Chapter 17. Seven Things to Say to Your Wife to Get Her Back


Chapter 17 - Seven Things to Say to Get Your Wife Back

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[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]Does your wife want out of the marriage? This chapter outlines seven specific conversation tactics you may be able to adapt (in your own words) to help persuade your wife to stay. This chapter also serves to address a variety of specific problems you may be facing in your marriage.[/thrive_text_block]

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Do you know exactly what to say to your wife to get her back?


Don’t worry, not many men do.

Honestly, I almost didn’t include this chapter in the course. The truth is that there’s no way that I (or anyone else) can teach you exactly what to say to your wife to get her back. Every marriage is different, and every separation is different too.

The goal of this chapter, then, is NOT to give you a cookie-cutter template of what you can say to your wife.

Instead, these statements are meant to inspire you to come up with similar things to say to your wife. Look at the tactic used behind each statement and apply it to your own situation.

With that quick disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump in…

Here are seven things to say to your wife to get her back. For each tactic, I’ll give you an example of how you might phrase it, and then I’ll tell you the goal of saying it to your wife.

Statement 1.
Explain What You Want from Your Dream Marriage

Remember that exercise we did earlier in Chapter 7? The one where we outlined a day in the life of your ideal marriage? Basically, here we’re going to share that ideal marriage with your wife.

Here’s an example:

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“I believe the perk of being married is to enjoy the warmth, affection and stability of your partner. I want that, and I want it with you. I will be here waiting for you, but if you want the divorce, then don’t let me stop you. I’m sorry that I’ve failed to give you the things you want, but I believe that I CAN give you those things in the future if you’ll let me.”


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Dream MarriageThe goal of this statement is to get your wife thinking about what your marriage COULD be like. You’re trying to show her that you want the same thing she wants – her own happiness.

The other goal here is to present an image of confidence… You’re saying to your wife, “I know what you want and I can give it to you,” but you’re doing it in a way that puts literally no pressure on her. You’re saying, “Our marriage is the right decision, but I know it’s still you’re choice.”

If you need some help coming up with your own version of the statement, go back to your own ideal marriage exercise… Use the feelings and descriptions you came up with there to craft your dream marriage statement to your wife.

Alternatively, just think about what you know your wife wants out of the marriage… Use those feelings and desires to craft your version of this statement.


Statement 2.
Call on a Real-Life Role Model

Remind your wife of what your life can look like over the long-term by calling on a real-life role model. Explain what decision you believe this role model would make in her situation clearly and confidently. Then, you leave the ball in her court.

My best friend actually used a statement like this when his wife was involved in an emotional affair:

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“Look, I love you and I’m not going to leave this marriage. If you want out, I won’t stop you, but what would your dad think? I want us to have the same kind of marriage that your parents have had for the past 30 years. If you don’t want to make that commitment, fine, but it’ll be your decision, not mine.”


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Just like the first statement, you’re putting the ball entirely in your wife’s court. But this time, you’re calling on a real-life role model that you know your wife looks up to.

In this case, my friend’s wife has always respected and looked up to her father. She loves her parents and she knows that they’re a good example of how a committed marriage should work and the rewards that come from a lifelong relationship. She was never one of those rebellious types who tried to do the opposite of her parents. So, he called on the example of her father to make his case.

Your wife may not look up to her parents… That’s okay. Any role model will do. The point is that you get your wife thinking about her decisions through someone’s perspective other than her own.


Statement 3.
Take Responsibility & Put Yourself in Her Shoes (without begging)

This one’s really simple and yet it can be tough to execute because of those extra two words in parentheses. It’s easy to admit your mistakes; it’s harder to do it without begging or ulterior motives.

Here’s how I might use this tactic in my own marriage:

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“When I look in the mirror, I see a man who’s made mistakes. I know I’ve messed up, and I take responsibility for letting our marriage fall apart. I can see now why you want to leave, and I won’t stop you… Honestly, I can’t say that I wouldn’t do the same thing in your shoes. But, let me just say this: I’ve seen what I’ve done wrong, and I know that I can change. I won’t ask you to stay, but if you do, I think I can show you the marriage we’ve always wanted.”


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Walk a Mile in Her ShoesThis tactic is my personal favorite because it’s the most servant-oriented of the statements in this chapter. The goal here is to show your wife that you recognize your own mistakes.

