Before you file for divorce, it is important to review your situation and determine if divorce is best for you. In some cases, divorce is mutual. Both spouses recognize that their marriage is no longer working, and they seek divorce as a solution to this problem and the hope for happier days. However, in other cases, only one spouse wants a divorce, and the other is blindsided by divorce papers and against the divorce. If you feel that your marriage is still worth saving, and you want to try to stop the divorce that your spouse seems to want, there are a few steps that you can take.
Listening to Your Spouse
The first step to take is to remain calm. This is certainly not the time to overreact and start a fight. Don’t approach your spouse angrily or act petty about the divorce papers – this will only make your spouse defensive and more confident in their decision to file. Instead, try to talk rationally and calmly with your spouse. Sit down with them and ask why they filed for a divorce.
At this time, you need to genuinely listen to your spouse. When you sit down with your spouse to talk about divorce, don’t be blinded by tunnel vision. You shouldn’t be thinking, “I have to make him see that this is the wrong decision” or, “I have to convince her that she is wrong”. Now is not the time to dismiss your spouse’s concerns and make the conversation about you and what you want. Consider the concerns that your spouse has about your marriage and accept the legitimate claims that they make. Don’t diminish your spouse’s unhappiness or brush off what they say. You need to be completely engaged in this conversation so that you can communicate openly and honestly with your spouse.
Reflecting on Your Relationship
At this time, you need to take responsibility for your part in your marital issues. Clearly, if your spouse has filed for divorce, they are unhappy. Reflect on what you have done to contribute to these issues. Own up to your mistakes. At this time, you should validate your spouse’s feelings and concerns so that you can truly make positive changes in your marriage.
Reflect on your conversation and your marriage. After a long talk with your spouse, you need to be honest with yourself about what you want now. Even if you were initially reluctant about getting a divorce, perhaps your discussion with your spouse made you see that the marriage is broken beyond repair. If this is the case, you should begin preparing for divorce.
On the other hand, if you still want to work on your marriage, ask your spouse to revoke the divorce papers, at least temporarily. If your spouse is really set on the divorce papers, try to compromise. Say something like, “Please, let’s work on this for one month. If you still don’t see any changes, we can go ahead with the divorce”. Suggest marital counseling, spending quality time together just the two of you, and ways to bond as a family. These attempts are worth a shot if you want to try to save your marriage.
Saving your marriage will depend largely on your spouse. If they have given up on the marriage, you really can’t do anything to make it work. A marriage needs two people to be invested in the relationship, and if your spouse isn’t, it doesn’t matter how much you want the marriage to continue. If you find that divorce is inevitable, you should contact a divorce lawyer and proceed with the divorce.