I recently received an email from a very distraught wife who was at a crossroads in her marriage. During an argument, her husband blurted out that he just didn’t know if he wanted to stay married. When pressed, he told her that he “thought” he still loved her, but also thought he no longer wanted to be married to her. She wasn’t sure how to process this contrast. How could he love her but not want to share his life with her as a married couple? And how was he supposed to respond to this? Sure, things had been a little rough lately, but she had no idea he was thinking of ending things. So now she was faced with not only trying to deal with the shock of the situation, but also how to fix it before things deteriorated into divorce. I will tell you how I advised her in the following article.

Telling you he’s not sure he wants to stay married is a valuable wake-up call: First of all, I have to tell you that no matter how bad he feels right now, the fact that he tells you is actually a plus. I have so many women who write to me AFTER their husband has already started the divorce process or after things have severely deteriorated to the point where there is no communication. However, by communicating his feelings to her, your husband has shown that he is still willing to participate in the give and take. This is a positive thing and allows you the luxury of time to address it properly.

That said, this is really only a plus if you take steps that will improve the situation. Obviously, if you take action that makes things worse, he may not have said a word. So make the most of it and see it as a wake-up call that not all wives get. Go into this with the attitude that you are going to make the most of this not just to cure things, but to permanently improve them.

Accept nothing less than the root of the problem, but don’t bother trying to find it: Many wives make the mistake of taking the attitude that their husband owes them a first-class ticket in their minds and hearts. And often it’s not just the demand to be let in, it’s the tone you adopt. Your tone implies, “I want to know exactly why you think this because I want to show you that you’re wrong” or “You’re selfish and you’re wrong. What more could you want from me?”

Obviously, these things do not endear you to your husband. No one wants to be told that they are not smart enough or perceptive enough to know what is really going on. And each will defend their right to be happy and to be in a mutually satisfying relationship.

Still, to fix this, you need to know what you’re dealing with. It would be very helpful if you could find out what is causing this change in your husband. But approach as if you just want to work with him to address and then fix the problem. It is not meant to blame or get angry.

Often men just can’t pinpoint exactly what the root of the problem is. They will often give you vague statements like “I just don’t feel it anymore” or “I’m just not sure I want to marry, not just you, anyone.” This doesn’t help you much. But here is one thing that is almost always there, so much so that you don’t even need to ask. If your marriage is in trouble, it is because there is a noticeable loss of intimacy for at least one partner. When a person is deeply attached to his spouse, he does not question whether he wants to get married or not. And if problems arise, they want to fix them quickly because they don’t want to lose this closeness.

But, if your husband is in the process of retiring, you have already reached the point where you have overcome this fork in the road. The bond has weakened to the point where the process of accepting this loss has begun. So it makes sense that before you can start navigating the slow process of bringing it back, you must first restore this link. You can’t do this if you’re always bugging him or trying to get him to change his mind. You must be his partner in this process, not his accuser and not someone who only cares about himself.

Restore the all-important bond and understand that your husband will go where the reward is:I have alluded to this, but now I am going to try to drive this point home. Your first step should be to restore the strong bond between you. Revisit the things you used to enjoy together. Channel the best version of yourself. Do not appear angry, desperate or frantic. Present yourself as the loving and respectful wife who cares about her husband’s happiness.

It’s also important to understand that human nature gravitates toward where the greatest reward is. If your husband feels more positive when he is away from you than when he is with you, eventually he will want to leave, and permanently. You have to make sure that your payment is at home, with you. Therefore, you need to focus on creating positive and genuine feelings for both of you. The fact that you are happier will fuel your own reward, so that you can freely give to him. Remember that you want your reward to be where you are, not where you are not.

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