In this ministry, we often speak about a husband positively pursuing his wife. This is vitally important in a marriage and shouldn’t stop just because the two are no longer in a dating relationship; courtship should continue always. When a husband and wife are no longer together however ~ whether because of separation or divorce ~ his positive pursuit towards a restored relationship with her becomes crucial in winning her heart.
Today I wanted to share a response to a question that was posted in the men’s section of the ministry forum. This man is divorced from his wife and was positively pursing her for a time. He then stopped because she asked him to and now she’s more hurt and angry with him then she was before.
Last night was really good for me to hear. The moderator lady (not sure who she is) was talking about the pain a woman goes through when her husband stops pursuing her...even when she's pushed him away or told him to stop pursuing her. Still trying to get my heart around that one. Can anyone help explain that a bit more?
Pursuing: what we mean here is to consciously and consistently do things for her that she appreciates. So if you are sending weekly love poems and she says, "I hate these poems, they make me so mad I want to puke!" Then stop sending the love poems and find something she does appreciate. Pursuing involves active listening and watching for her cues as to what she is comfortable with. Sometime just out of the blue buy some groceries for her and the girls and leave them at her house with a note saying, "just thinking about you and the girls when I was at the store and thought I would save you an extra trip." Some gesture of kindness that you know that she will appreciate. If she says, "Why did you do this?", you just say, "Because I care about you and our girls." She might appreciate a side hug from you from time to time, but be offended if you try to hold her hand...so give her a side hug from time to time. She might be enraged if you send her flowers because you never sent them when you were married, but she loves coffee and would welcome a Starbuck's gift card.
Sometimes guys say, “I know she likes chocolate" so they send her chocolate 52 weeks in a row and she says, "ENOUGH WITH THE CHOCOLATE ALREADY!!!!!!" and they say, "I guess this pursuing thing that J&K recommend doesn't work so well...." No the J&K thing works very well because they encourage you to listen to her heart and meet her expressed needs. If all she will allow you to do for her is to wash her car once every other week, then do that with all that you have and make her car the cleanest car in town.
Most of the times that I am aware of that the wife says, "stop", is because she is uncomfortable with the romantic overtones of the pursuit, i.e. a side hug is for friends, holding hands is romantic so she says, "stop trying to hold my hand, it is over!" And our hero husband says, "She said it is over and doesn't want me to pursue her anymore." The point is that she isn't saying, "I wish you would just stop doing things that I appreciate", she is saying "I am uncomfortable with what you are doing so please stop doing _____" (you fill in the blank).
This pursuit requires that you listen to her heart, observe her mood and speak and act in ways that she appreciates. If you continually strive to do this she will notice, she will appreciate it (even if she doesn't verbalize or write that to you) and over time if you persist she will recognize that it is a real change of heart. When she believes that the change is real, lasting and a heart level change she may begin to open up more of her heart and let you meet more of her needs and this can then lead to a more romantic pursuit and in time a complete restoration and healing in the marriage relationship.
So pursue her and don't stop pursuing her and if she says "stop", then stop doing whatever you’re doing that’s making her feel uncomfortable and try something else.
Just wanted to add this ~ there’s no time frame on how long it takes for a woman to respond warmly to her husband's positive pursuit of her. Often, it will depend on the level of hurt he’s brought to her heart throughout the relationship (adultery, pornography, self gratification, verbal/emotional/physical/spiritual/financial abuse, etc.). At a minimum though, he should be willing to committ to at least two years of positively pursing her (and include the children should there be any remembering, though, that his wife comes first).