I sometimes hear from wives who are desperately trying to convince their husbands that it's possible to save their marriage. Sometimes, the husband remains firm in his belief that the marriage is too far gone to save. I recently heard from a wife in this situation. She said, in part: "I'm pretty much willing to do anything to save my marriage. I have repeatedly told my husband this but he won't listen to me. He's telling me that it's too little done too late. He says the window where the marriage could be saved is closed and that there's nothing that I can do. I know that some of the problems in our marriage are my fault and I'm willing to make up for these things, but he won't let me. I think he's getting ready to file for a divorce and I'm devastated by this. What can I do when he's saying that it's too little too late?"

This is a very difficult situation to navigate. The wife has many things to overcome. She must decide on the right course of action, play it all very convincingly, and gauge her husband's reactions to tell what is working and what's not and then continue on. Some wives get discouraged and think it's all too much and are tempted to give up, especially when he's told you very plainly that it's too late anyway.

But I have to say that in my observation, it's not always too late. Having success and saving the marriage in this situation is not impossible, but it is often gradual and very deliberate. I will discuss this more in the following article.

When You're Husband Thinks It's Too Late, You'll Often Have To Show Him (Rather Than Tell Him) That He's Wrong In This Assumption: Many wives in this situation will take the strategy of trying to talk endlessly and convince the husband that the marriage can be saved with words and promises. Or, they will suddenly take on very dramatic actions or plans to try to elicit a very dramatic reaction.

Here's what you need to understand when you are tempted to talk endlessly or try to lay everything on very thick. Your husband has likely taken a while to get to where he is. So, his opinion is likely relatively strong, at least at this time. He's likely watched as the marriage has become what it is now. So, it may not be realistic to think that talking or making promises is going to be all that is needed to convince him that he's wrong.

It's generally going to take a bit more than this over time. And, you're often much better off if you can show him with actions rather than telling him with words. Husbands in this situation usually take what you say with a grain of salt for now. They've likely heard much of this before and are now disregarding it. So, in order to make real strides, you're going to need to show them rather than tell them, because the words no longer have as much power.

Gradual Strategies Are More Realistic (And Work Better) Than The All Or Nothing Approach That Many Take: Many wives in this situation will try one thing and then immediately come back at the husband with something else when the first thing doesn't work. This is understandable because when you're faced with your marriage ending, everything can feel very dire. But, in order for your husband to believe that things are really changing, you'll often have to make gradual and lasting changes in order to convince him that his assumptions may have been wrong and that you just may be making good on what you've said. And honestly, often the more you keep up the dramatic talk and gestures, the more he begins to tune you out. (I learned this the hard way during my own separation, although I eventually got it together and we reconciled. That entire story is here.)

Backing Off When You Really Want To Speed Up: I know that much of what I've told you may seem a bit far fetched or counter-intuitive. I know that it feels as if you need to do or say something dramatic. But, I do dialogue with the men on the other side of this coin and most tell me that this method rarely works. They are well aware that you are pulling out the stops to get a reaction. As a result, you may want to change strategies in order to gain some ground.

One way to do this is to stop clinging so tightly, at least for a bit. Once you loosen your grip, you'll often find that your husband is a bit more interested because he wants to know what has changed. This doesn't mean that you pretend that you don't care or are no longer interested. But it can mean that you shoot for small victories rather than accepting nothing less than a complete and immediate turn around that might not happen.

Sometimes it helps to take very small steps. For example, you might want to start by just improving his reception to you. Once he realizes that you're not going to bombard him with pleas or assertions that he's wrong, he'll likely listen more and avoid less. Once this happens, you can begin to gradually rebuild and show him that the two of you aren't as far apart as he may have thought.

Only you know the central issue that is dividing you, but I'd suggest not dwelling too much on it, particularly at first. When you dwell on it, it only gains strength and presence. What you want to focus on is the people, the feelings, and the connections involved. If you can restore these things, the rest becomes so much easier.

When my husband told me it was too late to save our marriage, I made many of the mistakes I described in this article. These things backfired. Thankfully, I finally realized I was doing more harm than good and was able to change course and save the marriage. You can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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