My Wife Just Said, “I Want A Divorce!” – Is My Marriage Over?

by | Challenges, Divorce, Marriage, Separation

Many men are uncertain how to handle a wife’s declaration of divorce and fearfully wonder if her words are a determinative factor for getting a divorce. In this article, “Vick,” one of our apprentice mentors of Mentoring Men, discusses what to do in these moments.

If a wife declares something, does that necessarily bring to pass the outcome she declares?

As we read this question, I think most of us can easily answer this question with a resounding “No, of course not.”

However, I want to call your attention to what usually has happened or happens deep inside many of us when we have first heard or hear such declarations. And it’s something, as I’ll attest to later, that can happen more than once though in different flavors and to different degrees depending on our situation and circumstances. 

When confronted with such threatening-sounding statements, feelings are typically a bit easier to identify. These can include fear, terror, anxiety, dread, a “pit in our stomach,” hurt, pain, and anger – just to name a few. 

And what of the thoughts that roll around in our heads?

A typical scenario

While there could be a number of thoughts that could arise in a man’s mind at this point, I’ll choose to focus on the typical scenario. A man may experience these kinds of thoughts:

“How could she say this?”

“How could she just want to throw our marriage away?

“What have I done to her? How could she do this to me? To our children?”

“Now what am I going to do?”

“No, I don’t want our marriage to end!”

“This hurts so much!”

While such thoughts are understandable, we know that staying in this kind of fear-based thinking that can lead a man to only spiral down further in his thoughts/feelings.

So..what’s the problem here?

More often than not, many of us who have been in this situation can attest to having had a weak, immature, underdeveloped sense of self oriented around a high external locus of control.

Let’s define what is a “locus of control.” 

“Simply put, a locus of control refers to how much control person feels they have in their own behavior. A person can have either an internal locus of control or an external locus of control. People with a high internal locus of control perceive themselves as having a great deal of personal control over their behavior and are therefore more likely to take responsibility for the way they behave…in contrast, a person with a high external locus of control perceive their behaviors as being a result of external influences or luck.”

So, in summary, a man with a high external locus of control is dependent on things outside of him in order to feel balanced (since it is things outside of him that control him).

IF this man doesn’t learn to think differently, he will continue to feel powerless and may even hitch himself to his wife’s clear declaration as his fate. He could make her clarity his undoing and rather than consider what his wife is saying from a place of empathy, he could end up rejecting her and blaming her as a way to protect himself and villainize her. 

Clearly, this is recipe for disaster and such a man becomes an unwitting co-conspirator in the demise of his relationship and marriage.

Unless that is…(here’s the start of the solution!)

He ACCEPTS what his wife is saying as how she thinks and feels in the moment. He creates enough SPACE to consider any role he may have played in her arriving at this declarative statement. Yet he simultaneously remembers that a woman says things that reflect her subjective truth in the present, not necessarily how she will feel tomorrow, next week, or next month…

And He is able to SLOW DOWN, PAUSE, and be reminded to get clear on the most important questions he could ask himself in or shortly after that moment of initial shock:


Is he a man of high value? Does his wife’s statement alter his value in any way?

Is his wife a woman of high value? Can he maintain high regard towards her even hearing this statement?

Is he ready to get a divorce OR does he believe that he has the ability within to consider why his wife may be saying such a thing and to then consider what he wants? In other words, does he want a divorce or is he not sure or would he like to cultivate a version 2.0 to see if can salvage the marriage?

Of course, the more a man has gotten clear on his sense of self, his values, and his purpose, the more resilient he will be when such storms come his way. (Cue up our men’s community and great leaders here). 

So, what’s the solution?

Acceptance, slowing down, and reclaiming his power by getting clear on who he is, what his values are, and how he wants to respond to this situation.

Does this mean he will immediately get a guarantee that his marriage is not over? No, of course not…no more than his wife statement is a guarantee that the marriage is over.

Lest this seem like an academic assignment for me, I want to share a brief personal story. 

I recently have had a chance to practice this very thing in my own marriage stemming from a conversation I had with my wife recently. 

As a little background, I heard the whole “I need space” spiel back in 2018 and began to work with a men’s coach in 2019. It was later that year we reconciled after an in-house separation that culminated in my wife taking off her ring and moving upstairs to our guest room for over a month. 

While we’ve had our growing pains in marriage 2.0, I thought our marriage was overall in a healthy place. Fast forward to our recent conversation at the end of 2022. We were at the end of a date talking about our goals for 2023. After she shared, I shared mine and it was at this point that she seemed triggered by something I said and began to question aloud whether our marriage could work long term due to some divergent spiritual beliefs we have.  

While this wasn’t like hearing “I want space” or “I want a divorce” this time around, it still honestly freaked me out a bit. I probably recycled through all the familiar thoughts/feelings listed above, though perhaps not as strongly as I felt the first time we experienced our dark disillusionment phase in 2019.

Some additional thoughts I’d include were: “What gives?” “Didn’t I already pay my dues in 2019?” “Man, why do I have to go through this again?” You can imagine the feelings that went with these thoughts.

Sound familiar? 

It’s been tough, but over the past few weeks, I’ve been applying what I just finished writing about above and slowly but surely, it’s been helping me get back on track. Sure enough, I’ve had to remind myself who I am, what my values are, and how I want to respond to this situation,

And I can say with a good measure of confidence, I know I’ll be okay one way or another. 

So, coming back full circle to the question I asked at the beginning, does a wife’s bold declaration of something we may view as negative necessarily bring the outcome to pass as it relates to relationship/marriage?

If you’ve been paying attention, you know the answer is no, not a long shot. 


Because while it’s important to hear and honor what our wives say as their subjective truths in the moment right now, it is even more important that we  practice acceptance (of self and the other), slow down, and reclaim our personal power by getting clear on who we are, what are values are, and how we want to respond to whatever situation is thrown our way. In living this out, I believe we can play a much bigger role in influencing (not necessarily controlling) outcomes in marriage and in life than we realize. 

On that note, I’ll leave you with these questions to ponder:

Who are you?

What are your values?

How do you want to show up when the threatening feeling of feminine storms come your way?

Need some help?

If you need help navigating a woman’s declaration of divorce and responding as a calm, confident, grounded man, we invite you to request a FREE mentoring session with a professional men’s mentor who can help you navigate these challenges.

👉🏼 Click Here to Request a FREE Mentoring Session, Now! 👈🏼

Sven Masterson

Sven Masterson

I wake up daily ready to guide men. Specifically, those exhausted from their pursuit of trying to achieve and perform their way to having more value, worth, and significance. I'm passionate to help a man who... - can't bear to look at himself in the mirror for the contempt he feels for himself despite his efforts and achievements. - who everyone else thinks is great, except himself.  - who feels his providing is never enough, his dedication is never enough, and no matter how much better he gets at life, he still feels miserable.
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