Winning your wife back may seem like a long shot, but the game of life
often provides us with examples brimming with hope.
In many minds the game was all but over. The fat lady hadnt started
singing, but she was definitely warming up! On January 3, 1993, the
NFL's Buffalo Bills and Houston Oilers were locked in a fierce battle
of extreme importance. The winners would advance in the play-offs while
the losers would be given plane tickets home and the season would be
Houston jumped out to an early 28*-*3 half-time lead. The Oilers played
an almost flawless first half, making the Bills look like an amateur
team. It didnt look good for Buffalo, down by so many points. As the
Bills regrouped in their locker room at half time, their coach, Marv
Levy, no doubt reminded his team
that the game wasn't over. He most likely urged them not to panic. Sure,
changes needed to be made--and fast. The offense wasnt scoring, and
the defense was allowing too much of it. In just minutes, the Bills
locker room turned into a classroom, and everyone paid attention.
In this crash course, the players probably heard lectures like these:
"Lets identify our mistakes and make the necessary adjustments . . .
We've got to execute better in the second half . . . Remember what got
Methodically and patiently, teams have come back from being touchdowns
behind. But turning this game around would take nothing short of a miracle.
The Rout Continues . . .
The second half had barely begun when Houston intercepted a Buffalo
pass and returned it for a touchdown. The scoreboard revealed a horrible
sight for Buffalo fans: Houston 35, Buffalo 3. Fans booed. TVs clicked
off. It was officially a rout.
Never before had an NFL team come back to win from a 32-point deficit.
For those who decided to stay tuned, the very next possession saw Buffalo
do something it hadnt been able to do all afternoon--sustain a drive.
Six minutes into the third quarter, the Bills marched the ball down
the field for their first touchdown. The score was a little more respectable:
Houston 35, buffalo 10. The Bills quickly set up for an onside kick,
and when the players were unstacked, Buffalo had possession! The momentum
that had once belonged to Houston was making its way to the other sideline.
No Las Vegas oddsmaker could have predicted what happened next. In
that historic third quarter, Buffalo scored four touchdowns in less
than seven minutes, and the Bills went ahead 38*-*35! However, with
twelve seconds left in the game, Houston tied the score on a 26-yard
field goal. Unbelievably, the game headed into sudden-death overtime.
The first team to score would win!
Houston won the coin toss, and it appeared that Buffalo's valiant effort
would fall short. But Houston quickly turned the ball over on another
interception. Miraculously, three plays later, the Bills kicked the
winning field goal and completed the single greatest come-from-behind
victory in NFL history! Final score: Buffalo 41, Houston 38.
Developing a Game Plan
What an unbelievable game! But you may be wondering what one historic
football game has to do with winning your wife back. Everything! Perhaps
you are staring at your marriage scoreboard, and it doesnt look good.
You realize it will take nothing less than a miracle to win back your
wife and kids. You long for a comeback, another chance. If you identify
with this situation, we encourage you to realize that the secret for
reconciliation is illustrated by something that happened during the
Buffalo game. That's right. The secret for winning your wife back is
really just an elaborate version of what the Bills' Coach Levy undoubtedly
told his players at half time:
Don't panic. Let's take a good look at our mistakes and make the needed
changes and adjustments. We must realize that there is no way to get
it all back with just one play. But if we can sustain a drive and give
it all we've got, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Now get
out there and win!
As the Buffalo players raced back onto the field, you could sense something
was different. In the first half, Houston's quick lead so shocked the
Bills that they couldn't recover in order to execute their game plan.
It was as if they were playing at night and someone had turned off the
stadium lights. Because of the darkness, the players lost perspective
and started running around aimlessly. And before they knew it, they
were down by 25 points. But during the second half--as the result of
rediscovering their game plan--the lights came back on and they remembered
how to win.
When your wife walked out the door, your confusion perhaps felt like
that of the Hollywood celebrity who went with his friend to a retirement
home. While his friend visited with his father, the celebrity waited
out in the lobby. He hadn't been sitting for very long when an older
woman started talking to him. The woman laughed and told stories for
about an hour. Finally, it dawned on the man that she might not recognize
him. So he gently asked, "Ma'am, do you know who I am?"
"No," she politely answered, "but if you go to the front desk, they'll
Depending on when your wife left (or asked you to), you might be able
to relate to this man's confusion. At times, the chaos and disorder
of your situation can make you feel like asking someone at the front
desk, "Please tell me who I am."
Like men playing football in the dark, you can't seem to find the light
switch, although you've tried many things. You may be wondering what
will happen to your family, your friends, and your life. Over and over
again you ask yourself, What now? What should I do?
