouble ahead. I try to be strong – in some ways I've been strong. But, in some ways…I secretly do not want to lose her. I could find another woman someday – but my heart is with her. If someday she loves me 'as a man' again…that, will be a happy day.

    She is coming back on Sunday. As far as I

  • Tom says:

    Sheesh…. one more last thing. She encourages me to use the elliptical at home every morning while she is at the gym. So i do. I don’t see here because i am gone before she gets home. Is this a problem?

  • Tom says:

    My wife of almost 20 years told me 2 weeks ago that she is done. I admit that I am responsible for probably 85% of the problems (emotional affair 3 years ago / taking for granted / etc). Things were actually fun over the last few months. There was just a last straw incident.

    I have a question or two:

    *I have stopped the ‘begging’ and now i just calmly talk about it when i am around her. Is that the same thing as begging .. in her head? I’ve spoken my peace verbally and in a letter. Should i just SHUT UP?

    *How do you define ‘space’? Is it total non-contact? I am currently living in my dad’s spare bedroom, less than 5 minutes from my house. I go see my kids frequently. She is always there when i see them. I even spent the past weekend doing yard work with her. Though cordial, any attempts to get a little close were met with pushback.

    I’m so confused. I’m worried that if i do nothing, she will be impossible to bring back. Yet i know that she needs space.

    Any suggestions?

    Ps – we are both seeing individual therapists.

    • Tom says:

      Just another quick post script.. she encourages me to come over and see the kids whenever I want, which makes this even more difficult. She doesn’t go out while i am there.

  • Dr. J. says:

    I neglected my wife. I unfortunately took her for granted and let her be alone. She found solace in the attention of another man. This went on for months under my nose w/o me noticing or realizing it.

    She tells me MONTHS later that she loves another man. He doesn't even live close. He lives across the country. They talk often and she says she will not stop talking to him.

    I've asked her to make this work out. We've been together 8 1/2 years, married 6 1/2. We have wonderful boys too.

    I don't know what to do. I've made the mistake of begging, smothering her. She asked me to give her space. I don't know if she wants space so I leave her alone or she's really overwhelmed w/ me. She hasn't moved out of my house. She says that's what she's doing in "trying to make our marriage work." To me, that means nothing. She shows zero affection, nothing. She's always on her phone chatting on facebook w/ this individual. Ironically, he claims to be a man of God. A.A. in the West Coast.. Pretty crazy.

    He is NOT the problem. He is a symptom of this. He is a symptom of my neglect, but she let him in her heart and didn't stop it. SHE has to stop it. I don't know if she's way over the edge for me to bring her back.

    I pray to God daily for strength, wisdom and for Him to remove the veil over her eyes and see that it's the wrong thing to do. It'll hurt us, our children and our families. She is acting like a 15 year old w/ her first crush, not a mom with kids, a 35+ year old.

    I am so desperate and sad. I want our family to come back. If you read this, please pray for us. That's the only thing that I think will bring change. We need a miracle. Thanks.

    • Noel says:

      Dr. J i hear you. My wife has also given up on our marriate. I am currently struggling with my marriage of 15 years. My wife has been giving me the silent treatment for the last two weeks.n She has done this before many times, but this time it has been worst. We have two children and they have no idea of this silence. She talks to them but avoids any conversation with me or even eye contact. It is like walking on egg shells. I started reading t the Love Dare book. I am no longer a religious person like I used to be. We don't attend church anymore. My wife has expressed some interest in returning to church. I have many doubts about God and religion. She is upset that I went to see my mom to help her with my handicap brother briefly two Sundays ago . But I don't feel I need to apologize for helping my mom especially when I did not leave for the whole day and I even cooked breakfast for everyone before I left. She has expressed anger toward my mom many times in the past. I am afraid my wife is seriously considering separation or divorce. I will keep u on my prayers. Thank you.

  • keith says:

    I know this is an older post. I could use some of those prayers. I found out in January that my wife was having an affair and life has been hell since. She just told me today that she is not sure she can try anymore and doesn’t have enough to give. I know I need give space but it also scares me to do so. I can’t believe this is happening. Going to try and use some of your advice though. Thank you for writing this.

  • mdt says:

    Thank you for this. I've just been told, yesterday in fact, that my wife wants to leave me. I am devastated and needed to read this today.

