How to Get My Wife Back When She Wants a Divorce (15 Dos and Don’ts)

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Now that you know your wife wants to leave your marriage, it’s time to do something about it.

How to get my wife back when she wants a divorce?

  • Empathize with her, don’t try to force her to stay
  • Step out of reactionary mode and own up to your part
  • Go out for coffee as friends
  • Don’t give her so much space that you abandon her
  • Think first, talk later

The truth is, husbands make mistakes that drive their wives further away all the time.

This doesn’t have to be you—but you’ll need to know all the hidden psychological traps, which you can learn in marriage coach Dr. Lee Baucom’s guide Save The Marriage.

Click the link above, or read on for steps you should take when your marriage is on the line.

How to Get My Wife Back When She Wants a Divorce

It’s one of the most painful things you’ll ever hear in your life.

“I want a divorce.”

Even if you knew this day was coming, it’s still a punch in the gut.

Devastating as it is, if you’re here, first I want to congratulate you.

You didn’t give up, even though you know the road ahead of you will not be an easy one.

The following list of tips is your GPS. It will give you immediate actions you need to take that cannot wait.

Read next: How to Apologize to Your Wife

What You Should Do Now

DO see things from her point of view

mans hand reaching over a table holding a womans hand with a quote about understanding your wife to save your marriage

OK—your wife is ready to walk out the door.

What she needs from you now—and I mean RIGHT NOW—is to Shut Up and Listen Up.

Listen to the pains she’s been feeling on a day-to-day basis for years. Listen harder than you’ve ever listened to her before.

Because she needs you to understand. If she thinks you don’t, she’ll figure nothing will ever change, and she’ll have no reason to come back to you.

So, do your best to understand her point of view, not your interpretation of the issues and events she’s talking about.

DO use sympathetic language

Seeing her point of view does not mean passively agreeing with her.

It does mean using sympathetic language. Show compassion.

“I didn’t realize you felt that way. I can imagine how difficult that must have been for you all these years.”

Just be careful that it doesn’t sound like you know exactly what she’s going through.

There’s a fine line between empathizing and hijacking someone’s personal experience.

DO choose someone to vent to

This is an important step to get you in the right head space to save your marriage.

You’re only human. You’re definitely going to need someone to talk to.

Someone needs to have your back and listen without judgment.

There are, after all, two sides to every story. While your wife probably isn’t in a place to hear yours, you can vent and bounce things off of a friend or family member who will commiserate with you.

It should be someone you trust—someone who understands discretion and will not repeat what you tell them.

Do it for your sanity.

DO talk when you’ve had a chance to think

husband and wife sitting on a bridge across from each other with a quote about not fighting when she wants a divorce

If you’re still in reactionary mode, give yourself more time. Then respond to your wife.

Likely, she’s given you a lot to chew on and pointed out specific issues she sees in your marriage.

But in the heat of the moment, you might get angry. If you get into a shouting match, she’ll likely feel vindicated for wanting a divorce.

Or you might end up begging, which can be a huge turnoff.

Remember, too, that you’re never going to legitimately fix your marriage problems on the defensive, so do yourself a favor and get calm first.

DO create a plan of action

If you’re going to get your wife back, you need to be able to show her real change.

For any deep-rooted problems she pointed out that desperately need fixing, show her you have a plan of action. And actually make one.

One that you are going to undertake of your own volition, no strings attached.

So, think deeply about the situation and start working on yourself.

This will show her that you’re giving the situation the seriousness it deserves—because you respect her.

DO take responsibility

Even if it hurts. Even if you don’t fully agree.

You taking ownership, whether it’s about money, a dried-up romance or another woman, is non-negotiable.

If you don’t take responsibility, she’ll feel like you’re gaslighting her.

Also, try not to say, “I only do that because you…”

At some point, you can share your view of the details with her.

But if your wife just dropped the Divorce bomb, that time is not now.

Or it will look like you’re throwing blame.

DO give her space

By space, I mean room to think and breathe without worrying about you.

Note, this is not advice to “take a break.” Rather, it’s advice to not smother your wife.

How might you do that?

By texting her constantly, checking up on her and calling her friends and family to get details she doesn’t want to share with you.

You can still keep an open line of communication without knowing where she is at all times.

That’s controlling—she should want to talk to you, not feel forced.

This might take a lot of willpower, but it’s worth it if you want your wife back.

