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My Husband Threatens Divorce all the Time

3 Ways to to Heal Your Hurt, Restore Your Dignity and Revive Your Faith in Love

When I was on the brink of divorcing my husband, I was desperate to end the pain of constantly feeling rejected and lonely. I also hoped to escape the financial chaos we were stuck in and dreamed of finding a man who would better match me than the Loser Pants I had married.

Convinced it was my husband’s fault that I was so unhappy, I managed to avoid looking at my own contributions to the tension, hostility and pain in my marriage. I was sure I was the “good” spouse–the marriage counselor even said so.

I didn’t realize I was avoiding the door marked “Reflect on Your Shortcomings,” and I would have gone on my self-righteous way if my marriage hadn’t been failing.

Looking back, I realize that I not only contributed to the breakdown in my marriage, I was chipping away at the intimacy and connection on a daily basis.

Nobody had ever taught me the Six Intimacy Skills™ critical to having a playful, passionate relationship. My parents are divorced, so I was following a failed recipe. Maybe nobody has ever taught you either.

The good news is that the aching heartbreak in my marriage led to an incredible, transformative journey that I never would have taken any other way.

Today I’m deeply grateful for the breakdown and for the woman I’ve become as a result.

That’s why I’m so passionate about ending world divorce and why I started an international coaching company, writing several books to make sure every woman knows how to prevent a divorce by making her marriage amazing.

Here are 3 ways the breakdown in your marriage can become your breakthrough:

1. Find Ways to Respect the Man You Married

One of the things that had gone terribly wrong in my marriage was that I had stopped respecting my husband.

I didn’t realize that respect is like oxygen for men or that, like love, respect is a decision or that my being respectful would go such a long way toward restoring peace and courtesy.

Why does your husband deserve your respect? Because you chose him.

You wouldn’t have picked a jerk. Even if he seems like one now, that’s not who he truly is.

One way to bring out his higher self–even if you haven’t seen that side of him in a long time–is to show him respect.

I desperately wanted a respectful marriage, but what I didn’t realize is that, to paraphrase Gandhi, I had to be the change I wanted to see in my marriage by bringing the respect first.

One woman was astonished that when she apologized to her verbally abusive ex-husband for the years of disrespect she had shown, he not only softened but offered to do her laundry when she was sick, even though they’d been separated for years.

You may prefer to do your own laundry, but giving your husband respect has magical powers to restore your own dignity and pave the way to having the kind of relationship you want in the future.

If you’re willing to try this respect experiment, consider saying (or emailing or texting him) these words: “I apologize for being disrespectful when I dismissed you/interrupted you/rolled my eyes/argued with you last week/at the kids’ party/for all those years.”

If you can be quiet after that–no justifying or defending or restating your point–you’ll give yourself an unfair advantage in healing your marriage.

2. Find Ways to Make Yourself Ridiculously Happy

The threat of divorce has a way of making you cry in your Cheerios or your Riesling (or the two together, which seems like a reasonable meal when your heart is broken).

I’m not saying to squash that heartache down or dismiss it. Of course those feelings need their day in the sun. You’re having them for a reason.

Even so, consider purposefully doing at least three things a day for frivolous fun–like riding your bike, taking a bath or a nap, or getting out the paints or your guitar. Play with your pets, have coffee with a friend, call your sister, sing at the top of your lungs and play Words with Friends.

Do things to delight yourself even if they cost money, like a mani-pedi or a massage.

Here’s why this matters so much: When my marriage was at the lowest point, I thought my husband was doing a lousy job making me happy.

Turns out, that important job is mine, not his.

Only happy people have happy relationships, and I had lost sight of whose responsibility it was to make me happy. I had gotten used to being miserable, which is no way to go through life.

You may still find yourself feeling weepy, but making it your priority to fill yourself up to the point of giddiness will not only help you cope better, it could just save your marriage because it will restore your confidence and make you more attractive.

You may feel selfish doing 3 things that delight you every day at first, but think of all the people who depend on you, then put your own oxygen mask on first. That’s what this self-care is: taking responsibility for your own happiness.

If you’re anything like I was, it will be challenging to figure out what you like to do. That’s okay. You’ll get the hang of it and start to feel amazing in no time.

