Giver her space, but let her know why.
She has had enough. She does not want to talk, or work on it; she just wants it to end. Failure to respect this is only going to make her mad, and that won’t help you save your marriage. You need to communicate to you respect her need for some space, and you are giving that to her because you love her, not because you want to be divorced. I say communicate because talking to her is probably not the best way to go. Even if she is will listen to you, odds are one, or the other of you will get upset and say something that just makes things worse. An e-mail or short letter is the way to go here.
You want her to continue her life as normally as possible. This means letting her stay in the house/apartment, while you find other accommodation. It means letting her know you will find somewhere else to go to church so she can feel okay going to the church she knows. It means not using the children as a way of inserting yourself into her life.
Some guys think making it difficult for her will snap her out of it, but this is not what happens. Any challenge makes her even more sure she should leave. She has been building up to this for a while, she has thought it out; she has plans. Because of this the odds are she will handle challenges well, tells her she does not need you. Additionally, pushing her away from what she knows, and from those closest her, just encourages her to make new habits and new friends. This is the exact opposite of what you want.
You must realise she does not want to see you or talk to you right now. She is almost certainly afraid, to some extent, you will push yourself on her. Maybe you have given her cause to fear this, and maybe you have not, but most women expect it. If you show her you understand and do not want to make her uncomfortable, it can help a great deal. I realise you cannot work things out if you are not communicating, but giving her space allows her to calm down, and shows her you respect her more than she has thought you do.
- If you have kids, let her know you want to find ways to spend time with them so it won’t be a problem for her. Tell her you are open to picking up and dropping them off at a neutral, public place or someone’s home.
- Ask her if she would like you to copy all communications with her to a third-party.
- DO NOT just show up at the house for ANY reason. If you need something, let her know, and ask when you can come by. I said ask her, not tell her. Ask her if she wants to be gone when you come by, or if she wants a friend or two to be there with her.
- Give her your house keys; all of them.
In all of this, continue to communicate, gently, that your desire and prayer is to reunite.
No idea what to say (write)? Use this as a starting place:
Her first name (skip the nicknames and other stuff, it will feel insincere or manipulative),
I don’t understand what is happening, but I can see you are deeply hurt. I do not want to divorce, but I know I can’t force you to stay with me. It is my deepest desire, and my prayer, that we can work this out. I will work hard to save our marriage; please let me know what I have done so I can start working on my stuff.
I can see you need to have time away from me, and I respect that need. I want this to be as easy as possible for you, so I have made arrangements to stay at ______________. Let me know when I can come by to drop off my keys and get what I need. If you don’t want to be there, I understand. If you want someone to be there with you, or in place of you, that’s fine. It’s your call.
I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable with your friends. I will not bad mouth you in any way and I won’t try to get our friends to choose sides. I realise seeing me at church would be very difficult, so I will go to (another church or another service) for the time being.
I will, of course, want to spend times with the kids. However, I don’t want to use them as pawns, or make you uncomfortable. We can arrange swapping of the kids in a public place, or at someone else’s house. I have no intention of trying to turn the kids against you, and will only tell them we are having problems and I hope we can work them out. I will not put this on you or try to make you “the bad guy”.
Let me know how you want to communicate when we need to do so. If you don’t want to talk, I understand. We can do email. If you want me to copy everything I write to someone, let me know.
You may not feel or believe it right now, but I do love you, and I want to continue being your husband. I want to understand what I have done to drive you away so I can change. I want to become the man you need and deserve. I pray giving you the space you need will allow you to feel okay about giving me a chance to work things out. I realise the problems are many and long-term, and there is no quick fix. I’m in this for the long haul.
My bride, who has dealt with women leaving or thinking of leaving a husband, says a letter like this would give any woman pause. Many would not believe it, but if it were followed with action matching the words, it would shock and confuse almost any wife seeking a divorce. Shocked and confused is good, it means she may consider things are not as she thinks, or at least that she was wrong her husband could not or would not change. Additionally, following up on such a letter with actions that match the words would leave a woman with very little cover. She cannot point to anything he is doing at the moment that is wrong, selfish, or harmful. Regardless of what is in the past, or what she says is in the past, the man who writes such a letter, and follows it with appropriate actions, is clearly trying to save his marriage. Such a man shows he won’t let his pride or fear or his own perceptions destroy his marriage.