My fellow husband,
If you are separated from your wife, I would love to provide a sample letter to illustrate how to understand and communicate with your wife's heart. However, I won't. Such a letter needs to come from your heart. If the words do not actually reflect your feelings and insights, it will not take your wife long to figure that out and she will probably respond by hardening her heart beyond reach. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you listen to the free lecture, Unraveling the Mysteries of the Female Mind and pray God gives you deep insights into your wife. Believe me, you don't want to write an inadequate letter -- it will reinforce her low opinion of you and could inoculate her for good.
A successful letter or conversation must NOT be about you and what you understand about yourself. It must NOT be full of appropriate sounding apologies or promises of repentance. It must be about your wife and her pain -- pain that YOU have caused her.
Your wife must know that you understand her wounded condition and how you have contributed to it. Only after she senses that you have genuine compassion for the wounds you have caused, is it possible that she will open her heart back up to you. (Of course, apart from you, God may move upon her as well.)
Brother -- you must understand that no matter how strong your wife appears in her ability to speak her mind, and no matter how capable she is in an argument, she is not your opponent and never has been. Your wife is the weaker vessel whom God has entrusted to your care --- to be treated with gentleness (Col 3:19) and understanding (1 Pet 3:7). The Bible says she is like a rose (Song 2:1) that must be nurtured and protected from all threats. To protect her petals she must be kept out of the wind and handled with tenderness. If you fail to water her, miss the signs that she is starved for care, or treat her roughly, her petals will fall off. Can you justifiably be annoyed with a flower that has lost its petals after you've treated it roughly or failed to protect it?
I offer you on this website what I have learned as a counselor and husband, but my suggestions come with no promises of reconciliation -- just increased possibilities.
Understanding her wounds
When a woman decides she wants to marry a man, it is often because she has responded to the wooing of her heart. He pursues and courts her, and she feels loved, cherished, and valued. Finally, when she feels that he is safe with her heart, she agrees to marry him. On her wedding day she then gives her heart to him. She doesn't give it to her cousin, to the guy down the street, or to any other man -- she entrusts her heart to the one who convinced her he will protect it and keep it safe.
A guy rarely understands that his wife has given him her heart, and doesn't realize that he has the power to cause her either great joy or severe heartache. Simply by the way he listens to her, the way he looks at her, or the tone in which he speaks to her he can make her feel either treasured or totally worthless. Unfortunately, by clueless male insensitivity throughout his marriage, a guy can easily send his wife the message that she is insignificant. Eventually, after having her heart stepped on over and over, she is desperate to emotionally survive, so she takes her heart back and abandons the very one she thought would be her protector.
For a woman, separation is not typically prompted by boredom or her husband's loss of looks. It is mostly about safety -- she flees that which threatens her. In fact, that is why many a woman will take out a restraining order against her husband or forbid him from contacting her. She has felt out-of-control and at his mercy for many years, and thinks that she will remove her husband's power to hurt her if she creates a "husband-free" zone.
No woman who invests years of her life into a marriage will casually throw it away. For a woman to abandon her marriage she has to be in a state of extreme desperation. Tragically, most guys who attempt to reconcile do not understand the depth of pain it took to drive their wives to forsake their marriage. Consequently, they try to reconcile by offering apologies or writing letters that are mostly about them. If a devastated woman is going to open her heart back up to the husband who continually stepped on it, she needs to know that he sees the damage he did, feels for her in her painful, broken condition, and will therefore make great strides to avoid stepping on her heart again.
Think about it guys -- if a playful dog bit you every time you went in the yard with him, would you want to risk returning to the yard again? If a nearsighted dentist accidentally cut your gums or cracked a tooth each time you went in for a cleaning, would you want to entrust your mouth to him again? For you to trust him, wouldn't you need to know that he knew exactly what he had been doing and had a plan to buy glasses? For a woman, it is not entirely about hearing from her husband that he regrets what he has done or has a plan to change. Since it was her heart that was injured by the very one she expected to protect it, she must sense that he fully understands how she feels, and that he has become safe. My session Unraveling the Mysteries of the Female Mind will help you grasp that.
So as you write your letter or prepare to speak to your wife, keep in mind that what is most important is not your words, but your ability to communicate your empathy and compassion. See her like you would see a woman whose child you just ran over with your car. A woman who is suffering such loss will despise a general, undefined apology and promises of repentance. Think about it -- how would you comfort a woman whose child you just killed? You wouldn't say to a mother who holds the broken body of her child in her arms, "I am so sorry your kid ran in front of my car. I'll be more careful next time I am on your street." You would probably, in reality, be at a loss for words, but great pain and remorse would be obvious in your eyes. You would feel for her as a parent, and if you did speak, your words, tone, and actions would communicate empathy.
