Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be determined to save their marriage while the other just isn’t sure if this is what he wants to do. I often hear from the wives who are trying to convince their husbands to work with them in the present time to save the marriage.
I recently heard from someone who wanted to know if you were supposed to give your husband an ultimatum or time deadline on which to make this decision. She said, in part: “for the last two months, our marriage has been very shaky. It’s clear to me that if we don’t get aggressive about saving our marriage, soon there will be nothing left. Things get worse every day and it’s so difficult for me to just watch it happen while doing nothing to save it. I want my husband to make a commitment to work with me to save our marriage. But he won’t make that commitment yet. He says he isn’t sure that our marriage can be saved and he’s not sure if he wants to waste time, money, or go through an emotional roller coaster. Every time I ask him when he might have an answer as to what he wants to do, he says he doesn’t know yet and acts angry that I’m pushing him. But in the meantime, our marriage continues to deteriorate. Should I give him some deadline to make his decision? I feel like my life is in limbo while I wait for him. It seems so unfair that every thing rests on his decision but I can’t live my life just waiting.”
This is a very common complaint. Many wives believe that their husbands aren’t acting (or deciding) quickly enough and it begins to seem as if he’s never going to make a move or take a chance. You’re right that this delay is frustrating and unfair, but there’s a real danger in pushing him too swiftly toward the answer that you’re hoping he won’t give you. I will discuss this more in the following article.
How Long You Wait For Your Husband To Make A Decision About Saving Your Marriage (Or Letting It Go) Often Depends On How Invested You Are In That Same Marriage: I do understand losing patience with this process. When I was trying to save my own marriage (and my husband eventually moved out,) this whole turn of events seemed to drag on forever. And while I sometimes wanted to speed up time so that I could see how the whole thing was going to resolve itself, I was sometimes afraid of exactly this because I knew that there was a chance that once he made a final decision, that same decision might be to go ahead and divorce me and end the marriage for good. I was very clear on the fact that this was not what I wanted. So, I was ultimately will to wait as long as it took (although I didn’t like having to wait all that much.)
However, I was always pretty determined that as long as there was still a chance that he might decide to work with me to save our marriage, I owed it to myself to not rush him into giving up or deciding to move on because he was tired of me constantly pressuring him or reminding him of how long I’d been waiting for him to make up his mind. Yes, that was frustrating, but I always thought that as long as I could wait without a definite and final no, then we still had a chance. And as long as I was able to see at least some progress or bright spots in an otherwise delicate process, I was willing to have more patience than I ever though possible from me.
I would certainly understand a different thought process, especially if you harbor some doubts about your marriage also. It’s easier to walk away under a certain time frame if you yourself aren’t completely invested and harbor your own doubts.
There’s Plenty That You Can Do On Your Own To Save Or Work On Your Marriage While You’re Waiting for Your Husband To Make A Decision: Although I really don’t like the phrase “work on your marriage” because it implies negative connotations which make many people resist committing to it, you should know that this process is completely possible alone, especially in the beginning. You don’t need your husband’s commitment or even his full cooperation to get started.
There is plenty that you can begin doing without announcing it or even asking for his permission or cooperation. You and you alone can take inventory of your marriage, it’s issues, and your husband’s perceptions about the same all on your own. Your job is to change your husband’s perceptions and negative feelings about those issues (to the extent that you can) without his cooperation or even his knowing what you are doing.
Here’s just one example. A very common complaint that I hear from husbands in this situation is that the “spark is gone” and that they don’t want to have to express their feelings or go to counseling to get back something that has long been dead. They see this as a waste of time, money, and their emotional resources (which they don’t like to share anyway.) But, what if you could begin to make progress in this area on your own and what if your husband could reap the rewards without having to lift a finger? Do you think he might change his mind about cooperating, committing, and saving your marriage then?
Because nothing says that you can’t channel the woman who first put a spring in your husband’s step with her playful personality and her infectious laugh. There’s nothing that says you can’t remain positive and playful so that he responds how you want him to even when you might both have some doubts. Yes, this requires you to take a chance. And you might have to stay the course when he looks at your with a bit of confusion in his eyes because he isn’t sure where all this is coming from. But what does it matter when you’re taking the first steps toward saving your marriage, making important improvements, and likely bringing about that positive decision and commitment from him that you’ve been waiting for all along? My answer to the posed question is that if you’re invested in your marriage, you’re often willing to wait as long as it takes while gently nudging your husband toward the desired answer. And I personally think that ultimatums and deadlines often backfire.