I recently heard from a wife who asked for my help in “writing a letter that will help me reconcile my marriage with my husband.” The two had been having problems for a while, but in the past few weeks things had escalated to the point where the husband had been hinting that he was going to move out and eventually file for divorce. So, the wife felt pressured to come up with something to prevent this from happening. She hoped that the right letter might do the trick.
I very much understand the appeal of a letter. You can pour out your heart without having to worry about being interrupted or tripping over your words or becoming too emotional. Sometimes, it’s easier to write touchy words than it is to say them. But unfortunately, far too often I see people make some serious mistakes with these types of letters. I will discuss these common mistakes in the following article, tell you how to avoid them, and discuss what the letter with the highest chance of success should include.
Understanding Basic Human Psychology Before You Write The Letter That Will Hopefully Reconcile Your Marriage: Before you get started, it helps to understand exactly what you want the letter to accomplish. In most cases, people are hoping that the correspondence will help to get their spouse on board with saving the marriage. They’re hoping to change their spouses perceptions and feelings from negative to positive.
To that end, it’s so important to understand how your letter is going to be perceived. Probably the biggest mistake that I see people make is that they focus on themselves in the letter (rather than on their spouse.) They place most of their attention to their own feelings and their own fears. Examples are phrases like “I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.” Or, “my heart is breaking and I pray that we can work this out.” It’s OK to sprinkle some of these phrases in the letter, but be very careful that the whole tone of the letter isn’t one of negativity and fear.
It’s very important to understand basic human nature and psychology. People will move toward those emotions, things, and people that make them feel more positively and upbeat about their situation. And, people will move away from and have negative perceptions toward those things that bring them down. Make sure that your letter isn’t overwhelmingly negative and based on dark emotions like fear, jealousy, or possession. Proofread it several times to make sure that you aren’t constantly mentioning yourself, how you feel, or what you want.
Keep in mind who your audience is. It’s your spouse or significant other. So, the letter should mostly be about them and what you’re now going to do to make things better for the both of you. Keep in mind they want to know how and why things are really going to be different. Pretty words are nice, but most people will see right through this and are most interested in how your actions are going to directly affect them.
It’s just human nature for people to want to know what is in it for them rather than what is in it for you. Focus on painting a picture of how you’re actually going to make things better. Of course, this requires that you have a workable plan before you sit down to write the letter. But, that’s OK because it never hurts to really think about how you’re going to make some real and lasting improvements in your marriage.
It’s so often your actions over time and not your fleeting words that matter. And so often, if your marriage is in trouble, your spouse is already going to be somewhat reluctant to what you have to say anyway. So yes, a letter can open doors for you, but in order to walk through that door, you’ll usually need to rely on your swift, measured and decisive action.
Lastly, don’t dwell too much on how you’re going to “work” on your marriage. Sometimes, when spouses hear this phrase, it paints a very negative picture. Many people don’t look all that forward to slogging through their feelings and clocking into the marital time clock. You can usually say the same thing in a different way to make it sound so much more appealing.
You’ll often have much better luck if instead of telling them that you’re going to “work through the issues” with them, that you’re going to focus on bringing back your hot, steamy, and connected relationship to where it used to be. This gives them more to look forward to and gives them an incentive to get on board.
Here’s another hint. Men or husbands will often respond better to references to improving your physical relationship. They crave the physical intimacy that means you are attracted and appreciative toward them. Women or wives wants to be appreciated also, but emotions will typically mean more to them than the physical (although this is important to us also.) So, if you’re writing a letter to your husband, you’re better off focusing on a physical connection rather than alluding to how you’re going to “work” on your problems. Actually, both spouses often want the same things, but they will often demonstrate this in very different ways. So, it’s important to keep these things in mind.
At the end of the day, these are just empty words on a page. If you don’t make good on your promises and follow them up with action, then you’re almost better off not even the writing the letter because your spouse will come to doubt your sincerity even more and your job will be that much harder in the end. But I’ve seen several carefully written letters be the catalyst for reconciling the marriage so long as they were followed up with the right actions.