3. Say “I Can’t” and “Ouch!” Instead of Biting the Bait

If you’re still in the ring going five rounds with your husband about custody, finances or selling the house, it’s a good bet that he’s baiting you by saying things that he knows will make you react.

He makes a snide remark, insults you, or ropes the kids into the mud when you’re trying to protect them. It’s exhausting and stressful!

Consider reacting with no reaction. Let his head explode that you’re not defending, throwing back insults or rushing in to protect the kids even.

This may sound like crazy talk, but I’ve seen it work wonders in restoring peace in the family.

Emma felt so empowered when her estranged husband called to say that she had to come pick up their daughter’s forgotten end-of-semester schoolwork at his house or her daughter would suffer the consequences. Her calm response was “I can’t.”

It was shorthand for “I can’t make that drive without being resentful.” She didn’t say that part, nor did she engage in a conversation about it beyond those two powerful words.

Her husband upped the bait by attacking her and saying that it was on Emma if their daughter had to repeat the sixth grade, which felt like huge bait, but she simply said “Ouch!” And nothing else. No defending, no arguing, no negotiating.

Her husband not only made the drive to get the schoolwork himself, he later texted an apology like she’d never seen in all the years they’d been married. She was moved by how accountable he was.

Who knew that she could get the words she’d been longing for by saying next to nothing?

I certainly didn’t know that before I learned the Intimacy Skills either, so the pain of feeling lonely and hopeless built until I felt completely hopeless.

Luckily, I was too embarrassed to go through with the divorce. So I asked women who had happy marriages for their secrets. That’s how I learned that being successful in marriage is a skill, like playing piano, and not just a matter of luck, like playing roulette.

But there was no Relationships 101 course at my school, and I bet there wasn’t at yours either. That’s not your fault.

Here’s the upside I see now: Without excruciating pain, I wouldn’t have started this journey or have the 28-year marriage of my dreams to the same man I once thought was a Loser Pants. Now I hate to see anyone suffer unnecessarily. I want every woman to have the Six Intimacy Skills.

You may think that being on the brink of divorce is the wrong time to learn Intimacy Skills, but that heartbreak was the doorway to something wondrous for me, and it can be for you too.

To quote Maya Angelou, “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now.”

Don’t let the pain go to waste.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

30 replies on “My Husband Threatens Divorce all the Time”

I’ve been married for 6 years now. All of it is rolling downhill and gaining momentum. It started so well until I found out he had been cheating on me with several different women since the day we got married. I found this out 3 years into the marriage. Then a year later found more. Something just died in me. I have no respect or love for this man . I have anger, hurt, resentment and rage. I dont know if I can stay. So now he threatens divorce with every argument. I suggested counseling and we’ve both gone separate and now need to go together. I just dont know if I can forgive and move on. I’m so angry everyday.

Wendy, I would be angry too. You should not have to go through infidelity once, much less multiple times. It must hurt so much. No one deserves this. It also sounds like part of you wants to forgive and move on? I admire your commitment. You are the expert on your life, so only you know what’s best for you and your relationship. If you do want to save your marriage, I’d love to send you some resources if you opt in to my emails. I am standing for YOUR vision for your marriage!

This sounds like I need it in my life. I have been with my fiancé for 7 years now. We have a kid, and every time we get into it over dumb stuff his out is to end it altogether. We are about to get married in a month and at this point I don’t know what I can and can’t say that won’t set him off…. I’ve been walking on eggshells for years and he says the same about me, but I believe we are both so hard headed that there is just no way out. I have a nursing one year old and I feel like another child to look after as well and nothing works and I don’t know what to do…..

Nicole, this sounds overwhelming and so frustrating. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells or hear your man threatening to end it before you’re even married! I remember when I couldn’t see a way out either. That’s why my coaches and I have helped thousands of women fix their relationships, even when it seems hopeless. We can help you too! Join the waitlist at

I don’t feel it right telling people who are being verbally abused to apologize to their abusers.

Incredible article. After googling advice for 2 hours, was the first thing to hit home. Looking into your book as we speak.

The fact that i dont shy away at all from the effort to endure and go through any kind of fight or hardship no matter how tough it is or how much time it takes. I take it very, very seriously. There is nothing worse than to over invest into a lost cause.

