An Account Of A Saved Marriage (That Might Help You)

I’ll assume if you are reading this, you already know or suspect that you really do want to save your marriage. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you remember how it used to be. Maybe you realize that moving from one household to two permanently would be both emotionally and financially devastating.
Whatever the reason, it is my belief it CAN be done. How do I know this? I have lived it. Within this article, I will tell you how I happened to do this (although some of it was just really dumb luck, but I finally wised up and hopefully, it doesn’t need to take you that long, nor do you need to be as stubborn as I was.) However, I do need to state, that before we go further, that I’m not a therapist or an expert.  (I highly recommend both.)  Please don’t take my advice as a replacement for your own.  I don’t know your situation and can’t make any guarantees, but I hope that something here is helpful. (If you have any questions about this, please read the terms of service and affililate disclosures.)

Seemingly completely out of the blue, my husband checked out of our marriage. Without going into very personal details, he was pretty darn certain about this decision and only wanted any debate to be who was getting what and how to do it as quickly as possible so that we could go our separate ways. We had no children at that time, but I was crushed, shocked, and despondent all the same. Frankly, I never saw it coming and I’m typically pretty perceptive about these things, for goodness sake. I was going about my merry way thinking everything was AOK.

Obviously, it was wasn’t. After I got over my shock and anger, I was floored, not only at his behavior, which came out of left field, but how sharp a contrast this was to how we used to be. Sure, we’d had our issues, but once upon a time, we were in perfect sync and truly happy, and nothing like the situation on our hands now.

I wanted that back in a big way. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have it. All we needed was for him to just change his mind with this ridiculous break up. So, I panicked and went on a single handed crusade to change his mind through whatever measures necessary — through threats, through begging, through desperate, (and now embarrassing) behavior. I did every single thing I could do to get his attention, sympathy, anger – anything. Looking back, he certainly could’ve accused me of stalking with out too much of a stretch.

And when this didn’t work, or he wouldn’t play the game, I moped. I kicked and screamed. I grieved. I hid. I stopped living my life and was completely miserable. Yes, my situation was horrible and I had no time to prepare of adjust, but I was doing absolutely nothing to help myself.

One day, my husband demanded I stop the silliness. He presented me with what I assumed were the divorce papers and told me if I didn’t get my own attorney, the whole deal should be final in 30-60 days, according to his.

Well, that woke me up. I realized my little tactic wasn’t working, but I had a month or two, give or take to try something new or to just stop this nonsense and move on with my life. I debated getting an attorney, but I couldn’t handle or deal with that. It seemed too final.

At this point, I was just too tired to pick myself up and try something new or better. Instead, I chose to run away from the situation entirely. If I haven’t bored you to tears already, scroll down (you can always scroll down on this blog) orclick here to read part two. (where I make my great escape.)

Part Two My Great Escape

I now had to accept that this was a bad situation that I couldn’t make any decent change with my current desperate plan. Because I was essentially out of options, oh so tired and needing some TLC (which I wasn’t going to get from him), I decided to go back to my hometown (several states away) and hang out with family and old friends.
Yes, this was running away. Yes, this was probably not a good move at the time. But, if I had stayed, I would’ve kept right on going with antics that frankly were beneath the person I wanted to be and knew I really was.

 There was no sinister plan in going home. It was running away, pure and simple. While on the plane heading home, I read the only book I had (Amy Waterman’s Save My Marriage Today), that a “friend” had given me about saving my marriage. It listed things that you ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT DO in order to preserve your personal integrity and sense of power.

Well, guess what? I’d been doing all of the “wrong things”. Turns out, according to the author, saving a marriage often requires behavior that is not intuitive at that time. Sure, give any one a few months, and they’ll realize they’ve been a bit desperate and probably eventually stop, but this is very hard to do when your entire world falls below your feet. Your first instinct, of course, is to stop the distance immediately at all costs. This often doesn’t place you in your best light.

Despite my anger at having been the biggest, most desperate ex ever, I did understand the book’s good points. The author was brilliant at providing check lists so that you can pick out your situation and then gives you a road map to fix it. After reading the book, I saw my roadmap quickly, but I wasn’t going to anything about it. Because I was going to be several hundred miles away.

My trip was actually exactly what I needed. My misery and desperation no longer had a death grip on me. Getting away from the situation was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t realize I was drowning not waving. It was wonderful to see people who loved me just as I was, without picking apart my flaws. I craved more of this. I made arrangements for two of our (and now my) good friends to come and see me at my home in a few weeks. This gave me something to look forward to.

