If you’ve broken your wedding vows, you might just have caused irreparable damage to your marriage might be headed for divorce. Marriages are hard work, and breaking your wife’s heart makes it even harder. Can you fix a broken marriage?
The short answer is, yes – and any marriage counsellor will tell you the same. Before you pay for counselling, it’s important to do some work on your own. Start by fixing what you can fix – which is yourself!
Scroll down for 8 crucial steps to working on yourself and saving your marriage.
1. Admit that you failed.
The first step in saving your marriage is by simply taking a good look in the mirror and admitting to yourself that you don’t really know how to be married. You failed to respect your wife, and probably deserve to be dumped by her. Expect and prepare for the worst and start from there.
Figure out what works in your marriage and what doesn’t. What a marriage therapist would ask you and your wife is “What’s going on?”. The answers you’ll probably both give might be something along the lines of:
- We don’t talk anymore.
- We never make love.
- He cheated on me!
What you should really be saying is what is actually going on in the marriage. When and how did the issues begin? It takes courage to admit that the marriage has been deteriorating for a while. Infidelity might be the cause of separation, but definitely not the root cause. What else is there that really needs fixing?
Is it the lack of communication? The lack of interest in each other’s life? Too much work? Too little time for one another because of the kids? Lack of affection and intimacy?
Chances are there are quite a few issues that need tackling.
2. Get to the root cause of your infidelity.
A lot of families are ripped apart because one partner cheated, and there was no way the other could have stayed with them. Trust was broken, and therefore the marriage failed.
Sometimes divorce might feel like the right decision just because it’s the easy decision. With so many couples divorcing in the 21st century, it becomes almost too easy to do, so couples don’t even fight for their marriage anymore.
Adultery is almost always the result of multiple factors. If the betrayed partner really wants to understand what happened and why, divorce could often be avoided.
Here are a few important questions to ask yourself:
What was going on in your head before you cheated on your wife? Why did you really do it?
How did it feel to be with someone else? Did it feel the way you thought it would or like a terrible mistake?
Did you seek someone else because you never had your needs met by your wife?
Have you been fantasizing about getting away from your life?
The most important step in saving your marriage after breaking your wife’s heart is by simply acknowledging whether you want the marriage saved.
Do you feel guilt for what you did? Was it the biggest mistake of your life? Would you do anything to turn back the time? Or have you secretly been a little relieved to get caught?
3. Make marriage a priority again.
One of the reasons people cheat is because they don’t feel close enough to their partner. Cheating is often less about the person you’re with, and more about the novelty of the feeling. It can be an escape from the mundane, day-to-day marriage issues, the familiar home, the children, and the chores – but it’s never the solution!
When you know that you want to heal your marriage, you need to reprioritize your life. That means putting your marriage first – over work, hobbies, children, and any other passions. This is the only way to truly make a difference and prove to your wife that you are worth giving another chance.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Show your wife that you’re truly committed to making your marriage work – with words and actions. Say sorry, not because you got caught, but because you really mean it.
- Get home from work on time. Don’t find excuses to be away from your wife – don’t blame it on work or being too busy. You can’t possibly fix a broken marriage if you aren’t even spending time in the same room as your wife.
- Be the husband she wants you to be. You know what that means! You know your wife and her needs and desires. Help her, be there for her, listen to her – maybe pick up the children and make dinner. It’s time to pick up some new habits, which will make her feel appreciated and loved.
- Make time for just the two of you. Being intimate with your wife after breaking her heart might be the hardest and most unnatural thing to plan, but you must plan it anyway. Plan a date night or a weekend away from the kids, work, the house, and everyday life.
- Don’t rush her to make her decision. Your wife will be thinking about what you did for a long time. She might ask you about the affair too – how it started, who the other woman is, and any details that might make her feel better. She needs time and space to decide whether she wants to give you another chance.
- Whatever she needs to know, it’s your duty to tell her – there’s no way around it. You might want to protect her from knowing, but that’s not your decision to make. You should have protected her by not doing it in the first place!
- Rediscovering sexual intimacy is a crucial part of the healing process. Simply being close to your wife, touching her and holding her hand will show her you truly see her and desire her. It can be a powerful way to reconnect. Just don’t forget you still need to work on the emotional and psychological side of it too.
- You have betrayed her trust. Even if it was just sex, it’s still painful for her and for some women, it’s the most painful thing they can go through. She won’t forgive you unless you make it your absolute priority to prove your love to her.
If you want to save your marriage, you need to be willing to change. Don’t just expect that things will be the same after your infidelity – they never are!
4. NEVER betray her trust again.
This really goes without saying, but you cannot betray her trust again! You’ve already broken her heart once, and are trying to fix it – you simply can’t afford doing it again.
If she’s working hard to forgive you, there is no space left in the marriage for lies, secrets, fighting, or cheating. Next time will be the time you lose her for good.
5. Take a break from marriage.
You might be fighting hard to save your marriage, but if your wife isn’t on the same page, it will feel nearly impossible. Nothing you say makes her happy anymore. You can’t agree on anything.
She’s completely heartbroken, and doesn’t even want to see your face. Maybe you should do her a big favor and take a break – literally! Move out, stay with a friend, and do whatever you need to do to give her proper space and time to think. This is also the ultimate test to see whether she will even miss you.
Please remember that this doesn’t mean abandoning her. If you have kids, you can’t just disappear and leave her all alone! You still need to pull in your weight, more so than ever in fact – but you can do that from a little distance, giving her the space she desperately needs.
If she doesn’t want to be anywhere near you, the more you’re in front of her, the angrier she will be. She will just constantly be reminded of what you did, which won’t help her move on from your infidelity.
6. End all contact with “her” – for good.
It goes without saying that the surest way to break your wife’s heart is to stay in touch with your mistress. You just can’t do that – not even once! You need to end all contact with her, and never speak of her again.
No texts, no pictures, no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s the only way you will reassure your wife that you are truly sorry, and you have changed your ways.
At the same time, if you do end up bumping into her or getting a text from her, tell your wife immediately. You need to earn her trust – and withholding information won’t help you do that.
7. Remember why you want to change.
However long it takes to regain your wife’s trust and rebuild your marriage, you need to remember why you’re doing it and that it’s worth it. Marriage is a huge commitment, and you can’t just expect her to forgive you overnight.
On the days that feel particularly tough and hopeless, remind yourself of the good times you’ve had together. Browse through old photos, think about happy memories and of everything you’ve built as a couple.
If you have kids, you’ll want to be a good example for them, and the best way to do that is to love their mother with all your heart and be faithful to her no matter what. As hard as it may feel like to regain her trust, you are able to do it.
8. Seek counselling.
If all else fails, it’s okay to see a professional therapist or a marriage counsellor. Don’t just give up and file for divorce after a few obstacles along the way.
Of course, marriage counselling will only work if you’re both on board and willing to talk about their feelings. Make sure it’s a priority in both your schedules. Be there on time, talk about it after, and be open to learning new things about you and your marriage.
The counsellor might even help you uncover a lot of underlying marital problems you’ve both ignored for a while, and the sessions will be a safe space to express anger and frustration but also gratitude and forgiveness.
The Bottom Line
These tips to save your marriage after breaking your wife’s heart are a good starting point, but only when you really want to do better. Watch out for signs that your marriage might be completely irreparable.
It takes courage from both parties to work hard and save a marriage – and it also takes courage to admit when the marriage is truly over. Sometimes enough is enough – and an unhappy marriage isn’t the answer to a saved marriage.