Why Doesn't My Husband Want To Save Our Marriage? Here's Some Possible Reasons

It’s not uncommon for me to hear from wives who are trying to very hard to get their husbands to commit to saving the marriage. In many cases, the wife firmly believes that the marriage can be saved if they both commit to and work on saving it while the husband just doesn’t want to do these things. The wives often just don’t understand it. I often hear comments like “why won’t he try to work with me to save our marriage? Doesn’t he want for us to be able to work things out?” There are many reasons that husbands give up on marriages and / or refuse to try to save them. I will discuss some of these reasons in the following article.

Possibility Number One: He Doesn’t Want To Save The Marriage Because He Has Another Agenda: Occasionally, husbands check out of or don’t want to save the marriage because they have already moved on in their minds or hearts. Wives often assume that he’s interested in or has someone else. This is sometimes true, but it’s not always the case. Often, once husbands have made the very difficult to decision to move on, they don’t want to waiver on this because they don’t like to feel emotionally uncertain. They don’t want to revisit the issue because they don’t truly believe that things are going to change. Of course, if you’re wanting to save your marriage, you’ll need to understand these obstacles and overcome them.

Wives often confess to me that, once they figure out that their husband has moved on, at least in his mind, they are tempted to give up. I understand this, but I have seen this situation turn around enough times to convince me that this situation is rarely completely hopeless, even though there’s not always an immediate resolution.

Possibility Number Two: He Doesn’t Want To Save The Marriage Because He Doesn’t Believe That You Should Have To Work So Hard. Or, “Working” On Saving The Marriage Isn’t Appealing To Him: Many times, wives admit to me that they approach their husband with pleas of getting him to “work” with them on saving the marriage. They will use phrases like: “but if you would just work with me, I know that we could save this marriage together.” Or “with just a little work, we could turn this around.”

These phrases aren’t false ones. And, they aren’t too much to ask. But, the image that they sometimes elicit in husbands isn’t optimal. Often, you would have better results if you could just paint a different mental picture which means the same thing. Many times, when you tell a man that you want to “work” with him on your marriage, what he pictures is you making him discuss his deepest feelings or you telling him what he is doing wrong or where he falls short. Or, he’ll picture a marriage counselor probing his deepest feelings or making what he feels are impossible demands. This is usually not something he wants. He’ll see it as something that isn’t desirable and he’ll either close off or reject it entirely.

You are so much better off if you ask the same thing of him but use different words and therefore end up with different mental pictures. For example, instead of using the “work” or “save” language, you might consider hitting him where you know the target is most effective. In other words, what did he most enjoy about the marriage when things were good? What was his greatest pay off? For many men, this is the physical aspects of your marriage. This is how men often equate an emotional connection. Some men will respond to laughter or something else, but many very much miss the physical intimacy.

In this case, instead of going with the “working on” or “saving the marriage” language, you might approach it with something like “I just really miss feeling so physically connected to you. We use to give off sparks would could ignite fireworks. It was so exciting to me when we connected in that way and I’d love to do that and connect with you in that way again. I truly think we could get back to that place.”

See how this works? You approach him where you know his currency is. Asking him to “work” or “save” is not as effective as asking him to connect.

Possible Reason Number Three: He Doesn’t Believe That The Marriage Can Be Saved Because This Has Played Out Before With Less Than Desirable Results: I dialogue with many men in this situation. Many tell me that they aren’t committing to saving the marriage because they doubt that it can be saved. And, they feel that the previous attempts to save it were not only not that much fun, but were failures. So, they hesitate to repeat the process all over again with the same results.

So, you’ll have to overcome his apprehension and doubt. And, one way to do this is to begin to show him some positive changes and improvements without him even having to be involved. There really is a lot of things that you can improve upon yourself, without needing any cooperation from him. People often doubt this, but it really is true. You have some much power just within yourself and can make changes to the way that you approach, perceive, and carry out things.

And, often when you focus on yourself, you show him some real and lasting changes that weren’t painful to him at all. This is one very effective way to begin to chip away at his resistance and at his doubts.

There was a time when I thought my marriage was truly over. My husband was no longer interested in trying to save our marriage. But a session with a therapist taught me that changes made to myself could go a long way toward changing things in my marriage. This was a strategy that worked much better and it made all of the difference. You can read a on my blog at

Leslie Cane’s blog is at http://isavedmymarriage.com.  She enjoys sharing the story of how she saved her own marriage to help others.

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