The only reason your wife flees you is because you ran over her heart with your truck. She needs to feel the same empathy from you as you would show to a mourning mother.
It would not be wise for me to provide you a sample letter, but at the least I want to offer you further insights into your wife, which will help you better understand her present condition, and which will increase the possibility that she will soften her heart toward you.
If she is a typical American woman, you can be sure she waited her whole life for the man that would make her feel loved, valued, and cherished. She wanted what any little girl dreams of – she desired a man who would make her feel that she was worth something, a man who would make her feel loved and secure. She wanted to be the princess sought after and made safe by her knight. She craved a man who would want her the way she emotionally needed him.
As a teenager you probably longed for a woman, but you weren’t thinking about security and emotional intimacy. You wanted a female companion, a partner to take care of you, and be available to meet your needs for physical intimacy. These two distinct dreams ensured that marriage would bring with it challenge for both of you.
When you were single, you pursued your wife to win her heart. You wooed her with gifts, candlelight, and soft music. Maybe you wrote her letters or sang her songs. However you did it, by all the attention you showed her, she felt desired and cherished, like she was a princess on a glass hill who was worth a great quest. By the way you listened to her, she came to trust you, finally feeling that her heart would be safe with you. Whether you knew it or not, you convinced her you would be her heart’s protector.
On the day you got married, she entrusted her heart to you, but like most guys, you didn’t have a clue how to take care of her heart. You didn’t even know she gave it to you, so you didn’t protect it carefully. You kept it in your pocket with your car keys and dropped it on the dresser every night by your wallet. Unfortunately, after a guy says "I do" he also says “I'm done.” He relates to his new wife the same as a guy who has just caught a fish. When a man catches a fish for dinner, does he leave the bait on the hook? NO. He puts his lure in the tackle box, and takes his fish home to eat. He got what he came for, so stopped fishing.
As guys we enjoy romance, but it does not mean to us what it means to a woman. We like romance and use it like bait to catch a woman. But after we land ourselves a wife, we put the lure in the tackle box and stop fishing. We cease doing that which our wives believed we would do forever. In her heart she said, “Yes, I will marry you, because I want to feel this way the rest of my life.” Has it occurred to you that she now feels severely defrauded?
You came along and led her to believe that she could trust you with her heart, but it wasn’t long after she married you that she began to conclude how wrong she had been about you. You no longer made her feel special. You were obsessed with work or anything else that interested you. The only time you acted romantically was when you wanted the marriage bed. She married you to build a relationship, but your mind was stuck on you.
Most women who flee their marriage do so because they tire of feeling the pain of rejection. It is hard for them to open their heart to its protector time and again, just to have it dropped on the floor or swatted back by him. Most men have few memories of swatting their wife’s heart, but that is because they never knew their wife offered it to them.
Those “swattings” occurred when your wife was telling you what was on her mind. She often shared her comments with frustration and she sounded like she was complaining, but she just wanted to be understood and rescued from those things that emotionally assaulted her or robbed her of security. In her mind she was not on the offensive – just passionately, vulnerably begging for help. Unfortunately, you thought you were being attacked, so responded defensively. On those occasions when your wife needed the most understanding and support, you saw her as an opponent to be corrected, avoided, or defeated. For years she has been trying to share her heart with you, but you just got angry or defensive every time she opened up. You finally wore her down, and now she has left. Your defensive responses have left her seeing you as self-centered and uncaring. In her mind, the one she married to find protection has proven himself to be her biggest threat.
Is it possible that instead of being annoyed with her for leaving you, you should see her as a saint who put up with your indifference for so many years? Has it occurred to you that your insensitivity wore her down?
She left you in order to protect her heart. She probably felt like she was suffocating for a long time, and now she can finally breathe. Can you really blame her for leaving? She just wanted to breathe. How much do you love her? Do you want her living with a guy (you) who deprives her of air? You obviously want her to give you another chance, but do you think you can be her oxygen now? You probably never understood those things you now get about her. You should probably tell her so.
If you now understand what you did to drive her away, do you also understand why she doesn’t want to risk with you? How much do you love her? Will she ever meet another man who loves her as much as you?
These are important things to understand and communicate to your wife.