How to Stop Divorce: Can you stay married?
Can I stop a divorce when my spouse asks me for it?
Many people come to me asking if I can help them stay married. Often in these cases the other spouse is pushing to separate or divorce. The spouse who is talking with me is the only one who wants to prevent separation or divorce.
Is it too late to fix my marriage?
Unfortunately, by the time one spouse is asking for divorce, the relationship has usually been in bad shape for a long time. The request or demand for separation or divorce is usually the last event in a long line of occurrences that have been going on inside the mind of the person who wants to leave.
You don't know if it is too late or not unless your spouse refuses to do anything to help the situation. Even in this case a marriage counselor might be able to help your spouse recognize the value of working out your relationship, if your spouse is willing to talk with a marriage counselor or a psychologist working with marriages.
I had no idea our relationship was so bad.
The spouse who wants to keep the marriage together might have no clue that things were that bad. Or, the person who wants to work on the marriage might have recognized things were bad, but was willing to put up with the bad situation because of the lifetime marriage commitment and the idea that there will be a better time to work on the marriage. Perhaps that "future better me" would be when your spouse or you change jobs, or when school is finished, or a loan is paid off, or after some other life stress has passed.
What can I do now?
The physical analogy for this situation is the person who has felt in good health and just finds out he or she has advanced-stage cancer. Sometimes the cancer is treatable, sometimes not. It will depend on many factors including the type of cancer, the part of the body involved, the progression of the illness, the patient's willingness for treatment and personal stamina, the doctor's choice of treatment, and so forth. Similarly in a marriage that has come to this situation there are many factors involved and too many to recount here.
You do have a better chance if you are both willing to work on your relationship. At this point you might be beyond the assistance provided by self-help programs. I recommend you seek out a highly-experienced licensed professional to work with face-to-face.
Here are some articles that might provide additional insight.
I wish you success in turning your marriage into a wonderful marriage, better than ever.
Frank Gunzburg, PhD