Marriage in Crisis? Don’t Panic

Marriage in crisis? Much of the advice you may receive will tell you… “don’t panic”, such simple, sane sounding advice, but when your intimate relationship is in trouble, it is the hardest thing to know how to do.

You may be in a situation where there have been some warning signs, where your wife has been complaining about her unhappiness for some time, or you may be completely blindsided that things are suddenly falling apart.

Either way, a marriage in crisis has usually been slowly drifting apart for a year or more.

Most married couples don’t receive training on types of relationships or how to maintain an intimate relationship, it’s very subtle how we slowly settle into a boring routine where both partners have stopped making an effort to love, respect, and show their appreciation for each other. Less physical intimacy is the most obvious way we can feel a relationship changing but then how we address that change often makes things worse.

When we first get married, everything is great, love and laughter are easy, it’s connected, and passionate, so we rarely think that the spark might not last forever.

Sometimes, it’s the belief that the promise you made on your wedding day will keep you together through the good and bad times. But that belief can make us lazy and passive too.

I know that for most of the men I talk to in a struggling marriage, things have not been great for him either for the past couple of years. But he’s still in the relationship and wants to work on making it better.

So what now?

If your wife has told you that she wants to leave you and the relationship, you may feel completely overwhelmed, you may be feeling a lot of pain, betrayal, sadness, and anger. These feelings can take over your mind and body, making it hard for you to sleep, eat, and concentrate at work.

You might be worried that she wants to split up, and there’s nothing you can do to change her mind. I can tell you that nothing is going to be decided right now. In fact, it’s how you respond to this situation that will determine what happens next.

For the relationship to improve, you must first learn how to become a man who sees himself as someone with a lot to offer. Reconnection and attraction can’t happen if you don’t feel a deep sense of self-worth, self-respect, and confidence in your ability to lead yourself through this difficult period in your life.

Again, I know this does not make sense. How can you be sure of yourself when someone you care about is pulling away? How do you get your confidence back?

How Can You Get Your Wife Back?

You may seek advice and emotional support from family members, friends and relatives, but be aware that many others don’t know what a healthy relationship is. People often take sides and blame your wife for “doing this to you.” But that just makes you the victim, and victims are stuck waiting for outside circumstances to change to allow them to feel better.

When you’re the victim, what’s been done to you is still being done to you, except now you focus on it over and over again, causing you to experience the same emotions.

Which is why you need to stop thinking about her and what has happened and start thinking about yourself and what will happen next.

If you are panicking, you may be attempting to “prove” to her that she should change her mind by showering her with presents, wanting to call her all the time, talking about your willingness to change, and asking her what you should to do.

Your body is full of urgency and anxiety, so when she is close, she can not help but feel your nervous energy. This makes it hard for her to relax around you, connect with you, and be vulnerable with you.

But she can’t tell you what to do. Most of the time, she doesn’t believe that there’s anything you can do that will change how she’s feeling. What she really wants from you is some leadership. But first you must learn how to lead yourself.

How To Lead When You’re Panicking

marriage in crisis

You cannot lead from a place of fear and anxiety.

Leaders make decisions and give directions, but they don’t keep looking back over their shoulder to see if anyone is following their direction.

When you lead and make decisions, you have to take a risk, which is a key part of building trust. She wants to know that you are solid in your knowledge of yourself as a man.

This means that you need to find your own honest, proactive answers to how you want to respond to this situation and then take action on that inspiration.

When you lead from a place of self belief – that you’re OK and that you have something valuable to give – you’re inviting her to join you. When you try to lead from a place of fear and panic, you’re often making rules, bargaining and using ultimatums to try and feel better in yourself.

This is less about the words you use and much more about the way you choose to respond to this situation.

The men I help turn around their marriages are men who begin to create a life of meaning, purpose, pleasure, and fulfilment again. They learn the secrets of creating attraction.

They become a man who clearly knows his own personal and sexual value, who has a plan for himself and his life, who’s engaged and excited about where he’s headed, whether the relationship lasts or not.

You give her a reason to doubt her choice to move away from you and the relationship.

1. Why Trying to Fix Your Marriage Is the Wrong Focus

When you’re in “fix it” mode, the actions you take are driven by an intense focus on achieving the outcome of “fixing the marriage.”

The problem with this approach is that it lacks empathy, and empathy is fundamental to connection. Connection is fundamental to trust and safety. And attraction requires trust and safety first.

So what should you do instead if you are not solely focused on repairing your marriage?

Defining who you are as a man, what you believe in, what you are inspired by, what you’re willing to stand up for, and what you want to experience more of in your next 30 years on this planet.

Learn how to become the master of your emotions rather than your emotions being in charge of you.

This really is what she has wanted from you all along.

It may save the marriage; it may not. You have no control over that.

But a man who knows himself and has agency over how he responds to any situation, especially the difficult ones, is a man she can start to trust again and feel attracted to again.

Even if your decisions and opinions are the opposite of hers, you are more trustworthy and attractive when you calmly stand up for your beliefs and know why they’re important to you.

What does that have to do with empathy?

As you get clear on who you are and what is important for you, you also start to get curious about who she is now and what her motivations, beliefs, fears and priorities are. You start to want to understand her better. You start to have more empathy for her experience and that true care and interest in her wellbeing is one of the foundation blocks to reconnecting with her.

To connect, you must be able to relax around each other, which requires you to relax within yourself.

Without relaxation, there is no safety and security (she feeling your energy and emotions all the time), and without safety and security, she will be unable to be vulnerable with you and share how she truly feels.

