I often hear from wives who are experiencing quite conflicting feelings after their husband has come home from a trial separation. Often, they are so relieved that he has finally decided to return home because this is what they have been hoping for all along. But, despite this, they are sometimes confused as to what happens now. Part of the time, they don’t really want to dwell on what went wrong, but they often have nagging doubts that the problems that lead to the separation in the first place never truly went away.
I heard from a wife who said: “during the whole time that my husband was gone for our trial separation, I used to pray every night that he would come home the next day. And this finally happened, but now I’m not sure what to do. He’s home, but we’re kind of starting at each other and feeling one another out. It doesn’t feel entirely comfortable or right. In fact, there are times that things feel downright awkward. I’m wondering if I should once again push for us to go to counseling. I just want for things to work out this time. Because if he were to leave again, I’m not sure if I could handle it. So what should we be doing right now? Because I don’t want to do anything wrong.”
My first bit of advise to this wife was to just try to relax. Her husband coming back home was an absolutely wonderful thing. But she was so worried about what she should or should not be doing that she couldn’t focus on anything but her worry. And this dynamic wasn’t all that great for her marriage either. So in the following article, I’ll tell you (from my own experience) what I believe is the best course of action when your husband returns home after a trial separation.
Try To Demonstrate How Much His Returning Home Means To You, But Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure: It’s normal to be ecstatic that he has finally come home. And there is nothing wrong with allowing him to see how happy and excited you are. But, at the same time, you don’t want to imply that your work is finished. You don’t want to make him feel so much pressure that he’s afraid to tell the truth about his feelings for fear of hurting you again.
You are going for a combination of genuine happiness coupled with the truth which is that you likely still have a good deal of work to do and a great deal of improvement that is not only possible, but also necessary.
Understand That His Coming Home Might Be Just The Beginning: I am not trying to detract from your happiness and excitement. But there is a real risk in becoming complacent and believing that your work is done once you have finally lured him home. Since he has not been living with you, it’s a fairly likely that you didn’t have ample time to work on or address those things that lead to the separation in the first place. Now, you both may have decided that the problems don’t matter as much as you had originally thought. It’s very common for both people to agree to disagree in order to keep the marriage together. But I would still say that there is usually always some places in your marriage that can use some improvement.
And, if nothing else, often a separation does show you that you shouldn’t be complacent with your marriage or with your spouse. Be committed to checking in with your spouse regularly and asking yourself what could make both of you happier. Be committed to continuing to make things better and better since every marriage could use some additional attention and introspection.
Don’t Try To Do Too Much Too Soon. Become Reacquainted and Comfortable Again Before You Attempt Making Changes Or Improvements: It’s completely normal to be fearful of him one day leaving again and never coming back. That’s why many wives are tempted to demand intensive counseling or drastic changes immediately after he comes home. Their intentions are good ones. They don’t want any issues or problems sneaking their way into the marriage and ruining the reconciliation that they have worked so hard to facilitate. But there is a real risk in pushing so hard that you are not relishing in being together again.
You want to make sure that you take the time to bond and connect again. You want for your marriage to be as strong as possible to ensure that it can withstand any changes or improvements. So as tempting as it might be to want to roll up your sleeves and get right to work, make sure that you first take a little time to become comfortable and strongly bonded with your spouse again. Not only will this allow you to ease into the process, it will also greatly improve your chances for long term success.