I sometimes hear from wives who are starting to think that their marriage is a lost cause. Often, they are more than willing to do whatever is necessary to reconnect with their husband. But, unfortunately, their husband is not nearly as willing to reconnect with them and this can leave the wife wondering if she even stands a chance.
I heard from a wife who said: “for the last couple of years, my husband and I have been drifting further and further apart. It is to the point where we just avoid one another. We are like roommates. Both of us try to keep busy with our jobs. And we never go out together. If we feel like getting out the house, we go out with our separate friends instead of each other. Frankly, I’m very lonely. And I don’t really see the point of being married when you are not happy and you are not connected with your spouse. My husband is a good man and I love him. But I am not sure that I want to live this way anymore. The other day, I asked for my husband to go on a long vacation in order to reconnect. I was stunned when he announced that he did not want to reconnect with me. He explained that he feels as if our marriage is too far gone and that we are little more than strangers. I certainly would not take it that far. We live together for goodness sake. I think that if we really put our minds to it, then we can get back to where we once were. But I don’t think that this is going to be possible if he’s not even willing to meet me half way. What now?”
I have to disclose up front that what I am about to tell you is only my opinion from my own experience. But I believe that it is possible to reconnect with a reluctant spouse if you are willing to accept gradual progress and you are willing to not telegraph and announce what you are doing. It’s my belief that you don’t always need your spouse’s initial cooperation in order to strengthen or save your marriage. I will discuss this more below.
Sometimes, You Can Reconnect When You Are Not Obviously Trying To Do Just That: Many people assume that in order to reconnect, they are going to need to announce their intentions to their spouse and then, with their spouse’s enthusiastic cooperation, they are going to embark on activities meant for the sole purpose of improving your marriage. There are two problems with this assumption. First, you don’t always have your spouse’s enthusiastic cooperation. And second, when you announce what you are trying to do with a reluctant spouse, you will often get resistance which contributes to the whole think feeling staged or forced. When this happens, you don’t have the best chance of success. Because when things feel off between you despite your obvious efforts, then one or both of you might assume that it is just too hard to reconnect or it just isn’t going to be possible.
What I Think Is A Better Compromise: I think that it is better to just proceed on your own, especially at first. And you don’t need to announce what you are doing. In fact, sometimes it is better not to. Because your goal right now should be to overcome your husband’s objections and reservations about reconnecting. I can tell you that many husbands who comment on my blog are reluctant to recommit because they think that it is just going to be too difficult or ineffective. So, one way to overcome this is to show him that it can be more easy and effective than he thinks. If you can proceed in a light hearted way so that you make relatively speedy and easy progress, he may eventually realize that he was wrong.
How do you do this? You just try to make sure that the two of you have more fun, laugh more, and revisit those things that used to be so easy and meaningful between you. This often isn’t as difficult as you may think. It helps to start very small so that you can get some successes which will build your confidence. Take a walk together. Have a light hearted conversation. Reminisce about old memories and try to create some new ones. Don’t put a lot of pressure on the situation.
It seemed as if both of these spouses were going out on a regular basis but not with one another. A good place to start would be to gradually begin going out more together. Don’t force it so that it feels awkward. Just keep it short and light. If you have fun during one outing, schedule another. If things go wrong, regroup and wait for a bit and then try again.
After you do this for a while, your husband should be more receptive to you. And at that time you can revisit the whole reconnecting issue. But honestly if you do this correctly and have some success with it, you will usually find that you are already well on your way to successfully reconnecting, even if you haven’t defined it or had his full cooperation.