What have you done today to make you relax?

2. Laughter, Lightness and Fun

Yes, I know that when a marriage is in crisis, the last thing you feel like doing is having fun and laughing. Yet the language of connection is acceptance, care, trust and fun.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brené Brown

A marriage in crisis is a serious thing, but if you focus on the problems only, then there’s nothing to nourish the future relationship.

Being able to truly be yourself and still find the fun in life, learn to laugh, even through the difficulties, these are the traits she found attractive in you when you first got together.

What have you done today to make you laugh?

3. Get a Life

The biggest reason that a marriage in crisis feels like the world is over is because men tend to isolate themselves from their support network and from other men.

We give up on having a good support system and a healthy, balanced life in which the relationship is just one part of our long-term sense of fulfilment, confidence, emotional strength, worthiness, and overall well-being.

Women do a much better job of maintaining connections with their support network, their female friends, whom they can trust to understand them, support them, and encourage them.

Men, on the other hand, often put their “role” as a provider, husband, and father above everything, and de-prioritise building and maintaining strong relationships with other men.

We lack the understanding that it’s critically important to belong to something bigger than ourselves.

When a woman tells us, “she’s no longer in love with us,” it is often driven by the pressure she feels to be our main source of entertainment, fulfilment, and satisfaction.

She would really love to see you get passionate about yourself, your life, your friends, and your purpose. That would be so hot!

I’m not saying stop wanting her as your life partner and lover. I’m not saying to stop being available, engaged, and responsive to your family.

But you need to know that your long-term sense of personal value, attractiveness, and overall MOJO cannot be dependent on just your wife and family.

You need a family of strong, smart, initiated men who totally understand you. They understand you pain and fears because they’ve lived through the same struggles..

These men share many of your values and they share a common desire to live an extraordinary life filled with love and laughter.

These are men you can trust when you’re down and men who will believe in you more than you believe in yourself.

4. Encourage Her to Explore Her Interests and Find Her Happiness

Remember that your wife is a unique individual with her own personality, preferences, needs, skill set, and interests. Those traits were a key part of you being attracted to her in the first place.

Just as you need to find a life and create balance so that you don’t place all your happiness on her shoulders, it’s important to support her need for autonomy, individual expression, and personal evolution as a woman, not just a wife and mother.

Many women feel controlled when they can’t do the things they want to do. This is when you may hear things like “I need some space” or “You’re suffocating me”.

A man who has found his own sense of security and confidence, is able to give space in this way, so his woman can relax, feel his strong masculine self-belief, self-confidence, and generous support, which makes her trust him and become attracted to him again.

There’s a reason for the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” – because it’s true. She can’t miss you if you’re in her face all the time.

Plus, a woman who finds her own happiness often realises that the unhappiness she thought was caused by the relationship was actually caused by her own lack of clarity and direction in life.

5. Stop Relying on Her to Make You Feel Good about Yourself

When your happiness depends on what she thinks of you or how she treats you, the chances of her being attracted to you are almost zero.

A man who is insecure about his own sense of self worth and value without confirmation from his partner first, ends up being passive and needy for her validation before he can feel confident, take action and lead the relationship forward.

He often tries many stealthy manoeuvres and tactics to get her to provide the feedback he wants. He will do favours, try to please, ignore his own boundaries and continually compliment her, all in an effort to get her to do the same for him.

But the moment she realises what’s going on, she shuts down the validation factory.

Your wife can sense your insecurity and it causes her to lose trust in you.

When you aren’t able to validate yourself, your love and respect for her appear to have conditions. You have turned your love relationship into a transactional business deal and that’s not sexy.

So what needs to happen?

  • You have to become clear about what you want from your future so that you can lead the relationship back to good health, or decide to move on.
  • You must stop relying on her for your sense of self worth as a man, husband, father and lover.
  • You will have to become more self reliant, build your emotional intelligence and learn how to become a man who can listen to her words and translate them so that you can connect with her emotions.

When you do this work to achieve emotional independence, you’re ready to start living in an interdependent relationship – one where both of you share the role in creating an environment where you both feel valued, appreciated, and respected. No more secret contracts, unspoken expectations and controlling manipulation behaviour.

This new energy of solid self confidence is what enables the trust to be rebuilt between you. Then respect and attraction can replace the downward trajectory that competition and negativity previously caused.

It goes without saying that women are just as accountable as their husbands for being strong and intentional with their thoughts, words, and actions.

A healthy, interdependent relationship can only happen between two emotionally secure, healthy people who deliberately work to create a partnership that supports their personal and relationship values and goals.

Final Thoughts

Whatever your wife is saying to you right now, there’s still a possibility for a completely new and better relationship in the future.

Love doesn’t just disappear. We fall in and out of love throughout our relationship.

She is always following her emotional guidance system. Moving away from stress and pressure and toward a more peaceful, calm, and relaxed environment.

When you find your own peaceful, calm, and relaxed nature, you can become a place she wants to hang out again.

But it takes some deep personal reflection and growth.

Her love, trust, and respect are not gone, but she needs you to lead yourself so that she can admire and feel attracted to you again.

I want to help you get there. Apply for a free 60 minute coaching session with me here.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan. I've been a men’s coach for over 10 years with Goodguys2Greatmen, mentoring and coaching men to get clear on what they want and creating practical and actionable plans to make it happen. I’ve experienced many of the same challenges you're going through right now. I’m here to challenge you and help you understand what's holding you back so that you can step into the confident, successful man you were meant to be.