DO re-attract her

woman holding a coffee cup smiling at a man with a quote about making a good impression on your wife to win her back

At this point, you’ve turned a corner and she’s ready to accept a coffee date.

What you want to do now is just relax. Enjoy each other’s company.

When she agrees to another hangout, do something you know you’ll both have a good time doing. You are rebuilding her attraction to you from the ground up, as if you were never married.

Why does this work? Because you’re not pressuring her or reminding her of the rocky past. It’s that simple.

BUT—it’s not a date! So no romantic dinners.

Right now, act as if you just met and you’re trying to make a great impression. Let your fun-loving side and positive attitude spark the butterflies for her.

Once you’ve reached this crucial stage, Dr. Lee Baucom can help you take the next steps to get your wife back fast in Save The Marriage.

What You Should NOT Do

DON’T engage in argument cycles

You can go from picking out house paint to sleeping in separate rooms like that.

Only now, your wife no longer feels obligated to stick around and argue with you.

It’s critical that you don’t participate in communication patterns that lead to arguments, regardless of who starts them.

Problem is, it’s difficult to spot the exact moment they happen.

Here’s a tip: When you feel the conversation going down a negative path, stop and reach for something more constructive to say next, even if it’s:

“I see your point. I’d like to let it percolate for a bit and then talk more about it. Is that OK?”

Much different from going on the defensive.

DON’T over-promise

torn piece of paper with the word promise on it and a quote about breaking your promises to your wife

You definitely can and should commit to making changes to better yourself and your personal situation if you want to bring your wife back home.

But a knee-jerk reaction of promising the world will set you up to under-deliver.

Before you say, “I can change x, y and z,” consider whether that’s actually true.

Let’s say she hates your job. Telling her you’ll quit tomorrow isn’t necessarily the responsible course of action, and it might come across as a glib answer.

Remember, your wife wants tangible change and a tangible plan of action.

Plus, she is well past the point of entertaining the “I’ll do anything” promises anyway.

DON’T use emotional blackmail

When is the last time you heard of a healthy, functioning relationship based on manipulation?

The truth is, you may get your wife back with a tactic like guilt-tripping

“If you leave, I’ll just end up drinking/failing/hurting myself.”

And so on.

But that is no guarantee that she won’t head straight for the door next time she has an opportunity.

It could also backfire if you trigger her “No Bull@#!*” button.

DON’T become someone you’re not

In the effort to appease your wife, you turn into someone you don’t even recognize in the mirror.

The reality is, this won’t just hurt you. It also won’t win your wife back.

A zebra can’t change its stripes, and putting on a horse costume isn’t going to fool your spouse. But odds are, she’s not looking for you to do that.

To be clear, you definitely DO want to work on the roadblocks that are in your control. That is what a loving partner would do.

Just don’t lose your sense of self in the process.

That other person will be weak in comparison, and your wife doesn’t want a weak partner.

DON’T OK her to death

black and white photo of a couple on a dock in a blanket with a quote about being strong for your wife

If you’re just saying “OK” and “If that’s what you want, I just want you to be happy,” on repeat, you’re being less charitable than you think.

In her mind, you’re letting her walk out the door because you’re a) not that bothered, b) spineless, or c) over the relationship yourself.

Be honest with her. It’s perfectly acceptable to let her know that you don’t think divorce is the answer.

More than ever before, your wife needs to see that you’re strong, tenacious and can fight for what you believe in, not that you’re too weak to make a stand.

Don’t be passive!

DON’T abandon her

There’s a big difference between giving your wife room to breathe and becoming like a ghost.

While it’s good to show that you’re not trying to manipulate her and change her mind, there’s a risk of being so laid-back that you wind up alienating her.

So, don’t just drop out of her life, even if you think it’s temporary.

It can send the message that however many years you spent together were less important to you than they were to her.

Or give her the go-ahead to explore new relationships.

DON’T push too hard


Incredibly difficult, I know.

But you can’t jump the gun when your wife wants to leave.

The ball is in her court and she knows it. 

Everything you do, do with patience and care.

You want her back, but only when the broken things in the relationship are fixed.

For both your sakes.

She will respect that.

Now that you know how to get your wife back when she wants a divorce, or at least where to start, it’s time to do the real work.

Save The Marriage will help you get your marriage back even if you’re doing it all alone.

Click here to check out Save the Marriage.