Believe it or not, when I got back, I was not even that desperate to pick the difficult dance back up. I just wanted to keep up with my serenity and I didn’t want to take a step back. I was too tired to start it back up again. Frankly, I was ready to give in and wave my white surrender flag when a strange thing happened. Part Three – The Surprising Turnaround Here.

(affiliate disclosure)

The Suprising Turnaround

I tried to busy myself and continue moving forward. I just wanted to keep my positive momentum going. I was determined to read books that made me happy, dust off my old classic albums that only I enjoyed and just take some alone time to sort things out. Well, guess what? My husband called me out of the blue. He sounded a bit perplexed at to what had changed. Weirder still, he sounded almost concerned and then confused. Almost as though he were worried about, or at least trying to figure out, my sudden silence.

I explained that I’d taken some time back home and was just trying to improve and enjoy myself during what could be a difficult time. I mentioned the stack of albums I’d dusted off and that I was meeting up with old friends of ours who were coming up next week, and how good it had been to see them. There was dead silence on the other end of the phone. Then, a colder tone replaced the earlier one and my husband (or ex, I should say) excused himself.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this. He didn’t like when I pursued him, but now he didn’t seem to like that I wasn’t. I grabbed the book to see if I was doing something wrong, but according to it, I was sort of on the right track, although my method and my tone were not as lighthearted, matter of fact, or open as the book said I should be. I remembered the road map and figured I should maybe take a look at exactly what I should be doing. I read it again several times and put the plan in the back of my mind. I also got my hands on another book called  “The Magic Of Making Up,” which is all about coming up with make up strategies when your partner is resistant or the break up has already happened. It sort of teaches you how to turn the tables, get on “their side” as part of strategy and even the playing field. I was stunned to see that my trip / indifference was actually right on. It was dumb luck, but according to the author, I was right on track and this is what would be called my “opening move.”

But, (probably incorrectly) I decided that I was tired of playing games and told myself I’d put this whole thing off til after the visit with my friends. I’d decide then what I wanted to do. I just couldn’t deal with it earlier than that. Next up, Part Four (The Pursuer Becomes Pursued) Here.

 (affiliate disclosure)

The Pursuer Becomes The Pursued

Several days went by that nothing whatsoever happened between us. No calls, emails, or texts. Then, two days before our friends were coming in, he called, hemmed and hahed for several minutes, and finally asked could he join us? He wanted to go out with all three of us. I was stunned, but of course I said yes.

Truthfully, even though I was getting slightly better at separating him and the rest of my life just to survive, if I was honest with myself, I loved him and did not want a divorce. I believe marriage is forever. I believed this man was my soul mate. At that time, divorce was the worst possible outcome, but I was tired of feeling so out of control.

In the days before our outing, I read both books, cover to cover twice. I did not want my desperation to show, but I didn’t want to be unapproachable either. And, no matter whether we stayed married or not, I wanted to at least be able to look this man in the eye and maintain a cordial relationship.

I memorized my road map and learned that what I needed to do most probably wouldn’t come naturally, but nothing in the book was hard or asked me to do something that I wasn’t comfortable with.

Save My Marriage Today by Amy Waserman is very big on not giving your power away, yet communicating fully with an open heart, which is what I vowed to do. The Magic Of Making stresses that you should be friendly, light hearted and happy with yourself. Being happy with yourself is a huge key, because you’re not going to attract the relationship you want if you yourself are miserable.  Without really meaning too, I kind of combined these methods with pretty convincing results.

Begging, stalking, make promises, or acting desperate or volatile (which I had been doing) will only make you more unattractive to your spouse and will only make the things which prompted the divorce firmer in his mind. I didn’t want this. I also (for about the millionth time) watched The Magic Of Making Up’s video on the web site to calm myself down. The video (which is available for anyone to see) is very straight forward and calming. The author is a straight shooter and very calm and matter of fact. He’s very open and honest (and a bit rough around the edges with a lot of Southern spunk). He’s also excellent at pegging what men really want and are really trying to say (women too, but he is a man, afterall) and how to give these things to your partner without being too obvious about it. And he encouraged me to keep up with the nonchalance.

Both books offer several concrete ways to do this without seeming desperate or that you are playing games. Everything you do needs to be genuine or something you are comfortable with. If you just play games, it will eventually come back to haunt you because you can’t maintain a facade that is not really you.

