My wife wants to leave me; help me save my marriage 

Unhappy family

If issues in a relationship are not nipped in the bud, they will be the reason it breaks up.

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What you need to know:

  • If issues in a relationship are not nipped in the bud, they will be the reason it breaks up.
  • When change is costlier than the returns, most partners do not see the need to commit.

Dear Pastor,

Thank you so much for your weekly advice. I am 28 and I have been married for five years now. Our marriage has been having problems for a while now, and on Christmas Day, my wife decided that we needed to separate.

We have one child together who is 20 months old. I simply don’t want to lose my family now. I have to talk to her to change her decision, but she is still insisting on it. I love her so much, and I don’t want to lose her. Please help me save my marriage.


Whether or not a marriage can be saved depends on many things. We need to consider the reason for the breakup. In most cases, a relationship does not just fall apart for no apparent reason. If issues in a relationship are not nipped in the bud, they will be the reason it breaks up.

However, where there is communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to grow together, it is an excellent sign that the marriage can be repaired. Your partner must be made to see that the change will pay back dividends. No one wants to see the status quo mentioned and no progress realised on the issues that initially stressed the two of you.

How sensitive are we to each other’s needs? Over the five years, things have happened that make her question your commitment to her needs. The big question for her would be, “Do I matter in this relationship?” If not, what gives me hope that things would be different?

Your relationship can remain unsalvageable, particularly where your partner feels indifferent to their needs and feelings. Your wife must see that you mean business through your words and actions.

Remember, you have a backlog of issues that negatively testify about the future you desire to rebuild together. So, for most spouses, the question would be, “Change at what cost?” The benefit ahead must begin to shout louder and hope that things will be different.

When change is costlier than the returns, most partners do not see the need to commit. Your life together, including the child, must not just be about getting married and having children. Indeed, I know that relationships are about adjustments and accommodating each other.

However, from her actions, your wife is convinced that she is better off without you than endure the painful moments of change that will not bring any benefit. Kraushaar affirms, “Trust can never be restored until the person whose trust was broken allows their partner a chance to earn it back.”

Trust, therefore, must be about mutual honour and respect. Your wife must feel like she is getting special recognition by responding to her and the concerns that have belaboured the relationship. This boils down to a mindset change for both of you that says, “Marriage must be about us, not me.”

Here are 10 practical ways to revitalise your relationship during hard times: 

  1. Acknowledging that challenges will come is part of what makes a relationship dynamic.
  2. Hidden in every challenge is the opportunity to learn and rebuild a stronger and more dynamic relationship with your partner.
  3. Identify the specific challenges that threaten to bring the relationship to a halt and make either of you desire to go separate or live alone. 
  4. Evaluate whether the two of you agree on the specific issues identified and remain committed to seeing them resolved.
  5. Focus on some things that work well and seem to give you a glimmer of hope for the future of the relationship.
  6. Avoid taking a defensive stance and instead take full responsibility of any mess that is attributed to you in the relationship.
  7. Moving your partner to your side and winning their trust is key to taking the journey of reconciliation and change.
  8. Be aware that change is hard and requires long-term patience and endurance, particularly where the issues involved have caused deep wounds and hurts.
  9. Giving your partner the opportunity to see and express disappointment on issues from their perspective helps win their trust back.
  10. Commitment to make things better must remain steadfast on the road of recovery, whether in good or bad moments that a relationship faces.

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