When the Buffalo Bills needed a miraculous comeback, they had to go
into the locker room and rediscover their game plan. In the same way,
one of the greatest things you can do at this moment is to develop a
clear and specific plan of action. You need a step-by-step plan, or
the opposing team (the marital breakup) will continue to pound you in
the dark. We invite you to discover the secret to winning your wife
When his team was down by 25 points, Buffalos Coach Levy didn't know
what the score would read once the clock ran out, but he wisely altered
his game plan to maximize his teams chances of winning. He knew that
what they had been doing wasnt working and that they had absolutely
nothing to lose by trying something new. He was like a painter who worked
for a wealthy woman with a valuable antique vase. The woman was so fond
of the vase that she decided to have her bedroom painted the same color.
Several painters tried to match the shade, but none came close enough
to satisfy the eccentric woman.
Eventually, a painter showed up who guaranteed that he could match
the color. After several days behind closed doors, the painter finally
revealed his work. The woman was so pleased with his work that the news
spread around town and the painter became rich and famous.
Years later, the painter gave the business to his son and retired.
But before the father left for Florida, his son asked him a very important
question. "Dad," said the son, "there's something I've got to know.
How did you get those walls to match that vase so perfectly when no
one else could do it?"
"Son," the father replied, "I painted the vase."
This crafty painter understood a very important point: sometimes when
things aren't working, you need to try something new or different to
get positive results. Instead of matching the color of the walls to
the vase, he did something different by painting the vase.
Likewise, when dealing with hurting relationships, you should consider
trying something different. On average, most marital problems are not
helped by subscribing to the "if at first you don't succeed, try, try
again" rule. For example, when a problem occurs in a relationship, one
spouse usually tries to fix it. If that solution works, life goes on.
If it doesn't work, the fixer usually increases his efforts or does
more of the same. This more-of-the-same approach maintains the problem--and
more than likely intensifies it.~1
In other words, think of solving marital problems as trying to free
yourself from quicksand. The harder you try to improve the sinking relationship,
the faster it dies. To free yourself from quicksand, you must try something
different. Instead of kicking and screaming, you must do the opposite.
To win your wife and family back, you must not become frantic and run
around aimlessly in the dark. You need to relax and develop a plan.
As you take very specific steps and try some new things, you free yourself
from marital quicksand. Throughout the pages of this book, our goal
is to expand the "try something new" concept by providing you with a
detailed game plan to follow.
Can You Guarantee a Victory?
Before you run onto the field to win back your wife, we encourage you
to accept that there is no guarantee of a miraculous comeback. However,
you can still be victorious. If you commit yourself to the principles
discussed in this book, you can greatly increase your chances of winning
her back. There is no guarantee that you and your wife will reunite
but, there's one thing every Christian man can hang onto by faith, regardless
of your present marriage "score" or future outcome. If you will receive
this difficult trial as an invitation to grow in humility and love,
you will emerge the victor!
At this moment, you are right in the middle of a tremendous opportunity
to gain unlimited yardage toward becoming a godly man. If you accept
this painful challenge as an important wake-up call, you can gain a
deeper understanding of what it means to love unconditionally. Learning
to love without asking anything in return can bring you closer to Christ
and make you more like Him.
In the arena of marital separation and reconciliation, you must realize
that Christ needs to be your strength. Walking in step with Him and
watching Him meet your deepest needs are the greatest outcomes, whatever
else may happen. When you accept that Jesus is all you have, you can
appreciate more deeply that Jesus is all you need.
Despite your pain and hopeless feelings, God will create a victory
from your situation. Things could not have looked worse on that historic
crucifixion afternoon. Many panicked. Many lost hope and gave up. But
just three days later, God made a miraculous comeback a million times
greater than the one by the Buffalo Bills--Jesus came back from the
dead! Do miracles still happen? Yes, every day. A dead marriage can
be resurrected! That was precisely what Jack learned when he was faced
with the most painful situation of his life.
Down, But Not Out!
Jack could not have imagined the hell he was about to endure. He had
no way of knowing that when he awoke for work one Wednesday morning,
the top secret envelope to his private life was about to be ripped wide
The day before, Deanna had expected Jack home within the hour following
closing tine at the warehouse. As the minutes dragged on, that sick
feeling in the pit of her stomach erupted all over again. Desperate
to bring relief to her pangs of anxiety, she picked up the receiver
to call Jack and see when she could expect him home. Would this be another
one of those nights when he had to put in extra time because, in his
words, he was "so swamped"?
One of the guys answered. "Yes, hi, is Jack there?" Deanna inquired.
"Deanna?" the voice asked.
"Yes, who is this?" she responded.
The voice stated, "This is Daniel. I work out in the loading area."
"I thought I recognized the voice. Listen, is Jack still there?" Deanna
"Naw, he left about thirty minutes ago, I reckon," he replied.
