I sometimes hear from wives whose husbands can’t or won’t be honest about his feelings toward the marriage. These husbands will sometimes claim that their feelings are conflicted and this usually makes the wife want to uncover his feelings that much more. And wives can wonder if he’s legitimately confused or just using this as an excuse.
I heard from a wife who said: “Our marriage has been in trouble for quite some time. Over the last couple of months, there has been no real intimacy between us and when we are together, we just stare at one another awkwardly. There isn’t really anything for us to talk about because we are really two very different people. I finally got up my nerve and asked him if he was still committed and invested in my marriage. He told me that he didn’t know because he was ‘confused.’ He said he didn’t know how he felt about me or our marriage anymore. I told him that he would have to be more specific because I didn’t know what ‘confused’ really means. He told me that there are some days when he wants to walk away from our marriage and some days when he thinks he wants to fight for it. I asked him which days are more frequent and he admitted that he has more days when he wants to walk away. So what does this mean for us? And how can I help him get past his confusion so he will work with me to save our marriage?” I have a definite opinion on this, as I dealt with it myself in my own marriage. I will share it in the following article.
A Husband’s Confusion About Your Marriage Isn’t The Worst Outcome: I know from experience that this isn’t an easy situation for you. It hurts to hear your husband say that he isn’t sure about you and the marriage. However, many wives are dealing with a husband who has no confusion, because he is sure that his marriage is over. So while his confusion may be frustrating to you, at least he hasn’t made up his mind that the marriage is over. At least he still has some positive thoughts about you and your marriage. This gives you something to build upon and tells you that all is not lost.
Don’t Push Him Too Hard To “Get Over” His Confusion Before You Have Given Him The Time And Space To Do So: Of course you want for him to make up his mind as soon as possible. And the chances are good that you want for him to decide that he still wants you and your marriage. So, it can be very tempting to push in order to make this happen quickly. Even if you don’t mean to, it’s easy to start to apply some pressure to get him to not only make up his mind quickly but to make up his mind to include the decision that you prefer.
This type of pressure can actually hurt your chances of making your marriage work. In my opinion and experience, you’re generally going to be much better off being patient. Even if you don’t feel this patience, try to take a step back and make it appear as if you do. You want for your husband to believe that you want him to be happy and you are willing to allow him to come to his own decisions. Now, understand that he is going to be more likely to be committed to your and your marriage if you act in a positive way while he’s making up his mind. I know that this can be very challenging when you know that there is a real chance that when the confusion ends, he may walk away. But choose to focus on the positive because this gives you a better chance of getting the results you want.
What Does It Mean When He’s Confused About Your Marriage?: It often means that he’s having some conflicting feelings and he doesn’t know which is more real or valid. Often, this “confusion” comes after you’ve had some struggles in your marriage, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, husbands project other problems in their lives onto their marriage. The good news is that eventually, many come to realize that their wife or their marriage truly wasn’t the problem. However, even if you suspect this, it’s often not to your benefit to tell your husband that he’s wrong or being selfish. If you allow him to figure this out on his own, that’s the best outcome.
Can You Pinpoint The Source Of His Confusion?: Sometimes, the reason that your husband is confused is obvious. Sometimes, there are intimacy issues, another woman, or a certain conflict that just won’t go away. If you know the source of the confusion, try to address it in a genuine and loving way. When I say genuine, what I mean by that is that you don’t want it to be obvious that you are just trying to clean up the problems quickly to end his confusion. Instead, you want to make it clear that you are trying to solve your problem because you genuinely care about him and the marriage.
A Suggested Dialog: Instead of trying to strong arm your husband into making a quick decision that may be detrimental to you and your marriage, you might try something like: “I’m hurt to hear that you’re confused about our marriage. My commitment is clear to me, but I understand that you might be struggling with some things right now. I have no problem giving you the time and space that you need because I love you and I want to save our marriage. If you can give me some feedback as to what might be the main source of your confusion, I’d be more than happy to work with you to resolve any issues so that the answer might be a little more clear.”
Notice that in this conversation, you never told him his confusion was a stall tactic or was not genuine. And you never questioned his sincerity. It should be a given that you respect and accept his feelings. If you disagree with him or try to strong arm him into hurrying up and making up his mind, the implication is that your peace of mind matters more than his and you never want to give off this impression when your very marriage is at stake.
My husband’s confusion about our marriage leads to a separation because I didn’t handle it in the right way. I didn’t take him seriously enough and he eventually wanted time on his own to evaluate his confusion. Only taking him seriously until after the separation was a huge mistake that almost costs me my marriage. Eventually, though, I changed course and was able to save it. If it helps, you can read the whole emotional story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com