What is the best way to stop a divorce? Are you the one that is initiating the divorce? Or are you the one whose spouse is serving divorce papers to?

If your marriage is currently a miserable one, not giving you the basic things that you feel a marriage should be giving you, it’s perfectly normal that you would wonder things like- when to file for divorce? Or if you should get a divorce and just give up on marriage?

We’d like to provide you with some clarity below on what we think could help you answer your doubts.

More inspiration for stopping a divorce and learning how to save a marriage:

If your spouse has asked you for a divorce, follow these steps:

Your first reaction might be shock, disbelief, hurt, or anger. Think before you respond, as any strong reaction is likely to do more harm than good. Take responsibility for what you contribute to the relationship downfall and own up to it.

1) Don’t panic– While you undoubtedly may be feeling terrified that your relationship and life as you know it are at stake, the more calm you can be, the more likely you will be able to avoid a divorce and re-engage your spouse.

2) Be the best you can be– It only takes one person to change to impact a relationship. Focus on being the best spouse you can be. Become more conscious about how your behaviors may be triggering your spouse and work on yourself.

3) Don’t beg your spouse to stay–  When all else fails, do the 180. That means playing a little hard to get (click on the article to see more about what that means practically). I’ve found that when people appear needy and desperate, it is a turn off. If you act as if you don’t care, it will be a huge surprise and will you leave your spouse a little curious.

Even if you think your spouse is equally to blame, it doesn’t matter, you both contribute to a relationship success or failure.

The more that you can take responsibility for what you’ve done wrong, the more you can make things right.

Validate your spouse’s feelings and her hurt even though you are also hurt.

Let her know that you are willing to work on your marriage.

Say, “It makes sense that you are upset” and take ownership for anything that you may have done to contribute to the problems.

Now is not the time to get defensive or explain your position.

Say, “I’m willing to hear what you have to say, to hear your side, and to make the changes necessary to make things work out.”

She may have been trying to get help for years and you didn’t want to go.

Say, “I’m willing to get help together, to do whatever it takes, even though I wasn’t willing to go before.

You may even want to take initiative to find marriage counseling that will work and tell your wife that you’ve found someone that can help you both.

Be sure you read about how to prevent marriage counseling making things worse.

It still may not work, depending on why she is leaving especially if there is someone else in the picture, but you have to patient, and sometimes people do change their mind and come back and you have to do the best you can to work on yourself and your role, and to be a better husband.

She may need time to cool off and reflect and ultimately you can’t force her to come back. She may need space, don’t pressure her. Don’t repeatedly call her every day asking her to come back.

It’s important to be patient and to validate your husband’s feelings of wanting a divorce even though you don’t. Sometimes people need “permission to leave” and once they are able to air their grievances, without fear of backlash and reaction from their spouse, they are able to come back to the marriage.

For example, if your husband says often that he wants to leave, and you keep trying to persuade him otherwise, he may run the other way. However, if you really “hear” him, that may be all he needs to settle his internal upheaval.

This doesn’t mean that you should not try to seek competent professional help. If your husband is willing to work on the relationship, definitely go to marriage counseling!

However, if he refuses to work on the relationship, and is adamant that he wants out, pressure from you will only make the situation worse. He is expecting you to put up a fight, so the calmer and less reactive that you are, the more you will show your best face in spite of the pain that you are experiencing.

In the meantime, do as much self reflection as possible on what you may have been doing to contribute to the relationship’s demise.

Even if you feel that it is not your fault, taking ownership for what you can is always positive for the relationship.

If you’re the one asking for a divorce

If you’re the person that is initiating the divorce, if you’ve already filed your divorce papers- Think about the ramifications of your actions. Do you have children together? Do you think things will be better with someone else when you bring yourself and all of your unresolved personal issues into the next relationship?

Many view divorce as a way out of their misery to a better life. Child custody battles can be brutal and when all is said and done you may have found yourself spending a small fortune for lawyers fees. Furthermore, your lawyer may make things worse as their main concern is that you win. This may mean making suggestions that are a lot harsher than you would like. Even if you divorce your spouse, you ex is still the mother or father of your child. You may still have an emotional connection and for you it’s not just cutthroat business like it is for your attorney.

There are even those who begin the divorce process and then decide they would like to reconcile with their spouse but are strongly urged against it by their lawyers. The lawyers would rather break up a family than lose their case. The family court system can be frightening and divorce is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Nevertheless, your situation may be very painful and you are wondering whether you should leave your marriage and how to know when to give up on marriage. I would suggest trying to work on the relationship together. Know that people can change after getting the right marriage help.

I have seen so many bad marriages get better once the couple finally was able to work on their relationship together in an effective manner. While it might feel like you may have made up your mind, I imagine that you would stay if you knew it would and could be better. While there are no guarantees, there are tools that do work.

There is very real marriage help that will save your marriage. Let’s talk about how to get your spouse interested and on board with coming to our 2 Day Marriage Restoration Retreat and avoid filing for divorce and instead fix your marriage so that it supports you forever.

Stopping Divorce.

If you want to stop a divorce you have to seriously commit to working on the relationship. You’ll slowly begin to see that there is a reason for all of the trouble you are having. It’s part of why you got married in the first place and it’s part of what you need to do to grow and heal.

For the marriage to change, you have to have a complete shift in your perspective about how relationships work, the purpose of conflict, and why you picked your spouse. You also need to realize that most couples have no clue what it is like to be married. They are not equipped with the tools to help them.

Conflict is inevitable, and the question is, are you prepared to deal with it? Most couples aren’t and that’s why they get divorced. They think it’s an omen that they married the wrong person.

The two most important ingredients for successful and happy marriages are to understand how relationships work and to learn practical tools. I have seen so many bad marriages get better once the couple finally was able to work on their relationship together in an effective manner.

You’ll also need commitment and connection. When a couple is committed to each other, no matter what happens,  they are invested in making their relationship work, even against all odds.

People often wonder if they should really commit when things are hard and when a couple is locked in a power struggle. “The irony of commitment is that it is deeply freeing”. Once you choose commitment over doubt,  the solutions to fixing those power struggles are that much easier to access and the couples knows that they will always choose doing whatever it takes as opposed to leaving.

The other quality needed to divorce proof a marriage is connection. We are born in connection and we need connection to grow and heal. We constantly want to be in connection and when we feel a lack of connection with our partner we “cry out” in ways that seem acceptable for adults but really are happening because we fear we have lost connection with our partner.

It’s often way too hard to try to stop your divorce yourself and the downward spiral that you’ve been on. You need an expert to take you through the process of reversing the inevitable. Our 2 day private marriage retreat will dramatically shift your perspective on your relationship, teach you practical tools that you have not had, and provide you with tremendous hope for a bright future. You can stop a divorce let us help you. Talk with us today. 


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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact info@themarriagerestorationproject.com or