"Okay, thanks, that's all I needed to know," she said with her heart
lodged in her throat.
She hung up the phone, her thoughts swirling. Within seconds the phone
"Hello, honey, I'm still here. I thought I'd be out of here by now,
but I've had to troubleshoot some major problems."
"Really?" Deanna answered suspiciously.
Jack picked up on her questioning tone and asked, "Why, what's the
"Well, Jack, I just called your office, and Daniel picked up the call
to inform me that you left a half hour ago."
"Good grief," he explained. "I didn't leave to go home. I just went
outside the building with a couple of the guys to straighten out this
mess. Daniel probably assumed I'd taken off."
"Fine, Jack, whatever," she said with a sigh.
The doubts were piggybacking on top of every other suspicion she had
had about her husband in recent months. His explanations sounded more
and more like excuses, and Deanna had just about had it. The red flags
were everywhere if she looked: those last-minute meetings, all those
extra hours, his distancing himself more and more from her, sharing
less and less, skipping church regularly, defensive moods, his short
temper. Come to think of it, he has been hounding me to take a trip
to visit my sister, she thought to herself. Why is he so anxious
for me to leave?
Dinner and the rest of the evening were strained, but then so many
of them had been lately. Deanna didn't have proof that Jack had violated
their marriage vows, but all the signs were pointing there.
On Wednesday afternoon, she grabbed her car keys and purse, and she
headed for the family van. She sank down into the seat and bowed her
head, asking the Lord for the strength to do what she knew she had to
do--confront her husband.
The moment she rounded the corner and spotted the warehouse her heart
started pounding wildly. She wanted to know and didn't want to know,
all at the same time. She strategically found a parking place where
she could see the exit door, but no one would notice her. She waited
and waited. The numbers on the dash clock seemed to stand still. After
what seemed an eternity, the 4:59 finally flipped over to show 5:00.
One by one, the employees filed out, making their way to their cars.
But there was no sign of Jack. Should she start the van and head home?
Deanna tensely waited. The waiting came to an abrupt stop and so did
her heart when, at 5:33 p.m., she spotted her husband walking out of
the building with one of the female employees. Now what? What should
she do? Anything? Nothing? She will never forget what she saw next.
Six years of marriage and two kids later, she watched as her Christian
husband got into the car, put his arm around another woman, and kissed
She wanted to throw up, but couldn't. She wanted to scream, but couldn't.
She wanted to cry, and the floodgates opened. She couldn't drive if
she wanted to, and she desperately wanted to. She finally made it home
before Jack did. She had to wait again. It seemed as if all she'd done
lately was to wait for him to come home.
When he walked through the front door, he spotted her in the living
room, staring back at him coldly. A numbing chill swept over his body.
Does she know? he thought.
"Hi, hon," he said softly. There was no response, only an empty stare.
Moments of dead, awkward silence followed. Jack sat down across from
Deanna. "What, hon? What's wrong?" he managed to ask.
Looking straight into his eyes, she announced flatly, "You've been
lying to me."
Her accusation pierced him like a dagger. One look into his eyes, and
Deanna knew she was on target. He had been lying. He had been unfaithful.
His eyes said so. Her hurt spontaneously turned to anger.
"Here! This means nothing to me because it obviously means nothing
to you!" she screamed as she pulled off her wedding band and tossed
it blindly toward him. She grabbed the closest thing within reach--his
lunch box--and threw it across the room.
Jack had begun sobbing heavily as she stormed out of the living room
towards their bedroom. He followed her into their bedroom, begging and
pleading his case, only to hear her shout, "Get off this bed! This is
my side, the pure side!" She yanked the sheets and blanket out from
underneath the mattress.
It was a scene that seemed almost surreal to Jack as he stood there,
motionless. My God, what have I done? The words played over in
his mind. "I never meant for it to go this far. I never meant to hurt
you," he assured her.
"You should have thought about that a long time ago . . . when I cared,"
she snapped. "And while you're in here, you might as well pack your
clothes because I won't sleep with a adulterer!" she screamed as she
walked out the door, slamming it shut.
It was beginning to sink in. Those casual encounters had led to this
hell on earth. Exploding with fear and shame, Jack tried to figure out
what to do next. He slumped down on his side of the bed and wondered
how in the world he could fix the mess. It was amazing how one man's
life, and the whole family, could shatter into a million pieces in a
matter of moments.
The Rest of the Story
Jack and Deanna averted divorce. Both of them came out of their marriage
trial with a deeper understanding of commitment and love for the Lord.
How did they do it? How was Jack able to watch his wife go from despising
him to throwing her arms around him in love? It wasnt easy, and it wasnt
quick. It was accomplished one play at a time. Jack started a drive
that painful day, and the momentum continues today.