I’ve been married for 18 year’s and my husband has threatened to divorce me throughout our marriage, plus he’s took off on me and went to hotel’s if he did not get his way. This is my 2nd marriage, his first. I re-married after my husband committed suicide 2 year’s after. I had 2 kid’s, who are now grown up. Our son still lives at home for the time being, because he had an accident, which required him to have some help. He is now 27 and looking for an apartment, however my husband is not satisfied with the time it’s taken for my son to find an apartment, especially during the pandemic and the fact my son has a low credit score, due to college debt. Anyway, today he called a divorce lawyer right in front of me, because he was not satisfied how I went about asking my son about how his apartment search was going. My husband is a control freak and I don’t know what to do? I think the only thing to do is leave him. He is emotionally abusive to me and is to my son and was to my daughter from the beginning.

My wife sleeps in another room and every morning before I leave for work she threatens that she wants a divorce. What do I do?

Hi Laura,
Just wanted to know how I can connect to my so when I feel like he’s rejecting me? I work, take care of 2 dogs, 2 kids and the house by myself while there are days that he doesn’t work at all and stays in bed. I can’t afford your couching right now. He also constantly tells me that if we split, the house is his even though I constantly do EVERYTHING. I feel so lonely and disrespected. I lost my mom this year and my dad 11 years ago. He leaves the room when I cry. But yet he is always there for a female friend. He says nothing happened between them, but he hides things and is always there for her and not me. What can I do? He really doesn’t show me any real love either. I’m heart broken.

Last month my husband divorced of me. I would like to repair the things, but we are divorced. I know its my fault too, and i would like a new opportunity with him. I am in pain, but i left him for his verbal abuse and drinking and more things. I am devastated

I was wondering what ever happened to you? I am reading and have been in a similar situation.

My husband has to be right in every argument and he sincerely believes he is. That isn’t important to me. He can be right. I don’t care. What that leads to is a feeling that I’m always wrong, I always apologize, and nothing is resolved. He has started to threaten divorce every time we argue. I just want me feelings acknowledge, and I’ve told him that, but he seems incapable of doing that. I’ve tried reflective listening. restating what he feels and he shuts me down. I went through a physically, emotionally and sexually abusive marriage and divorce losing everything and was homeless for a short time. I was blessed with amazing couselors at Women in Distress but now I’m wondering if I’ve gotten myself into another abusive relationship. I’m scared it will happen again. I’ve groveled, said please don’t leave me, but it’s his goto strategy in an argument. I don’t know what to do. Do I let him leave, do I leave or keep trying?

I think my husband is fed up. He has told me so. Just a bit of background. 2nd marriage for both of us. Married coming up on 9 years.Two children each, mine are grown and live two hours away but still vacation and spend holidays with us. It’s a lost cause trying to blend the family. Will take too long to explain this.

I have differing priorities in the marriage. I have a 1.5- 2 hour commute to work every day and at least the same coming home to an empty house, because he works evenings. I am involved with church and he is easing himself away. He complains that I do NOTHING around the house. I see it differently, but I don’t do nearly what he does. He also works a part time job helping a former boss 2-3 early mornings a week and when he is not working outside of the home he feels he must be doing something working in the house and does nothing for himself. It is only us and a dog in the house except every other weekend. Neither of us are slobs, but I don’t feel that being busy working in the house all the time is healthy, so I don’t do it all the time. I clean up a little bit during the week, as I have a prayer group I attend on Monday’s, and walk with friends 2-3 evenings a week. I don’t get home from work until 6 PM every day. I cook on the weekends he does not have visitation with his children because, he says he will take care of his kids. I offer help and he says no. I don’t argue. He has a certain way and schedule for doing everything. He has OCD, but I suspect he has NPD as well. I will sweep, wash baseboards, dust the furniture, etc., clean sinks in bathrooms and clean the rest of the house when I see it needs it. But because these things seem to go unnoticed by him I suspect he doesn’t see these tasks as important and actually said today, “keep doing what you do. I will continue to do what I do until I don’t want to anymore. I will stay until I don’t want to stay anymore.” He will not discuss a single thing with me, because if I don’t agree with everything he says I am full of drama and all I want to do is fight. I explained that I don’t love or respect him any less because I disagree. But he won’t have a real conversation with me. I feel I now have been forced to only say aah, oh, ok and the like, but that also causes him anger because I am not paying attention. This is not the man I married and his tendency to be sarcastic and hurtful is creating a level of resentment in me that I have a difficult time being around him. I believe that God does not want us to divorce and I don’t want a divorce, but if he wants it there is nothing I can do. BUT I can’t just give up. How do I keep fighting for my marriage, while keeping with my Christian Faith, without continually bending to do things how he says they need to be done, still keep him happy, and still keep trying have a marriage that is not one sided. The only thing that makes him happy is for him to see me as “busy” as him. I am not perfect, I know that. I can’t be perfect, I’ve tried and its too hard to keep up that appearance, to make another happy.

