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My wife wants a divorce but I still love her

Think about the following situation we are about to cover. Does it sound anything like what you and your spouse are going through? If so, know in advance there is hope for you and your marriage. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here to help provide you with information geared toward preserving and strengthening your marriage. Even down to the final moments you should pursue every available avenue to help assist with strengthening your marriage. When it no longer is tenable to do so our experienced attorneys are here to help you, too.

A marriage on the rocks- you still have hope

It’s become apparent that your marriage has been floundering for some time. At first, you attempted to look the other way and avoid the reality of the situation. However, there is simply no denying the reality of the situation. Your marriage is in a bad place. You are not sure exactly when the problems started. You and your spouse have never really been good communicators. However, you’ve always been able to overcome those difficulties somehow, in some way. Now that you are seeing these periods of disconnect stretch from days to weeks you are no longer sure how it is working out. 

When you would try to talk to your wife about these marital issues it never seemed like a good time. You both work heavy hours in jobs that take a lot out of you. Not only are you both working a lot but the nature of each of your jobs requires that you bring a lot of baggage home with you from an emotional sense. That baggage has residual negative effects on your marriage. This is in addition to lacking time each day to go over your issues to resolve them. 

Simply put, you are both lackadaisical about solving the issues in your marriage. You identify that problems are occurring. What you’ve done to deal with those problems head-on is minimal. Both of you assume that the other will come up with something at the last moment to save the marriage. That has not been the case. The relationship appears to be spiraling over a cliff. 

To be unclear is to be unkind

One of the trademark expressions that I use in the context of a family law case is: to be unclear is to be unkind. This means that when you deliver a message do so with a directness. Do not beat around the bush or expect your spouse to read your mind. If you see that there are problems on your horizon or even inside your home, then it pays to address them directly with your spouse. 

Be frank and clear- you are noticing a trend in the marriage and want to put it to a stop. See what your spouse says about it. You may be surprised about what your wife has to say. Her reaction will be important to gauge. Assuming that she is receptive to working on the problems in the marriage this is a good sign that the relationship is salvageable. However, time is of the essence. You should not sit around idle while attempting to work out a plan. Preferably, you have a plan in place on how to address these issues.

A scientist once said that matter never stays the same. Matter is either evolving or devolving. Put another way it is said that relationships are either improving or getting worse. This is true even for the people that we see every day. When you and your spouse have become lax when it comes to advancing your relationship you need to make up for lost time. Where should you turn when you need help in your relationship?

Have you tried counseling?

It used to be that attorneys would recommend counseling and people would turn up their noses. There was a certain stigma associated with counseling in days past. Opening up to a stranger isn’t a comfortable situation. Accepting that you need help was viewed as a defeatist mindset. Submitting to another person’s plan to improve your marriage involves swallowing some pride to get there. Whatever the case, counseling or therapy was not a popular option.

Cut to today’s world and many of us are much more at ease with the idea of counseling. Maybe it was the pandemic that left some of us in a rough state mentally. Or just evolving social norms and habits. Whatever the case, counseling is not viewed in the same way now as it was a decade ago. I think that is for the best. You can focus time and energy on a relationship but without the tools to improve it then your time is wasted. 

Imagine trying to rebuild a broken-down house with only some tape and a screwdriver. It’s not going to work out too well for you, is it? You need more advanced tools that correspond to the task at hand. Some fix-it jobs can be fixed with tape and a screwdriver. However, big-time fixes need big-time tools. When you reach down into your toolbelt and don’t find the necessary tools then it is pointless to continue trying to fix whatever is broken. It disheartens you to do this. 

Counseling helps provide you with tools to fix your marriage

When you and your spouse are agreeable to attending counseling then this is a good sign. Not only does she acknowledge problems in your relationship, but she is willing to do something about them. What is great about counseling is that it represents an active step towards doing something about those problems. You are not putting them on the back burner or putting them off until tomorrow. 

Rather, you and your wife are actively taking steps today to do something positive for one another. You are in this situation in part because of inaction. Going to see a counselor involves researching who to see, contacting their office, making an appointment, and then attending counseling. This takes effort. Effort is good. Both of you need to see effort from the other person to decide to commit to making the marriage work. 

Why is counseling so great? It teaches communication skills to people who need it. Counseling is not the counselor playing referee to every small fight the two of you have. Rather, counseling is an opportunity for the two of you to develop better communication skills with one another. None of us are born effective communicators. Rather, these are skills that we need to develop over time. Some of us are better than others at developing those skills in a relationship. Counseling allows us a crash course in communication enhancement.

Where to find a good counselor?

You should reach out to your health insurance provider for in-network counselors in your area. This would be the most cost-effective approach to obtaining care. Just like with hiring an attorney, the best counselor may not be the most expensive counselor. Rather, you need to get a list of counselors and then start to do your research. Look at their website to see their areas of expertise. Watch their videos if they have any to determine your first impression of him or her. Look up their location to make sure you do not have to drive all over creation to get to therapy. 

Once you have made up your mind to see a counselor it is time to set aside your differences and attend a session. Sessions are either individual or group. Listen to the counselor and your spouse. Communication is a two-way street, remember. It is not necessarily problems about how you speak that are addressed in therapy. Rather, the way that you and your spouse listen to one another is an option to address, as well. 

You are provided a roadmap for therapy as well as work to perform together at home. Working through the issues in your marriage takes more than positive thoughts. You need to be able to attend to these problems in a way that is meaningful and tangible. Counseling represents one of those methods. Working through problems in your marriage is not simple but putting forth effort yields great fruit much of the time. 

One of the things that people say when they arrive at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for a free-of-charge consultation is that separation is a good thing. People wax poetic about the merits of separating yourself physically from your spouse. Giving each other space, in other words. While I cannot speak for everyone the idea of separating yourself from your spouse seems to run contrary to what we just talked about with counseling. 

You and your spouse need to take active measures geared towards fixing your relationship. Separating yourselves does not allow for that to happen. Theoretically, separating yourselves is intended to give one another the space needed to make decisions on the relationship. What ends up happening much of the time is that both of you focus on things other than your marriage. No gain is made from this separation. You need to be extremely intentional to make your separation work. 

Texas does not have legal separations that are part of our Texas Family Code. Once you and your spouse separate physically you do not go into a pre-divorce period as far as the law is concerned. It may feel like the two of you are divorced already. However, the law does not view your circumstances this way. You are two married people living apart. The law in Texas does not treat you two any differently now as to when you were living together. 

When your spouse will not work with you to save your marriage

Unfortunately, not all marital issues are solvable. It takes two people to make a marriage work. Even when you are committing to fixing your marriage if your spouse is not then your marriage will not be fixed. You can approach the situation with the best attitude, be as humble as possible, and commit to doing what it takes to reshape your relationship. However, when your spouse is unwilling to participate in this process then you have no choice but to move on towards a divorce

Languishing in the relationship for a