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What to Do When One Spouse Wants a Divorce?

Updated on October 8, 2016
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Stevie G. is a Life Coach, Educator and Researcher. He is the founder of Infinite Visionary Training Center in Minnesota.

Painful Impact of Divorce

The impact of divorce on a family can be devastating in a number of ways. The pain, anguish and bitterness between the couples and children cannot be measured. Some individuals never entirely overcome the experience, especially children. Low self-esteem and feelings of failure and shame accompany divorce.

Like a lightning bolt it came out of nowhere. You noticed the signs but you thought that it would blow over like it had done so many other times. Your spouse has made it known that he or she wants a divorce. Now you are totally at odds with yourself. You are wondering what you are going to do next. There is no other option. You have to respond.

Epidemic of Divorce

Millions of marriage end this way. One spouse surprises the other with the heartbreaking request for divorce. Studies show that there were over 118,140 divorces in England in 2012 alone. This was an increase of 0.5%. Studies in American show that approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce court. Sadly, divorce is a monster. It destroys families, communities and nations.

Reasons for divorce

Divorces occur for a number of reasons, including financial pressures, lack of intimacy and communication, issues with in-laws, unwillingness to compromise or negotiate, distance between couples and failure to grow together. Usually one person outgrows the other and the relationship becomes stagnant. Whatever may be the cause, the unwillingness today to work through the trials and tribulations of a marriage is epidemic.

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Dishonoring the Sacred Vow

Couples have forgotten about the sacred vow of “until death do us part.” At the sign of the least little discontent in the relationships, couples may conclude that the marriage wasn’t meant to be or that they married for the wrong reasons. However, in any great marriage, the couples will testify that it was the problems and challenges that built character and brought the relationship where it is today. Conflict within a marriage must be worked through in order to make the marriage strong and sustainable. Unless couples are willing to live beyond the Cinderella “Happy Ever After” complex, they may very well be in line to become another statistic in divorce court.

Appropriate Responses to the Threat of Divorce

Self -Appraisal

If you are sincere about saving your marriage, the first thing you should do while facing the prospect of divorce is to examine your own life thoroughly. Where have you fallen short ? What have you been withholding form your spouse: time, intimacy, money or secrets that you would be ashamed of if anyone found out. In a marriage it takes two people to have a conflict. One or the other is not entirely at fault by themselves. So what are you now contributing to the marriage?

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Questions for Men

If you are a man, have you been supporting your wife, both financially and emotionally? In a marriage, the man supposed to take charge of his spouse’s well-being by any means necessary. A woman must feel secure in the ability of her husband to take care of her. She must not be left to take care for her own needs and wants. Unfortunately, this is the case in many marriages; the woman is the sole breadwinner and has been for years. Sooner or later, she may just get fed up with the “one day I will have this or that theory.” As a man, from day one, you must demonstrate your ability to sacrifice for your wife. If a man doesn’t show this type of determination, it is very doubtful that they are ready for marriage.

Rating Your Response To Divorce

What Would You Do if Your Spouse Suddenly Asked for a Divorce?

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Questions for Women

If you are a woman, have you been kind and gentle to your husband? Have you been speaking life into him by encouraging him and telling him how you will stand by him through the storms and rains of life? A man needs this type of intimacy and encouragement from a woman. He needs to know that his spouse is there from him not matter what. Unfortunately, many women tear down their husbands through constant complaints and criticism. Maybe your husband isn’t making enough money that would afford you with the option of staying at home. Maybe your husband is the overly romantic type that speaks terms of endearment to you night and day. Maybe the man that you marriage isn’t as successful as you are in your niche. Nevertheless, if he is giving every bit of his heart and soul to help you in other ways, then you are blessed. Be graceful for what you got and God will do the rest to make your marriage great.

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Hope of Savaging the Marriage

The next step in responding to the threat of divorce is to confront your partner regarding the issue. Arrange to a time to get together and thoroughly discuss the issue. Discover if there is a way to restore the life back into the marriage. If so, be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of saving your marriage. Let go of your busy schedule, your extra times with friends and your tendency to put in too much overtime at work. Let your first priority be your marriage. Go on a vacation. Seek counseling! Whatever it takes, do it.

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Laying it all on the line to save your marriage

If you spouse wants a divorce, don't become overwhelmed with grief. Try every antidote in the book to restore your marriage. Give it your all ,whether you succeed or fail. You'll feel better for the effort if you don't succeed.

Freedom in Disconnecting

However, if one partner is unwilling to attempt to savage the marriage, then you must allow a disconnection to occur and move on. Don’t attempt to fight his or her decision. Don’t set out to prove anything to him in the hope of winning him back. Don’t spend your time stalking her and trying to discover who she is seeing. Instead wish them well. Avoid becoming bitter against your ex-spouse simply because life is way too short to harbor unforgivness within your heart and soul. The grieving process may be unbearable at time. But soon the pain passes and the chance for love will come around again.

Never allow your heart to become closed due to fear of being hurt again. This is not the way of maturity. Set yourself free. Defending yourself in this way will become a stumbling block against new possibilities for love and romance. In order to attract what you want, you heart must be free and willing to deeply love again with no guarantee for success. No one said life would be easy for married couples, especially in these day and times when there so many temptations and distractions against the sacredness of this wonderful relationship.

Couples whose marriage has stood the test of time have overcome the ups and downs of marriage by deciding that staying together is a choice, not a feeling. These couples genuinely love one another because they have grown considerably in character by successfully passing through the conflicts and challenges of marriage.

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