Helll Laura, this is a God send. A week ago my husband uttered those horrid words “we can’t live like this anymore I’m done trying” this is after in Jan he had already told me that he wasn’t in love with me anymore (how I wish I had found your books back then). I was ablet to persuade him to give it one last shot, to stay and give it 6 more months; he said he didn’t see the point that it would take a miracle to turn this around because he’s done. I told him I believe in miracles. I am desperately trying to keep my marriage and our family together (we have a beautiful 2 year old). Since our conversation a week ago I have devoured both of your books, surrendered wife and empowered wife;
I am appalled, horrified and embarrassed to realise how I have single handedly destroyed what we once had by being disrespectful,
Controlling and unappreciative of my wonderful husband. I would like to apologize, but I don’t know how…do I apologize for individual and specific incidents that have occurred through the years? Or is it better and/or sufficient to give a general apology? I was making a list of different instances that came up while I was reading your books and I’m embarrassed to admit I have about 3 notebook pages full. I preyed to God, and came across your work and I’m trying really hard. Please help me

Ady, I’m sorry to hear about your husband saying he was done with your marriage. Those are devastating words. I’m inspired by how you have taken action and by your remarkable awareness!

When I was on the brink of divorce, I was ashamed to realize how controlling and disrespectful my behavior had been. Thankfully, the 6 Intimacy Skills gave me the tools to restore respect, and now my marriage is more playful and passionate than ever.

If I can do it, you can too! I’d love to give you more support with your question about how to restore respect. I invite you to my upcoming free Introductory Course on the 6 Intimacy Skills at

Hi laura… read all you blogs. Is this advisable if we were just boyfiend and girlfriend but we already have one child. I want the father of my child to commit and be responsible to us. Can you teach me how to make my boyfriend desire to marry me or how can i convince him to marry me especialy we already have a child. Please help.

Jenny, I hear your desire to be married and for the father of your child to be committed and responsible loud and clear! It hurts that he isn’t showing that already. But I know that you can inspire him to. I had a client whose boyfriend said he would never, ever remarry. With the 6 Intimacy Skills, she found the tools to honor her vision and express her desires in a way that inspires. Today they are happily married. If she can do it, I know you can too! I’ll give you the tools in my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

Hi Laura
All this does sound interesting
But I have distanced and refuse to connect with my husband who is verbally and emotionally abusive from day 1. Also I suspect underlying issues like bipolar…( I am a medical professional)
I am afraid to commit to connect or to get close for fear of being abused
So keep a safe Distance and avoid any communication
Will using ur techniques and coaching help in this case?

NJ, Verbal and emotional abuse from day 1 is scary and painful. You shouldn’t have to live like that. That’s not right. I know you want to be a happy wife in a peaceful, playful, passionate marriage but first, you have to fix this issue. I know how hard it is to live in constant stress. That’s why my coaches and I have helped over 15,000 women fix their relationships. We can fix you too. So get a coach, and in the meantime download my free Roadmap so you can stop feeling hopeless, hurt and scared and start feeling safe, taken care of and desired.