By telling your wife that you’d leave if you were in her shoes, you simultaneously show her that you know just how badly you messed up, and that you respect her desire to live her own life.

The power of this statement is that you’re taking pressure off her, but at the same time, you’re making it impossible to object to what you’re saying. After all, you’re agreeing with her!

In the right situation, this statement can be very moving. The only thing you have to be really careful of is to say this in a way that does NOT come off as begging or desperation. This statement is NOT you begging your wife to come back. If you say this with tears in your eyes, on your knees, or if you put too much emphasis on her giving you another chance, you will end up pushing her away.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but you need to say this with confidence. It’s a weird thing to think about, but you need to be confident in admitting your mistakes. Be confident that you made mistakes and be confident about their consequences. But be optimistic about your future.

Also, one final caveat is that you really have to mean what you say for this statement to work. You really need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Wow, I made big mistakes, I really can see why she’d leave.” If you can’t do that, skip this one.


Statement 4.
I Hope We Can Still Be Friends

This one is pretty much exactly what it sounds like:

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“I know that you need to take some time to yourself, and that’s okay. Take all the time you need, and I will be okay with whatever you decide. When you’re ready, I hope that we can still be friends, IF that would make you happy.”


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After some time apart, it’s normal for your wife to want to “just be friends”. Lots of men get to this stage and have no idea what to do. The answer? Be okay with it!


Because if you can get your wife to want to be friends with you, that’s a step in the right direction. It means that you’ve successfully released the pressure, and it also gives you an avenue to spend more time together.

Even if you and your wife haven’t spent a substantial amount of time apart yet, even if she hasn’t specifically asked you to “just be friends” yet, this statement can still be a powerful tool. What you’re doing here is jumping the gun… You’re getting a head start.

When YOU are the one to say, “I hope we can be friends” that instantly tells your wife that you’ve moved on. Again, even though this is counterintuitive, it’s actually exactly what you want your wife to be thinking right now. If she thinks you’ve moved on, then she can trust you to be an unbiased friend, which will allow you to begin courting her again, and eventually work your way back to a happy married relationship.


5. You’re Right, I Need Space Too

This statement is probably one of the most game-changing and pressure-relieving statements in this lesson. I have talked with multiple husbands who’ve used this statement to completely reverse the momentum in their marriage.

Just like the last statement, in this one you’re fully agreeing with your wife. You’re getting everything out on the table so that nothing is left to fester. You’re giving her permission to distance herself from the relationship… What you’re not telling her is that this distance will allow her to better see the big picture of your marriage.

Here’s what this might look like:

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“I’ve been thinking more about what you said last time we talked, and I think you’re right. We need some time apart. I know that you’re unhappy in this marriage, and I’m not happy either. Neither of us wants to continue living in this type of relationship. I am your husband, and I haven’t given up on our marriage yet, but I know that our old marriage can’t continue as it was; I need time to work on myself so that I can better see what needs to change.”


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need some spaceThis is a powerful statement that allows you to sort of “trick” your way into the leadership role, even as you and your wife are facing separation.

Basically, you’re taking the lead on the separation; you are validating your wife’s feelings about the marriage, and even though it’s validation in the wrong direction, any validation you can give your wife right now is a good thing.

Just like statement #4, this one makes it clear that you’re moving on from the marriage, which is exactly what your wife needs to see you doing.

Not only that, but this statement gives your wife more freedom to actually talk to you about the separation… When she believes that you agree with her decision to separate, she’ll feel much more open about sharing her feelings and her struggles with you throughout the separation.


Here’s a secret:

Being your wife in this situation – being the woman who left – is actually very lonely. She may try to hide it, but I can promise you that your wife is feeling lonely right now.

After all, most women in your wife’s situation really don’t have anyone to talk to…

Sure, her friends and family may listen, but it will be with pity, and they won’t REALLY understand what she’s going through. And she’ll quickly see that… In the back of her mind, she’ll start to resent other people’s pity and she’ll wish that ANYONE could understand what she’s going through.

This statement reminds her that you can be that ‘anyone’… It reminds her that even in separation, you’re in it with her.

