This year I have had more than one client hire me who did not want a divorce. The conversation went a little like this this: “Hi, Bryan. I am, here because, my husband wants a divorce. But, I do not believe in divorce! My husband is currently having an affair with another woman and says he does not love me anymore, but I know he does not mean it. We slept together yesterday but now he has moved his girlfriend into the house. He refuses to go to counseling but I am seeing a counselor by myself. What can I do? I do not want to get divorced, but my spouse does and he has hire a divorce lawyer.”
You are Not Alone
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Husband or a Wife. You are not alone. I have had consults and represented husbands or wives going through a divorce when getting divorced is the last thing they wanted to do. Divorce often hits one of the parties going through it harder than the other.
I believe this is partly because the person filing often has already had a chance to think it through, come to terms, and move on where to the other spouse it may feel like it is coming out of nowhere. They are not the ones who initiated the divorce. Most of the time I hear that they want to work on their marriage. The question they often ask me, is “what can they do?”
Evaluate Your Situation
One of the first things you should do when your spouse says they want a divorce is figure out:
- What is going on? and
- Whether you have any chance of saving your marriage?
- Did your spouse threaten divorce during an argument?
People often say things they don’t really mean during arguments. I judge people by what they do more then what they say. What are your spouse’s actions telling you?
If your spouse has:
- moved out of the house and/or
- has served you with divorce paperwork
These actions speaking very loudly that they want a divorce.
Things can be more difficult when your spouse gives you mixed messages. For example:
- One day they say they loves you, but
- the next day they are telling you they want a divorce or
- One day they are threatening to move out of the house, and
- the next day they is going with you to your child’s doctor and acting like nothing ever happened.
All these actions by your spouses are playing havoc on your emotions and you cannot figure out what you should do or what is going on.
What is going on?
One way to figure out if your spouse is serious about divorce is, to ask. You want to know:
- What your spouse is thinking?
- What your spouse is feeling?
- Is your spouse is having an affair?
- Does your spouse want to work on the marriage?
- Is their hope?
If your spouse:
- Refuses to talk to you about the marriage, or
- Is confused about what they want.
Your marriage is in trouble. The fact that divorce has been brought up is a sign of trouble and of issues that need to be addressed. Ignoring problems will not make them go away. Either the two of you can:
- Address them together by yourselves, or
- Thee two of you can try marriage counselling
How Can I save my Marriage?
There are several ways to work on your marriage if you both are willing. Those include:
- Marriage counseling
- Individual therapy
- Many churches offer their members free counselling.
- There are couples’ retreats the two of you can attend.
- You can go on vacation and spend time together.
- There are hundreds of books written on the topic.
- Programs are available both online and offline that provide marriage advice.
- Some couples try taking a break from each other to see if that helps.
However, none of the above activities will work if you are the only one trying to make the marriage work.
It Takes Two to Make a Relationship work
Something, I have heard and believe to be true is “It takes two to make a relationship work. At different times during a relationship one person can carry the all load part of time. However, that load gets very heavy if it is all of time.”
If your spouse is not willing to try to save your marriage, then you should be concerned. A marriage, is about uniting two people together.
I had a professor once tell me “you can change your own crazy behavior but you cannot change the crazy behavior of other people.” It does not matter what you do you can force someone to work on a marriage with you.
If your spouse has made up their mind to:
- Refuses to try and work on the marriage
Such a marriage is not going to work.
What to Do When You are Going Through Divorce Process and Don’t Want One
So, your spouse wants a divorce and you do not, and you have tried to change their mind but can’t, what can you do?
I have represented several clients who are involved in an organization called Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a program for the families who have family members who should be in AA. One of the things that is taught in Al-Anon is a philosophy called “detachment with love,.”
“Detachment with love means caring enough about others to allow them to learn from their mistakes. It also means being responsible for our own welfare and making decisions without ulterior motives-the desire to control others.”
In other words, I think the best thing you can do is let go. It is not going to be an easy thing when you care about someone it’s going to hurt. An author named Neil Gaiman wrote something I like about dealing with the loss someone you love “…You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on… You are alive. So live”
You can’t force someone to:
- love you.
- You cannot force someone to want to be married to you.
Something I tell people who consult with me regarding their spouse seeking a divorce when they don’t want is “in Texas if your spouse wants a divorce ultimately they can get a divorce. The only thing we can do is:
- Make the divorce take longer, and
- Make sure our client gets a “Just and Right Division of the Property” in the end.
- If there are children make sure the children portion the divorce is handled correctly.
The reality of divorce in Texas is that it does not matter if you:
- don’t want a divorce
- don’t believe in divorce
- if you think divorce will destroy my family
- if you think divorce is wrong
If your spouse wants a divorce ultimately, they will get one. Maybe you two will make it work sometime in the future. People do remarry. However, that may be a tomorrow that never comes.
Denial will not Help You
The first step in the divorce process is realize you have problem. It is understandable that may not want to get divorced, but ignoring your spouse’s actions, will not help you or your family. One of the things I tell my clients is that “when the marriage is over it is not about you and your spouse. It is about protecting yourself and your children.”
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.