Thank you. I’ve tried following your advice in your books. Nothing seems to work. My husband is done, he left in Feb.2016 and is now pushing hard for divorce. He has delivered to me a financial settlement. I had been very selfish, unappreciative, and disrespectful for a number of years. There was never a tender moment. In Dec. 2015, he met someone online and she is very much in love with him. I think he his too. She is calm, very caring to him, appreciative, playful and romantic. He has introduced her to his family and is very open about the relationships to our grown up sons. He will not allow me to get close to him at all. We’ve been married 32 years. He will not give me another opportunity as he feels he has given me so many in the past. His behaviour is very cold towards me with huge barriers up. As his relationship with his partner has strengthened, his behaviour towards me has become more ugly. I try hard using your principles and then I blow it as my emotions get the better of me, which is what happened yesterday, when I harassed him and was very disparaging to him about her. I felt awful after and now I am sure he will not speak with me anymore and will just go ahead with the divorce. What can I do? I love him so much

Lori, I’m sorry to hear he has met another woman and is pushing for divorce. That sounds so painful, especially with you feeling awful about your behavior on top of that. And yet you have such a strong commitment and beautiful vulnerability, which I really admire. I remember when I learned the 6 Intimacy Skills but could not seem to apply them, despite my best intentions. After years of speaking disparagingly, I needed support to help me figure out how to apply the Skills consistently in whatever I was going through at the moment. Thank goodness I got that support because it gave me the playful, passionate marriage I’d always wanted. I want that for you too! So many women who come to me believe that nothing will work, until they get the support they need to turn things around. If we can do it, you can too! Have you seen my webinar? It’s called How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

I seriously needed this email today! I have been threatening divorce with my husband. He actually went and set up a marriage counseling session because he said he didn’t want to lose me. I was very disturbed by this counsler and asking my husband why he tells me certain things. For example, early in our dating relationship he had an affair with his ex girlfriend. She asked him why did you tell her because we had not been dating king anyway. He told her I had caught him and he didn’t tell. She looked at him and said you can’t let a woman know those things. She also said it eas ok for him to look at other woman and not to tell me about it. Ugh. I wish you could be our counsler. This lady obviously does not understand what God wants in a marriage.

I have 2 of your books sitting in my closet. How silly, to have the help right under my nose. I bought them for a reason. I started reading them before and the are wonderful. It is my goal to read them in the next few days. I just can’t seem to be the wife I know I can.

It is just like you said, I was the perfect wife material before I got married. After I got married, all the things I thought I forgave him for came back and all the current things he “did wrong” made me resent him. I am angry with him all of the time about everything, I feel like I deserve better than how he has treated me. I also became very sick which has not helped our relationship the last 2 year’s. And so so so many other things… finances is a big one since we lost my income which was the main income. Now we live in a little travel trailer in his parents back yard with spiders and rats we try to keep away, mold growning in the walls and closets. We were finally able to get water filters on so the water does not smell like rotten eggs. We were suppose to have that “honeymoon phase” after being married and instead we got the Beverly hillbillies with out all the oil and money. I know my husband feels worthless about all this too and that takes a toll on us both.

Then… When I thing about these things I can’t help but think how better off he would be with out a wife who had not gotten sick because that is why we are where we are now.

Anyway, thanks for being you and helping all of us who are hanging on by a thread.


Shannon, thank you for your beautiful vulnerability. It sounds so difficult to be faced with these challenges instead of the honeymoon phase you had envisioned and to deal with the unraveling of your marriage on top of that. I identify with you so much too! I felt alone when our honeymoon phase turned sour. I was so angry he was not the kind of husband I expected. But when we went to counseling, it just made things worse. The 6 Intimacy Skills turned things around to make my marriage playful and passionate. If I can do it, you can have the marriage you deserve! I admire your commitment to reading the books. I’d also love to invite you to my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

This is great material. I’m working with many great ladies. Different troubles in their lives. But going back to basics makes life and counseling them much easier. Thank you for sharing these pearls.

Hi Laura
Thank you for your encouraging words .As we speak my husband is on the verge of walking out because every time I have been so engrossed in proving my point and we have grown apart.Ameya

Ameya, that sounds devastating. I love your awareness, which tells me there is a lot of hope for your marriage. When I was caught up in having to be right, I did not have your awareness and had no idea how disrespectful I was being. Thank goodness I found the 6 Intimacy Skills, which gave me the tools to make my marriage playful and passionate. I’d love to empower you to reconnect with your husband and feel cherished, desired and adored. I invite you to my upcoming webinar: How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life. You can register for free at

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