Did you know that of the over one million marriages that will end in divorce this year, two thirds to three quarters of those divorces will be filed for by women? What is this so-called, “Walk-away Wife” syndrome all about?
In the early years of marriage, women are the relationship caretakers. They carefully monitor their relationships to make sure there is enough closeness and connection. If not, women will do what they can to try to fix things. If their husbands aren’t responsive, women become extremely unhappy and start complaining about everything under the sun… things that need to get done around the house, responsibilities pertaining to the children, how free time is spent and so on. Unfortunately, when women complain, men generally retreat and the marriage deteriorates even more. After years of trying unsuccessfully to improve things, a woman eventually surrenders and convinces herself that change isn’t possible. She ends up believing there’s absolutely nothing she can do because everything she’s tried hasn’t worked. That’s when she begins to carefully map out the logistics of what she considers to be the inevitable, getting a divorce.
While she’s planning her escape, she no longer tries to improve her relationship or modify her husband’s behavior in any way. She resigns herself to living in silent desperation until “D Day.” Unfortunately, her husband views his wife’s silence as an indication that “everything is fine.” After all, the “nagging” has ceased. That’s why, when she finally breaks the news of the impending divorce, her shell-shocked partner replies, “I had no idea you were unhappy.”
Then, even when her husband undergoes real and lasting changes, it’s often too late. The same impenetrable wall that for years shielded her from pain now prevents her from truly recognizing his genuine willingness to change. The relationship is in the danger zone.
Sometimes men are slow to catch on, but when they do, their determination to turn things around can be astounding. Many couples strengthen their marriages successfully even though it seemed an impossible feat. Give your husband another chance. Let him prove to you that things can be different. Keep your family together. Divorce is not a simple answer. It causes unimaginable pain and suffering. It takes an enormous amount of energy to face each day. Why not take this energy and learn some new skills and make your marriage what you’ve wanted it to be for so long?
If you’re a man reading this and your wife has been complaining or nagging, thank her. It means she still cares about you and your marriage. She’s working hard to make your love stronger. Spend time with her. Talk to her. Compliment her. Pay attention. Take her seriously. Show her that she’s the most important thing in the world to you. Above all, don’t give up!
Excerpt from Michelle Weiner Davis