  • Ann says:

    My husband told me on thanksgiving night he's not sure he wants our marriage of 16 years to work. I left for 2 days but returned home after I felt God telling me I needed to. After I returned home I told him he could have the time he needed to sort this out. Since then he has slept on the couch & in his truck. He is now sleeping in our bed with me, but he doesn't speak to me & only mumbles he loves me in front of the children (ages 8 & 10). He says his spiritual life is fine & that when he prayed about our marriage God told him, "whatever happens, happens". I told him that was wrong because he can't back it up with what the Bible says. He became very angry & became angry when I suggested we pray together. He is still attending church with me & pretends everything is fine. I am still telling him I love him, being polite, but other than that am not speaking to him in order to give him the time he has requested. I have turned it over to God. I am walking closer to God now than I ever have & am honestly thankful for this time. Please pray for him & our marriage & our family. Thank you.

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  • Mike says:

    I’ve hit the wall, my wife just got back from her fathers house out of town and before she left she told me that she is done trying to make this work that she’s not going to divorce me but she cannot promise she’s gonna turn everything around and pretend to be in love with me. She said she was gonna just give this relationship over to God. Honestly that’s all I could ask for at this point. When she got back from her dads she was distant and said she didn’t want to come back. She told me “I don’t know if I can make this work, that she dosnt have It in her. I didn’t, although extremely hard to do, try to convince her to stay although I did slip. I know in my heart I want her to be happy but I truly believe I can get there with her. We rushed into the marriage but I do believe God can fix this. I’m staying a a buddies house until she contacs me but until then all I can ask for is your prayers for us that God will bring her back and I can be there for her in the way she needs. I pray for all of you that are suffering as well.

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  • Thanks for this post, i have driven my wife away with flirting with other girls through text and not treating her like the queen she is. im going to fight forever if i have to to get her back. ive done horrible things but Ive never cheated on her sexually with another women. prayers are needed for me and my beautiful wife jazmyn.

  • mike says:

    Ron I hope this works for me I have had a messed up past and my wife wont let it go. I always said i was going to get help and never did. But now im in counseling and on medication to help. The hardest part is that she says shes done but when she came to the house to get the rest of her things I held her and kissed her and she didnt pull away. Im so lost im not sure what to do anymore. Im trying to improve myself and i started making changes in my life already. I just dont want to lose my marriage after five years and im not trying to lose her after nine years of beimg together. I wasnt the best husband I could of been and I know that. I want to show her after time things will get better and I want to start a family with her and I know she wanted the same thing. I keep praying to god asking forgiveness and I sit at my grandmothers grave site to ask forgiveness and assistance in life. My gram loved her to death and I feel like I failed her and everyone else. I love my wife and she is my soul mate and I cant live without her. Any advice will be appericated cause I need it thanks

  • tjay says:

    i dont treat my wife like a princesse she is now is callin the married off what can i do …..

  • Tjay says:

    I need advice on what to do my wife says is over bcos ile's too much to her but thanks her she make me to see jesus what i can do ppl

  • Nick says:

    Thank you for this advice

  • Brandon says:

    I appreciate this advise its to the T and im glad it came from a man of the lord 🙏thank you , Brandon

  • Chandler says:

    Thank you. Too many of us don't treat our wives as the princesses they are. We're young in our marriage and I already struggle with that. I love her more than I can say, but I still have such a hard time with being selfish until I've hurt her. Thank you for your advice. I know God lives and I trust him to bless me through the atonement of his Son Jesus Christ.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks be to God for reminding me there is hope. Though I do not know what the result will be on and after Christmas Day and especially in the new year, I pray and want to courageously trust God. Thank you for your post.

  • Roon says:

    If he has proven untrustworthy he could try getting serious about "it will never happen again". He needs to learn what integrity is, and live it in every part of his life so that she can see that he is spiritually changed. That can take a very long time, so he needs to be patient. Of course, there does come a point when she has heard the sweet words so many times, and seen them broken an equal number of times, that there really is nothing left to work with. He has killed her love for him, but even if a thread of it remains, her trust is gone, and without that there is nothing. Let it go. There is nothing you can do.

  • anonymous says:

    Don't forget to ask her to stay. When I left my husband of 23 years, he quoted Scripture to me, he tried to manipulate the situation, he cried to the leaders of our church. But it never occurred to him to simply say, "Please don't go." Maybe he was too proud to do that. Would I have stayed if he had asked? I don't know. All I'm saying is please don't be so hell-bent on making her see the error of her ways that you forget to ask her to stay.