The foursome went extremely well. We had the same fun time we used to when we all lived in the same town. I tried to have no expectations beyond this night and promised myself if all we built was a friendship, I could live with that – somehow.

Believe it or not, the calls started to be initiated by my husband. The new me created from the pages of the book (who had been hiding somewhere all this time) was apparently pretty appealing.

According to the Magic Of Making Up, this was EXACTLY what I wanted. Sometimes, I was “busy” when my husband called. I needed him to know that I too was a valuable person with goals, hobbies, and interests, which is what he loved about me in the first place.

We started out just talking. I took this very slowly. One day at a time just repeating what seemed to be working – light hearted, friendly, but interested. Once that became comfortable and frequent, I moved on to the next steps, as per the book. Eventually, the talks on the phone became small meetings or outings. Again, I moved as directed and as was now comfortable. I wanted to be happy with where this went because any relationship based on lies or my faking it would fail anyway.

No more desperation. No more giving my power away. I held my head sky high but my heart was wide open. This process took months. It may have gone quicker, but I was too scared to push.
I had a few set backs where I got cocky, strayed from what the books were telling me, and royally messed up. These mistakes took serious clean up, but I took it one day at a time. Still, there was a good bit of delay from this, but I knew there was life time at stake so I didn’t beat myself up too much.

A few months down the road, I knew the 60 days period of the divorce had come and gone. I certainly didn’t bring it up. I just kept doing what I had been doing and things kept improving, although for the longest time, we didn’t specifically discuss it. We just enjoyed the positive changes that began to make the relationship feel much more effortless.

A huge weight was lifted because I knew that even if we were to split up, at least it would be on good terms where we could respect one another and walk away with good feelings. I didn’t know though whether that would mean parting as friends, or reconciling as a married couple. Here’s what happened.

(Affiliate Disclosure)

How I Got My Happy Ending

So, how did this end? About six months after this process my husband showed up and I assumed he had divorce papers. My knees buckled. But, after shifting his legs about a million times, he looked me right in the eyes and said “I think we should throw them away?” (He later told me he never filed them, although I’m not sure I believe this.)
I tried not to show my excitement or pump by arm in a silent yes. My new behavior was second nature to me now, so I basically told him filing was never my decision in the first place, but I agreed things were going very well.
A few months later, we reconciled as a married couple. But between that time and this, we’ve moved onto talking in depth about where things went wrong so this doesn’t happen again. (You absolutely have to do this, BUT not until you’re firmly on solid ground again. You have to make sure you are ready for this). And, you need to whatever you can to make yourself happy. This is vitally important.
You need to make sure your spouse knows that you value and encourage his own happiness as well. (Often, “falling out of love” means somewhere, some way, some one became lost track of how to do and experience the things that make them happy. Or, they notice their partner has.)
That was, at least in my mind, ions ago, and we have a beautiful baby boy. Those months are kind of a blur that I never want to repeat, but I can honestly say we are very solid now, and actually better for having gone through it. Having honest discussions and checking in on our marriage consistently is a real gift. We have a very strong marriage that I believe in with my whole heart. We work together, raise our son together, and are very good friends. I work on my own happiness constantly and am better (and more content) for it. My hubby knows all about Waserman’s book and is grateful I had it at the time. We actually laugh about it now. When we disagree he’ll laugh and go “Oh, no. She’s grabbing the book.” However, he kind of prefers the “The Magic Of Making Up” since the author is a guy and pegs guys beautifully. I think he pegs women too, though. My hubby would rather take relationship advice from a man, I guess.
If you’re wondering, here’s how the books differ. Waterman’s saving your marriage is more helpful if you see your relationship flying off the rails and want to stop that dangerous slide. She’s also extremely helpful in aiding you in avoiding pitfalls, common mistakes, that can kill a marriage / fuel a divorce and offers check lists, exercises, examples, etc so that you can “check in” with yourself and your relationship to make sure both are happy. My girlfriends love her book. By and large, this is sort of a touchy / feely program that appeals more to women. She is most definitely a marriage and relationship expert that will tell it to you straight, but she always has your own LONG TERM happiness in mind. Oh, how I wish I had this book BEFORE things went sour. It would’ve saved so much turmoil.
But, if I were to compare the two books, I’d say there’s less “game playing” in this one.  She’s big on self respect and your own happiness as ways to draw someone else to you.  Her book is very good on maintenance once you get back to where you want.
T Jackson’s The Magic Of Making Up is more for folks whose relationship is ALREADY sour and one person is trying desperately to get some foot hold or “in” to get the spouse back (or at least get them talking again.) Unfortunately, because I did not read yet Waterman’s info, I needed this one because by the time I got my act together, my husband already sort of thought I was damaged and acting irrationally. Jackson’s methods will at first make you ask “You want me to do what? Are you crazy?!” But, when you stop, calm down, and think about them, they make so much sense. Yes, it requires some faith, but truly, in order to have a chance to get back a truly healthy LONG TERM relationship, you have to level the playing field.
One partner can not be seen by the other as a door mat or weakling. If that’s the case, the same issues will keep right on popping up until eventually you can’t reign it back in.
Jackson’s free “first step” video will make you pause and wonder if this guy knows what in the world he’s doing. If you need to pull out all the stops, this one’s for you. (But make sure you understand where it went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.) He also offers examples of handwritten notes that have been successful in getting your ex to listen.

