Chapter 3. Focus on What You Can Control


Chapter 3 - Focus on What You Can Control

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[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]This chapter is about getting into the right mindset to repair your marriage. You’ll develop a clear lens through which you can make decisions as a leader, and you’ll learn how to stop worrying about your marriage.[/thrive_text_block]

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Imagine you’re sitting at home with your family when the radio suddenly comes on…

Things Out of Your ControlIt’s an emergency broadcast with an urgent announcement blaring over the speakers. There’s a storm coming – the biggest one in years. The wind is howling outside and you can already hear the thunder rumbling in the distance. The radio warns of golf-sized hail, extremely strong winds and the makings of a tornado.

You only have 10 minutes until the storm is right over your house…

What do you do?

You have two choices…

Option 1 – You go outside and stand on your porch, screaming into the wind, “Don’t come to my house, storm! I won’t let you hurt my family!” Or maybe you beg and plead with the wind, saying you’ll do anything to keep the storm away.

Option 2 – You accept that there’s nothing you can do to stop the storm, so you get your family to safety ASAP. You gather your wife and kids together down in the basement or wherever there are no windows, and you stay there safely until the storm passes.

The answer here is obvious, right? You do Option 2 – get your family to safety.


Because no matter how hard you try, you can’t control the storm. No matter how loud you yell or how desperately you beg, that storm isn’t going to skip over your house.

Common sense, right?

The lesson here is this: While you can’t control the storm, you CAN control your reaction to it. You can get your family to safety to ensure that they won’t get hurt when the storm hits.

This is a silly example, but this is exactly where you are in your marriage right now…

I’m willing to bet that when it comes to getting your wife back, you’ve been focusing mostly on things you can’t control. You’ve been worrying about how she spends her time, or what she says to you, or what she’s going to do in the future. Right now, you’re the guy standing outside on the porch desperately trying to get that storm to stay away.

Instead, you should be focusing on what YOU can control. That’s what this chapter is all about.

Let Her Go to Get Her Back
– What It Really Means –

‘Let her go to get her back’ is one of my most common phrases inside Husband Help Haven, and it has multiple layers of meaning. This is always what I say in emails to men who are truly desperate to get their wives back; men who can and will do literally anything to rekindle a relationship with the woman they love.

Does this describe you? Are you willing to do ANYTHING to get your wife back?

If so, good! It’s good that you want your marriage to thrive. Nothing wrong with that.

But, what if I told you that the one thing you had to do to get your wife back was to stop trying so hard to change your wife’s mind?

Here’s why this is such a problem…

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”Sherrilyn Kenyon”]“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.”[/pullquote]

You already know that over the years I’ve helped 5,000+ men Inside the Haven… If you had to guess, what do you think is the single biggest obstacle most men face when they’re trying to save their marriage?

What’s the one thing that keeps most men from being the best husband they can be?


When a man comes to me desperate for a way to get his wife back, it’s always the same problem – he’s paralyzed by fear. Mentally, he knows what he needs to do; he’s read the material. Most men even have specific ideas for things they want to do… Things that their gut is telling them to do. The average man Inside the Haven understands the concepts of leadership and masculinity, and his leadership instincts are starting to kick in.

And yet… he can’t bring himself to actually DO any of it.

Why?Take the Leap of Faith

Because the first step towards husbandly leadership is always a leap of faith. It requires you to genuinely let go of control over your marriage so that you can rebuild it the right way from the ground up. If you can’t let go of that desire for control over your wife and marriage, you’ll end up pushing her away.

Take a moment to really think about where you’re at in your marriage right now. Think about the way you interact with your wife… Are your words and actions driven by fear? Do you feel a desperate desire for control? Are you afraid of what’s going to happen to your marriage?

Why You Must Overcome Your Fear of Losing Your Wife

Don’t get me wrong… A little fear is okay. Fear can be a good thing. After all, fear is really a survival instinct.

Fear is the trigger that tells us something needs to change.

However, fear also gets in the way. Fear makes you desperate. Fear is what will make you get down on your knees and beg your wife to stay with you.

Are you starting to see why this is a problem?

Fear leads to desperation, and desperation is the last thing your wife wants to see from you right now.

Even if fear doesn’t make you desperate, it will paralyze you. It will make it extremely difficult to identify what you need to do to rekindle your relationship with your wife. It will freeze you in place while your marriage crumbles around you. It will take over your thoughts; it’ll make your mind run a million miles a minute.

Are you starting to see why fear is a problem? It’s a turnoff for your wife, and it clouds your judgment.

It’s ironic, but if you don’t get over your fear of losing your wife, you’re virtually guaranteed to lose her.