  • MarkT says:

    Ron, I just found this post, and wish I had discovered it when you first wrote it. Thanks for your words of wisdom, and allowing the Holy Spirit to use you to reach so many of us out here who have completely blown it with our wives.

  • Keep God First says:

    Focus on "what we can do now" face-to-face, and sort out the things that you know you have not been able to resolve alone, with a counselor.

    If there is only one thing left that is being done as a team, become someone your wife can depend on to do your part. I don't know how other wives feel, but much of the time I feel like I've been doing marriage and parenting by myself most of the time.

    It would be nice if husbands in this situation would do something other than pretend things are fine, blow up and give up, or ignore problems in hopes that they will go away by themselves. Ken Sande's "The Peacemaker" is a great tool for learning how to resolve conflict… discerning "forgiveness issues" from problems which require work in order to remove the alienation caused by sins against one another.

    I think a stronger commitment to keeping accounts short (from now on) is in order.

    Communicate daily about the things you are frustrated about, be honest and transparent, and confess your sins against her to her so that God can bring about the process of redemption and reconciliation in your marriage, just as He does in our relationship with Him.

    Learn to fail her honestly instead of stuffing frustration and hiding things you know would hurt her if she knew.

    Take the initiative to build her trust. For example, if one of the problems was pornography, don't label it a forgiveness issue and leave it as her problem. Move the computer to the family room, have her set up Safe Eyes, and don't ask for the password.

    Go into one of the children's rooms after work and guide them through the process of sorting out their dresser drawers. I've been doing that for over 20 years, by myself.

    The Bible reminds us love can overcome a multitude of sins; do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

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  • TSE says:

    I begged. It is one of the biggest mistakes I made. Because I'm not sure it was from a sincere place – but from a place of desperation, and my ex didn't care at that point anyway.

  • Jon says:

    One additional point that may be more specific than generic since it's possible that the relationship may not get this far. I've gotten to a point in my marriage where my wife and I do interact some. Some days it's sparse and some days it's quite significant. My stance here is that I am commanded to love her unconditionally. It's not based on anything she does or says, I just do it anyway. I present to her every day a consistent picture of a loving committed Christian husband. I try to be husband, provider, protector, and servant. One of my favorite books is "Sacred Marriage". In one chapter the author talks about not loving her "because", but loving her "anyway". And so I do.

  • Paul says:

    I agree with some of your points, but the biggest mistake a person can make is to tell to many people or all your friends. Like crying on everyone’s shoulder. It can make things worse.
    Pray to the Lord, talk to a pastor and a close friend that you can trust. In my personal exp. The Lord is the only one that can really help.

    • I agree with you Paul. Keep the circle small. Obviously the Lord is always the best help, which is why I included Him in the post. I totally disagree though with trying to do it alone. The Lord created us for community we were not meant to live life alone. Men do crazy things when left alone at a time like this.

      • Keep God First says:

        Women do crazy things when left alone at a time like this, too. I totally agree with your emphasis on community, Pastor Ron. How else is a wife to be convicted of how she is contributing to the problems that brought the marriage to this point? I believe God uses objective, Christ-centered mentors to sanctify marriages as well as individuals, and that hiding our problems only gives Satan a foothold.

    • Jon says:

      I agree to a point. You are right in that you don't want to go around with your heart on your sleeve sharing with everyone you meet the intimate details of this hurt or even that there is a hurt. I'm in such a situation and I have joined a group of men in my church and we share with each other and support each other in prayer and with advice and sometimes with just listening and corporately praying for some specific problem. Beyond that I've shared this with my pastor, one elder who is also a close friend, and one other close friend and his wife; asking for prayer. I've seen the change in my life because of the prayer that goes on and have appreciated the support from the circle of men I am involved with. We're not there yet, but there are days when the tunnel doesn't seem as dark.

  • Tricia says:

    check out _Understanding the Mind of a Woman_. It is the only resource that I've seen that can teach a man how to love his wife as Christ loves the church and woo her back.

  • Craig says:

    Thank you for this post Ron, I need it. It's crazy how God will ALWAYS supply you with an on-time word from someone that is there to help.