Both Jack and Deanna will tell you that it took about two years to
repair the damage done by his infidelity. They are now enjoying the
rewards of a mutually satisfying relationship. The particular steps
Jack took are woven throughout this book, and they drive home the value
and importance of the relationship concepts well be covering.
Creating a Game Plan
As you weather your marital storm, you stand at the helm of significant
- To react, or to respond.
- To meet this challenge head-on, or to take off to the high country.
- To face the struggle, or to medicate the pain through addictions.
- To find the treasure in this trial, or to bury it.
- To learn all you can, or to act as if you know it all.
- To admit the error of your ways, or to allow pride a front-row seat.
Based on more than thirty years of working with people in hurting relationships,
and based on our surveys of hundreds of men and women who have experienced
separation or divorce, we have developed specific steps a man can take
that "score points" with his mate. On the other hand, there are behaviors
that lose points with a wife. Some behaviors only weaken and threaten
the whole team, while other actions put big numbers up on the marriage
scoreboard. It is our desire to present a reconciliation playbook that
will outline specific steps for winning your wife back. Here is a brief
overview of the game plan.
Winning Your Wife Back Playbook
Step One. We want to encourage you to identify specific behaviors
that are guaranteed to lose ground. We call them penalties. In the game
of love you can score points in two ways. You can score by doing positive
things (stringing together first downs). Or you can sustain a drive
toward reconciliation by avoiding penalty flags. Penalties will keep
you from gaining the valuable yardage you desire. We present nine specific
penalties to avoid.
Step Two. After pointing out things that can damage the reconciliation
process, we want to help you identify and understand specific patterns
of behavior that can put you across the goal line consistently with
your wife. Step two will help you understand why your wife may not respond
to your reconciliation attempts. When you offend your wife, you usually
close her spirit. Therefore, to help you gain positive yardage, we will
present the secret to opening a closed spirit.
Step Three. In this step we identify the single most important
principle for building healthy relationships: honoring your wife and
children. Having honor within your family is like experiencing a thrilling
100-yard kickoff return!
Step Four. Related to honor is the concept of sacrificial love.
In this step you will learn how important it is to prefer your wife
above all other earthly things. When you become a servant to your family,
contribute financially, and provide additional kinds of help, you will
see firsthand how quickly the reconciliation ball moves down the field.
Step Five. Another great way to score major relational points
with your wife is to initiate change in yourself. Here, you will discover
four vital areas of your life that need to be balanced: mental, physical,
spiritual, and social. Being in balance in these areas can make you
more attractive to your wife.
Step Six. Understanding why some women are not in a position
to reconcile is the next step. Your wife may have emotional baggage
she is hauling around from a past relationship, and virtually nothing
you do will make a significant difference in the reconciliation process.
We identify three distinct reasons why some women react negatively to
sincere efforts by their husbands.
Step Seven. The next important step in the reconciliation process
is to understand your ultimate goal after your mate leaves. As you realize
that drawing closer to the Lord is the greatest thing you can do, the
joy you'll experience can make the pain worthwhile and the future look
Step Eight. Through a story about an older widow, you will understand
one of the most powerful principles in life: persistence. When the process
of winning your wife back seems endless, you can draw strength from
God by understanding His will for your life. Can Christ restore your
relationship? In this step you will find out the answer.
Step Nine. This next step will help you to identify a place
where you can receive continuous support and accountability. Through
this method, you can gain increased life span, higher motivation, and
the perspective of others.
Step Ten. Once you're able to put some scoring drives together
and the comeback is looking very real, you need to be aware of some
things if and when your wife returns. We identify several key factors
in the form of a scouting report that will help you to keep your winning
streak going long after the reconciliation drive ends.
Write Your Own Reconciliation Game Plan. At this point we invite
you to take the valuable step of writing a personal, tailor-made game
plan for winning your wife back. We will help you incorporate all of
the information presented in this book into a specific contract for
accountability. You can then use the reconciliation contract to gauge
your progress and help others see exactly what actions you are committed
to take in order to save your marriage.
Scattered throughout this book are several stories about some couples
who weathered the reconciliation process. Their stories beautifully
illustrate God's will for our relationships. The postgame interviews
will give you an opportunity to hear some of the most important lessons
that the couples learned along the road to reconciliation. We encourage
you not to miss their encouraging wisdom and insight.
Now that you have a clear picture of the reconciliation process presented
throughout this book, in the words of the Buffalo Bills' coach, we invite
you to "get out there and win!"
1. Michelle Weiner-Davis, Divorce Busting (New York: Simon and
Inc., 1992), 102.
Your Wife Back Before
It's Too Late
by Gary Smalley, Dr. Greg Smalley
Smalley, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee 1999. Used by
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.