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Me and my wife have been married for almost 5 years and together for 7. We are both relatively young, she is still in her twenties.

The past year or so, I have not acknowledged her very much. I have done my own thing mostly without consideration for her. She tried to make an effort during this time to maintain a healthy relationship with me, but most of the time, I responded with anger / irritability.

Although it's taken quite some time, I now realize I would like to make an effort to re-build the relationship back to a healthy one. Problem is, she now says that she is not interested, after being disheartened so many times already. Now she won't spend time with me, even if I ask her to eat dinner with me, she would rather just watch TV by herself, go out with friends and basically be without me. She says that she is 'not sure' if she is interested in salvaging the marriage anymore.

I love her very much and would like to try to save the marriage, but she doesn't trust that my efforts will be maintained and that I mean what I say. So my question is, how can I convince her to join me in making an effort to make things work out?

  • Although I feel for you, I've certainly been where you are, this is way too broad to be answered well in this format. This is the sort of thing entire libraries of books have been written about and an entire branch of psychology is dedicated to. – apaul Sep 29 '18 at 3:48
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    Counselling would be more useful than our 2¢. This took over a year to get into this state, we can't fix it in an hour or two. – Rob Oct 1 '18 at 0:25
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    @apaul Could you recommend me a specific book please? – Cloud Oct 17 '18 at 9:14
  • @Rob She is attending solo counselling, but doesn't want to do marriage counselling. – Cloud Oct 17 '18 at 9:14
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    @Cloud - We are happy that you have some progress towards a solution. Hopefully this counsellor is aware of your feelings on this and the resolution that you are hoping for. I can't help but think that if you attended one session it would be useful, if only to give your input. With solo counseling there's always a chance that one person's viewpoint won't accurately portray all the facts. – Rob Oct 17 '18 at 11:50
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I think you are realizing the wrong thing. You realize that you need to rebuild the relationship but should state that you realize that you messed up pretty badly. That's the first step in rebuilding this. I've had a somewhat similar issue: my sleep apnea was undiagnosed for a long time. As a result, I was pretty crabby and volatile around her.

She's obviously hurting. The important thing here is to recognize the hurt that you have caused and start dealing with that. You are starting the right thing - spending time with her.

If you haven't already, there needs to be a very frank discussion between the two of you. That needs to start with the basic question: are you both interested in salvaging this marriage? She needs to hear how you truly feel and how your actions don't show your feelings. I say this because that's where you are at right now. You've driven her off, and she's accepted that. Now your question is: can she be invited back, or has she resigned her position?

After that, the first thing is to show her that things have changed, how they have changed, why they have changed, and how they have changed permanently. I'd guess that part of her challenge is wondering how she knows for a fact that you won't respond with anger again. That's going to take longer than you took to lose your status. It will need to be done slowly, cautiously, and with regard to her feelings. That can consist of being pleasant around her, spending time with her on her activities, and (gently) trying to work yourself back into her life.

In essence, you most likely need to start over. How did you woo her? How did you prove to her that she was important to you? What did you do together? Spend time with those, and don't quit doing them this time around. Show genuine interest in her and help her to grow as a person.

It can be done, but you have a large challenge ahead of you.

Edit in response to edit (and other thoughts)

If she's not sure, there's still hope. At this point, you'd really benefit from a third party, such as a marriage counselor, pastor, or marriage and family therapist. These people are trained to help people who are struggling but want to save their marriage. They can help you with exercises to change the dynamic at play here.

  • Thanks, I edited the question to include some additional info though: She says that she is 'not sure' if she is interested in salvaging the marriage anymore – Cloud Sep 28 '18 at 15:14
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Its your turn to understand and manage her moods and tantrums.

Marriage is the mutual kind of understanding. The partners should understand each other. If one partner is down/angree/sad then other partner should manage the situation and vice a versa. There are up and down situations generally arise and it happens.

Here, in your case, when she was trying to make healthy relationship with you then you have not behaved properly with her. You have ignored her. So, at that time she was managing the situation. Now, the situation have become opposite. Now, its your turn to understand and manage her moods and tantrums.

You have to convince her by using not only good words but also act nicely which she would like.

So, you can try following things. I know she is not giving time to you because she got hurt so much. But just follow her and take her time.

  1. Ask her to give one chance to settle down the issue.

  2. This matter requires some time. Time is the best healer.

  3. During this time, do the things which she likes the most.

  4. Cook the favorite dish for her.

  5. Make list of her favorite things.

  6. Give her some gifts which is affordable to you.

  7. Help her to do the daily activities (but be patient so that you should not loose your own temper)

  8. After doing all these above things, just ask her for outing. Go with her to some wonderful place.

  9. Divert her mind to some intersting and comedy talk which will make her laugh.

These points at least give your mind comfort that you have tried all the things for her. Surely, it will be considerable from her side.

Otherwise, If above points will not work then (I don't know your country or culture) you both can take the expert advice i.e. your parents or her parents, elders or family members.

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