Understanding The Root of Fear

Fear lies at the root of many emotions. Anger, depression, apathy… They can all be traced back to fear.

But, what’s at the root of fear?

At the root of fear is a desire for control. You’re afraid because you want control of your marriage and you don’t have it.

That’s okay! Us men are programmed to want control. It’s the part of us that makes us naturally crave leadership. Here’s the thing:

[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]You need to focus your fear – that desire for control – on the things that you actually can control. In other words, focus ONLY on improving yourself; NOT on changing your wife’s mind about the marriage. [/thrive_text_block]

Read that paragraph again, because this is a really important point.

Just like the analogy at the beginning of this chapter, you need to realize what you can and can’t control. You CANNOT control your wife. You can’t reach into her mind and make her think or feel differently. You can’t explain to her why she should stay in the marriage or why she should respect you as her leader. It won’t work… Not over the long-term, anyways.

Don’t Focus on the End Result…
Focus Only on What You Can Directly Control Right Now

This is a big part of what I mean when I say ‘let her go to get her back’.

You need to recognize that your wife is going to do what she wants, and you need to use that recognition to get yourself to stop focusing on what your wife is doing. Instead, turn that energy towards improving what you are doing.

That hard truth is you can’t force your wife to stay in the marriage. Your wife is going to do what she believes will make her happiest. Therefore, your best bet is to make yourself into such a good husband that she’d be a fool to leave.

If you’re not the type of man she finds attractive, or if she can’t trust you to lead the marriage, then guess what?

There’s nothing you can do to immediately change her mind.

So, instead of focusing so much on your wife, it’s time to start focusing on YOU!

What you’ll find is that as you improve yourself as a husband and man, your wife will naturally gravitate back towards the marriage. The moment that you become attractive to your wife again will be the moment that your marriage is saved.

I’ve seen it time and time again… No matter how close you are to divorce, it’s not too late for your wife to see you as the man she wants to spend her life with.

We’ll talk more about the concept of letting her go to get her back in Chapter 16 when we learn more about what to do if you’re separated. Stay tuned.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”What Can You Control?”]

Ultimately, there are three things that will always be under your control, no matter what your marriage is like:

  1. You Control What You Say – Almost a third of this course is dedicated to communication, so you will learn plenty about controlling what you say and when you say it. In the meantime, recognize that the words out of your mouth are one of the things you have complete control over.[blank_space height=’3em’]
  2. You Control What You Do – Your habits, how you spend your time, your contribution to domestic duties… These are all things under your control. Again, we’ll learn more about doing the things that leaders do later in this course. [blank_space height=’3em’]
  3. You Control What You Think – This is by far the hardest of the three, especially because there are a lot of things in your life right now that will make you want to think negatively. While your thoughts are under your control, your emotions aren’t always, and emotions can make it hard to control thoughts. You might be tempted to let this one slide. After all, your wife can’t read your mind just like you can’t read hers… What does it matter how you think? The truth is, how you think affects what you say and what you do… All three of these things that you can control need to be working in alignment if you want to live up to your potential as a husbandly leader.

These might seem obvious to you… Obviously you can control what you say, think and do. But, this chapter is here because throughout your marriage, there will be times where you’ll feel helpless, like there’s nothing you can control. In those times, remember that there are ALWAYS three things that you and only you can control – your words, thoughts and actions.


It’s Okay to Be Afraid of Losing Your Wife, But…

From now on, stop letting desperation fuel your interactions with your wife.

From now on, in every decision you make, in every conversation you have with your wife, I want you to always be asking yourself this question:

“What can I control in this situation?”

If you ever catch yourself focusing on trying to change your wife’s mind about the marriage, it means that you’re letting the fear take over. Consciously stop yourself. Think, “Okay, deep breath. I will not be afraid; I will focus on what I can control.”

In Chapter 7, we’ll talk more about focusing on what you can control and using that focus to set meaningful goals for your marriage. But we have a couple other important lessons to learn first.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 3″]

  • Your natural instinct will be to try and control your wife. You’ll want to focus on changing her mind or trying to convince her to stay. This is like to trying to control a thunderstorm; it’s just not going to happen.
  • From now on, only focus on what you can directly control.
  • There are three things that are always under your control:
    • What you say
    • What you think
    • What you do
  • Fear is the root of many negative emotions, including anger and depression.
  • At the root of fear is a desire for control.
  • Don’t focus on the end result. Your goal isn’t to stop the divorce or get your wife back because those things are NOT under your control. Instead, your goal is to be the best husband, leader and father you can be because those are things you CAN control.
  • Take the leap of faith – let go of your desire to control your wife and focus that desire for control on yourself.

[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 4. Understanding the Enemy[/thrive_link]


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