Here’s the best advice I can give, at least from where I stand and again, I’m certainly no expert (and I’ve admitted I lucked into all this.) But, from my perspective, I know that this can be very painful – but do not beg, promise you’ll change, promise your ex your undying love on a silver platter or put your life on hold because of the situation. I know this feels right sometimes and you feel like you have to fix this immediately, but it is not and you don’t (at least according to how it played out here).

All of these things will potentially make you more unattractive to your spouse / ex and he or she will only want to flee more. Don’t follow him / her around or text and email constantly or remind him / her of old times. Because this too looks desperate and he /she will get tired of hearing it and will want to stop the noise (which means moving further from you.)

You absolutely have to stop any desperate, demeaning behavior (though it’s totally normal and understandable). It gives your power away and deteriorates the relationship further.

Negotiating and begging when your position is already compromised is a losing game. So, instead, you ACT as if you are determined that you are going to be just fine. You are going to see old friends, take up old hobbies and enjoy your solo time. This is going to be difficult at first, but you must do it. Don’t ask about your partner’s activities and don’t volunteer yours.

But, be friendly, casual, and matter of fact, as though you are just rolling with the punches and moving on as best you can. You want to create the happy go lucky, light hearted version of yourself that your partner first fell in love with. This is vital.
No, I’m not an expert but thankfully I found a few. What I’ve given you is the tip of the iceberg, but this will get you started and give you an idea of where I am going. Both books can give you much more concrete information and both offer some freebies.  (As I said, the video on The Magic Of Making Up Site Is very good, as is Waterman’s free ecourse.
Just for today, try something new – especially if what youre doing hasn’t been working or just makes you feel worse than who you know you are. Good luck! Never give up, you deserve to be happy, but sometimes you have to know how to play the game and that’s a learned skill.

Three Things You Might Want To Try

Again, I’m no expert, (if you have any question about this, read my disclosures) but here are three things that, if you have not already tried, you might want to think about.

1. Use your partner’s verbal and non verbal cues / clues to try to determine what EXACTLY is the cause of the break up / divorce. What does your partner want / need that they aren’t getting and how can you provide it in a way that won’t be too obvious or drive them further away? (Hint: This is almost always a lack of intimacy – what caused it will most certainly vary – but the end result is usually a feeling of disconnect.

2. Pick your poison, so to speak. Choose a method to meet both you and your partner’s needs. This make take some careful planning. And, how you come at them is going to depend on your partner’s personality.  Some will respond to Waterman’s “both partners should be happy and equal” approach, while others may need a gentle nudge with the perceived scarcity of Jackson’s approach. I know some think that this is game playing, but my husband isn’t mad I played this.  The end result was worth it (and I really didn’t know that I was playing it at the time.)

3. Keep creating / participating in situations  that allow you to improve the relationship by meeting both of your needs. This may require you to move very slowly.  You may have to play the friend card for a while or you may need a perceived break (even if you are the only one who knows it won’t last.) Show your spouse the person they fell in love with. Keep repeating this process until your relationship is where you want it. (Be careful that none of this reads as fake or insincere and don’t overdo it to drive your spouse further away.) It’s a lot to think about and I can not offer any guarantees.  Admittedly, you will need your partner’s cooperation at some point, but focusing on yourself and the positive are good ideas in my humble opinion.  But, that’s all it is – an opinion. (terms of service, disclosures)

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