Often, after your husband moves out, you spend a lot of time thinking about whether (and when) he will return. You might even spend a decent amount of time thinking about what you can do to get him home sooner rather than later. Sometimes, this whole thing doesn’t go as you planned and his return gets delayed. Still, you learn to cope and adjust. Eventually, when he announces that he wants to come back, you aren’t quite sure how you should react.
I heard from a wife who said: “about three months ago, my husband decided that he wasn’t happy and that he wanted to move out for a while. I begged him not to do this. I knew that this would be upsetting to our children and I felt that we could work out our issues without him needing to leave. He wouldn’t listen to me and eventually, he did move out. At first I was scared and I constantly called him and tried to concoct ways to get him to come home. I saw the negative impact this was having on my kids and I wanted to get him home as soon as possible. He was receptive to me, but he resisted. Eventually, I got tired of this process and I became angry. And I took a break from trying to get him back and I focused on myself and on my children. I was resentful that he would leave us. Well, of course once I quit begging him to come home, now a few weeks later he calls me and announces that he wants to come home. I know that I should be excited. And in my heart, I do want him to come home. But I guess I’m having a hard time getting passed my anger. I would never tell him that he can’t come home. But I just don’t know what happens now.”
Well, honestly, what happens now is really up to you. Believe it or not, you do have more say than you might think. But before you make a decision based on emotions, it’s important to stop and ask yourself what you really want. And frankly, you can make this work for you rather than against you. Because right now, you have a chance to essentially start over and design the marriage that you truly want and deserve.
Ask Yourself What You Really Want Moving Forward: This wife had every right to be a bit angry and resentful. However, when it comes to far reaching decisions such as this one, you really shouldn’t allow your emotions to cloud your decision. At a time when you’re calm, it helps to sit down and ask yourself what you really want. And what this wife had always wanted was to keep her family together.
But, she also wanted a marriage that worked for both people. She wanted to set it up so that she and her husband would approach one another and work through their problems before things became so bad that one of them wanted to leave. Nothing said that she couldn’t have both things, but in order to check off both boxes she would need to have an open dialog with her husband before he returned home.
Although You Likely Want Your Husband To Come Home As Soon As Possible, It’s Best To Lay A Foundation First: It’s very tempting to want to tell your husband to come right home, to fall into his arms, and to promise one another that you will never speak of this time period again. After all, this has been very painful. It’s so tempting to close the book on this time in your marriage and to never look back.
And, it might be easier to just ignore the obvious. But as easy as that might be, you have to know that it’s not the best choice. Until you identify, address, and then fix the issues that lead you to the separation in the first place, you leave yourself vulnerable for these issues to keep cropping up so that they eventually damage your marriage so much that the separation becomes permanent.
So as difficult as it might be, it can be helpful and healthy to spend some time talking and coming up with compromises and a workable plan before he comes home.
A suggested script for this would be something like: “you know that I have been wanting you to come back home since you left. I am still committed to our marriage and of course I want for you to come back home. But before that happens, I think that we need to talk about what went wrong. I don’t want for us to make the same mistakes. I want for our marriage to last and I want for us to both be happy. I think that we should consider counseling or at least we should commit to learning how to manage our issues in more productive ways. I think that we should at least commit to going out to dinner once a week and discussing what has worked for our marriage that week and what hasn’t. That way, we can identify and work on our most problematic issues so that they don’t separate us again. Can you commit to doing this? Because the next time, I don’t want for either of us to solve our problems by leaving.”