Statement 6.
Will You Stop Your Affair?
If Not, I Have to Leave

We’ve already talked briefly about what your mindset should be if your wife is having an affair, and we’ll go much more in-depth in the next chapter (The Affair Chapter), but I wanted to tell you up front that sometimes your wife will adamantly refuse to stop her affair. This statement is for you to use when your wife keeps coming back home, maybe she’ll even be affectionate towards you when she’s home, but at the same time she’s actively involved in an affair and won’t stop.

At some point, you have to put your foot down and give her an ultimatum. When exactly that time will come is completely up to you and that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself, but when it does come, here’s an idea of what you might say:

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“Honey, I love you, I value our family more than anything, and I truly want to grow old with you, but I will NOT stay in this house while you pursue another man, even if you’re not attracted to me right now. You know just as well as I do that our marriage cannot be fixed if your heart isn’t in it, which it can’t be as long as this other man is on the scene. So I will ask you one more time: Can you let go of this outside relationship, even though I know it makes you happy right now, for the greater long-term good of our marriage and family?”


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The goal here is to communicate to your wife that you do love her and that you DO want the marriage to work, but at the same time you can’t stick around while she’s involved in an affair.

The crux of this statement is the simple truth that for as long as your wife remains involved with another man, there is NO WAY that your marriage can be repaired. It can’t happen; her heart can’t come back to the marriage if she’s actively giving it to another man.

So, what you’re doing here is telling your wife like it is. You’re saying (A) I love you and I want this marriage to work, (B) I won’t stay in this house if you won’t stop the affair, (C) please stop the affair even though I know you don’t want to right now.


When do you use this statement?

The answer: you avoid using it at all costs. This kind of ultimatum is a last resort, but sometimes a last resort is what you need.

If you’re not ready to give your wife an ultimatum, then simply leave out the part about leaving the house if she won’t quit the affair; that will still be effective.

Statement 7.
What to Say When She Keeps Asking for Divorce

This isn’t so much a ‘thing to say’ as a situation that a lot of men have to deal with, and I want you to know what to do when this happens.

I’ll give you an example:

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Last week, a guy emailed me telling me how his wife kept bringing up the topic of divorce. In her mind, the marriage was done and she was done trying to make it work; she just wanted to start filing paperwork and be done with it.

Finally, one day she asked him, “So what are we going to do about this divorce?”

He said, “I’m not ready to file for divorce. I still think we can make this marriage work.”

She got extremely cold and distant and the conversation was over.


What would you do in this situation?

On the one hand, it is a good thing to stand up for your marriage. It’s a good thing to make sure your wife knows that you DO believe in the marriage, and that you ARE working on fixing it. But, on the other hand, the last thing you want is for your wife to decide that she’s going to start the divorce by herself.

Here’s what I told him (legal disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice):

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Hey John,

First, good job sticking up for your marriage and standing your ground. You’re doing a lot of the right things here, but I want to give you a piece of advice…

From the sound of it, your wife is going to continue asking you about getting started on a divorce. What you DON’T want to happen is for her to go behind your back and get the paperwork started without involving you at all. What you DON’T want to happen is for you to wake up one day and hear her say, “I’ve been meeting with a lawyer for the past two months, sign these papers so we can get divorced or else I will take you to court.”

Remember, divorce is a very lengthy process. I know that for my own parents, it took them a solid six months of lawyer meetings and mediation sessions to finalize the divorce, and their divorce was relatively amicable. So, even if you do agree to get the divorce process started with your wife, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop trying to save your marriage… You’ll still have time to make changes and slow things down and even turn things around.

So, one thing you might try doing the next time she asks you about the divorce is saying something like this (I’m pretending your wife’s name is Mary):


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“Alright Mary, I think I have a compromise that’ll work for both of us:

“I know you’re ready to get divorced, and I respect your wishes to move on with your life. I’m willing to talk about this divorce with you, but I want you to know that I have NOT given up on our marriage. Even if we start moving forward with this divorce, I will continue trying to repair our relationship, and I will continue hoping that we can have a future together…  

“I know that you can’t see this right now, but my hope is that since I am willing to work on this divorce with you, if at any point you also get the feeling that we can have a future together, then you will tell me so that we can pause for a little bit to give our marriage a chance. I’m not asking you to say yes to the marriage right now, I’m just asking you to keep an open mind. Can we agree to that?”


