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How to Save My Marriage - When I Can't Get My Husband to Change


                  How to Save My Marriage - When My Husband Won't Change

Part 3 of 3

Carrie's been thinking the following about her husband for quite a while:

  • He doesn't love me
  • He doesn't care about his family
  • He needs anger management
  • He might be depressed
  • He needs help

So what's Carrie tried to do about these worries?  She's tried to talk to him about how she feels and what she thinks.

  • She's told him she doesn't feel that he loves her anymore
  • She's told him she thinks he's depressed
  • She's told him he should go to counseling
  • She's told him he should see his doctor

For Al, like most men, it feels like all Carrie does is nag him.  He's told her a number of times, "don't pressure me."  Carrie's got some good ideas about what's going on, but after years of her telling him things he doesn't want to hear, all Al hears anymore is "blah, blah, blah."

Al's mood is also unpredictable.  Carrie says it seems like he's always either grumpy or angry.  So she does everything she can to keep the peace in the house as she and the kids walk around on eggshells.

Her direct approach -- tell him what she thinks and what he should do -- hasn't workedAnd her avoidant approach -- keep from making him more upset -- hasn't worked either

So she kept asking herself, "How do I save my marriage?"  What does she do when she can't get her husband to change?  Change her strategies.  She needs to start being direct about the things she's been avoidant and avoidant about the things she's been direct.  For example:

  • When Al erupted in the car, screaming at her and calling her names in front of the kids, she was avoidant and just tried, understandably, to survive by doing nothing.  That was a time to be direct, not verbally, but through action.  She should have gotten herself and the kids out of the car and not gone to dinner with him.
  • The things she's been direct about telling him, she needs to back off and be more avoidant about.  This will require her to find another outlet, like counseling, to express these thoughts and feelings.  Al needs space and he's been telling her that through his actions and words, but Carrie hasn't gotten the message because her fears, again understandably, have been too powerful.

Carrie and I have worked on a plan in marriage counseling of how she could do this.  Then when she started to practice these new strategies she started to see some results.  Her marriage isn't fixed by a long shot, but Al has gone to the doctor, and he is exploring counselingThat's progress

It's just a start, and obviously there's a lot more to do.  But it's some change in her husband that Carrie thought would never be possible.

If you can relate to either Carrie or Al, think about how you could change-up some of the strategies you're using as well.

A final take away -- you'll notice that Carrie came to marriage counseling by herself.  You can do this too.  If your partner isn't willing to go to marriage counseling, go without them.  Changing a marriage doesn't require the participation of both partners.

* This is the third and final post examining a marriage in which a wife feels her husband doesn't love her anymore and she seeks the expertise of a marriage counselor for help in finding out what she can do.  You can read the other posts by clicking here: 

How to Save My Marriage - When My Husband Doesn't Love Me Anymore

How to Save My Marriage - When I Think My Husband is Depressed

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My husband and I have been having communication problems for a while now i see the things that i do wrong and have been trying to work on them im also going to see a counselor and he is against just me going and says the usual whats the point in going to a stranger to tell them your problems they are only going to tell you what you want to hear and i havent even asked him to go yet he says i just need to make the change myself i feel like hes not supportive at all and he feels like all our problems are me and he doesnt need to change anything im stuck and afraid we r gonna fall apart if he doesnt start being supportive and meet me half way i love him and want this to work but i cant continue to live like this please help me!!!!!
Posted @ Wednesday, October 12, 2011 1:50 PM by jess
Jess, Keep going to counseling by yourself -- it's the right thing and best thing you can do. With the right counselor you'll learn how to change your relationship whether your husband agrees or not. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1:08 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
me and my husband have been married for 6 years . We have issues. Today we got into a huge fight and these fight always are the same but different situations. We were driving in town saw some string on the road on the side for a few miles then the string went on the side of the road when we turned i also saw the same string going striaght so i said when we turned there is string this way . well he told be there was no string going straight just the string when we turned and i said no i saw some he goes no you are seeing things and said i was wrong soo we keep driving and he says to me well you must know when to push my buttons when i am trying to quit chewing and when to piss me off and i said i wasnt trying to but you were trying to say i was blind and i am not . so i say i am trying to quit smoking but its hard when your always mean to me , he goes well you shouldnt have started in the first place and i said well people make mistakes i a sorry just like when you made a mistake and got in trouble at work and he got pissed and started to yell at me before this i was crying . we were pose to go to the store so i said lets go home i am upset and then i turn around and he makes a comment what a waste of gas and waste of my time . so i turn around and we park then we start talking about what we were there for i said well i dont need that and he goes well we might as well go home so i am driving and he goes turn around lets go back so as i am turning on the street to go back he ask me are you seeing someone else on the side? i was so pissed out of my mouth comes i wish i was was sometimes . he got soo mad he punched the van window and dash borad and started yelling saying take me home take me home and i said i am trying to find out where i am at never been on this road and he tell me maybe he can find someone who isnt a 29 year not going thru menopause which i am not and saying bad things, then latetr this evening our dog wanted in so i let him in i am putting my son to bed i hear him let him out and i guess the dog did something to make the back door hit him well i go down to make sure he is okay and he yells at me saying that the dog never wanted inside in the first place and cussing at me and telling me i am a fucking moron . we are pose to move to england in june with the military so i say unless we go to to counceling i am not going and he said he wont go cause he did once but we stopted cause the lady left and i didnt wanna keep going to new ones cause we can see free ones here but they switch every so many months then he says he wont go again and that i can get divorce papers i said to him i dont wanna divorce u and he said well then i will get them . i dont know what to do i try to change what i do i try to do what he wants but i can never do anything right i am always acting like a child in his eyes and i do everything wrong
Posted @ Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:20 PM by Ashley
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