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The goal here is that you get your wife to keep you in the loop. That way she doesn’t feel like she has to do all the work for the divorce; she can keep you involved. At this point, you want to keep any lines of communication open that you possibly can, even if those lines of communication have to do with the divorce. Constantly saying “no” to her will eventually give her no choice but to start the divorce without you.

The goal in saying something like this to her is simple… You communicate that you truly believe the marriage can work and that you will continue working on it no matter what, but you also show her that you do respect her and you don’t want her to feel like she has to do this divorce thing alone.


Does that make sense?

I know it’s kind of counter-intuitive, but I think this is a good starting point for you if your wife is dead-set on divorce and for the unique situation you’re in right now.

Ultimately, remember to focus on what you can control. If your wife is adamant about divorce, well, you can’t control that right now, but you CAN control how you interact with her during the process and you can show her that no matter what, you still believe in the marriage.

Core Conversation Tactics for Men Facing Separation

Throughout these statements, you can take away a few core conversation tactics that you should always use with your wife if you’re facing separation.

Agree, Agree, Agree

Right now, your wife is disconnected from the marriage. Anytime you disagree with her, you cement that disconnection. Disagreements solidify the distance between you and her.

In many of the statements, you will be agreeing with your wife. You will validate what she has to say and you will agree with her decision to leave. It’s counterintuitive, but the reason that this works is because any agreement at all is a GOOD thing. Even if you and your wife only agree about the need for separation – and even if deep down, you don’t actually agree with it – it will actually make it more likely that she will come back.

Speak Calmly and Confidently

I’ve said before, but it’s very important that you stay calm and confident in front of your wife. It’s not that you can’t show emotion, but you need to stay in control.

Don’t let your emotions rule your tongue; always think about what you’re going to say before you say it, and try to avoid stuttering or wavering during your speech. Think of what you’re going to say, say it, then listen to her response.

No Pressure

With the possible exception of statement #2 and #6, the one thing that every single one of these statements in this chapter has in common is that they put absolutely no pressure on your wife. Even in statement #2, though, you’re still telling your wife that you won’t try to stop her from leaving.

I cannot emphasize this enough… You CANNOT put pressure on your wife that is rooted in your own desire to control her and the marriage. Any ‘selfish’ pressure at all will push her away.

Don’t Fight, Argue, Beg or Complain

I hope this doesn’t need to be said by now, but no begging, no arguing, no fighting and no complaining. Don’t show your wife the depressed side of you. Don’t show her the side of you that is scared of losing her. Only show her the confident, kind leader that will be stable and happy no matter what. She should look at you and want the kind of happiness you have.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Remember, Listen First; Speak Second”]

This applies regardless of what you’re saying to your wife or what statement you’re trying to adapt in your own conversations.

As we said in the earlier chapters about communication, it’s very important that you actually listen to what your wife says. Use the listening signals we talked about earlier in the course in Chapter 9. Put real effort into being a good listener in every encounter you have with your wife, whether it’s on the phone or in person.

Don’t be afraid to slow down conversations. You don’t have to instantly reply to everything your wife says. Take your time to digest the words she’s saying, think about the best response, and then say it clearly and kindly.


A Quick Word on The No Contact Rule

We spent the last part of last chapter talking about no contact, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Just remember that sometimes there isn’t anything you can say to get your wife back…

At least not right now.

If everything you say seems to push her further away… If, for whatever reason, you just can’t seem to get conversations to go your way… Then it may be time to implement the No Contact Rule. Refer back to the end of Chapter 16 if you need specific instructions on how to do that. There’s also a PDF checklist included with this course that you can print if you’d like a paper copy.

Well, fellas, we’re getting close to the end of the course. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about affairs, then after that I’ll be leaving you with some closing advice as you put everything you’ve learned into action, as well as answering some final questions you may have about husbandly leadership and reviving your marriage.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 17:”]

  • Communication is most important when your wife wants out of the marriage. You have to make every word count.
  • General rules of thumb are:
    • Agree with everything she says; validate her feelings about the marriage.
    • Stay calm and confident at all times, especially in the heat of conflicts.
    • Don’t put any pressure on your wife to stay in the marriage – this will only push her further away.
    • Don’t argue, fight, beg, complain or mope, or anything else that portrays you as anything other than a confident leader.
    • Spend more time listening than you do speaking. Let your wife talk.

[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 18. The Affair Chapter[/thrive_link]


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