I sometimes hear from wives who are glad that they have a family to hold their marriage together but who are also worried that the same family just isn’t going to be enough in the long run. Often, the wife will worry that her children are the only thing tying her husband to her.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband started talking about a separation about seven months ago. Shortly after that, our marriage seemed to get a little better so I tried not to worry about this too much. But a few months after the improvement, he started talking about not being happy again and he started to hint that he was moving out. This has never been what I’ve wanted. I look around and I see that we have so much to be thankful for. Our children mean that we have very good reasons to work things out. But when I tell my husband this, he says that he plans for our entire family to remain close despite the separation. Last night, he came home and told me that he was moving out this weekend. He said that I shouldn’t panic over this because he plans for things to remain very stable for our children. He says that we will still have Sunday dinner and we will still go to football games and do regular family things. I’m grateful for this. But, at the same time, I am not sure that I can do this. How am I supposed to pretend that everything is fine when my heart is breaking? Sometimes, I feel like telling him that I’m not going to allow him to pretend in this way. I feel like telling him that I won’t go along with this unless he commits to the marriage. Am I wrong in my thinking?”
I have to gently say that although I understand the reasoning behind this plan, I don’t believe that it has a high chance of being successful. When your husband is unsure about you or the marriage that you are still very much invested in, applying pressure to that same marriage will very often backfire. Your husband may become angry and he may withdraw from your family. This isn’t in the best interest of you or your kids. I believe that there is a better way, which I will discuss below.
Sometimes, You Have To Concentrate On Whatever Is Left: When you are separated, it’s so easy to place your focus on what isn’t there. You worry about what is going to happen next. You allow your doubts to drive you to behavior that only makes your situation worse. This is perfectly natural. But it is also damaging and it is avoidable.
One way to avoid this trap is to place your focus on what is left and what is still good. Right now, that is your family. I know that it may not feel like it right now, but it is a very positive thing that your husband wants to maintain family closeness, even if it is supposedly only for the sake of your children. Many men want a lot of space during a separation so they will distance themselves from everyone, even their families. The fact that this husband isn’t doing that was a very good sign.
For right now, it might help you to just focus on that positive fact and to eventually build upon it. Yes, it’s upsetting that your husband might only be willing to remain close because of the kids. But one reason is better than no reason and it can help you to rebuild, which leads me to my next point.
Being There For Your Children Can Eventually Help Your Marriage: Just for a second, I want to talk about your children. As difficult a situation as this is, it’s very important that the two of you present a united front and an upbeat attitude. If the two of you appear to be making the best of your current situation, your children are going to follow your example and they are going to worry much less.
And in the mean time, while the two of you are trying to create a positive atmosphere for your children, you have to cooperate and interact with one another. This is a perfect time for you to begin to heal your relationship.
Now, when I say this, I don’t mean that you should use time set aside for your children to question or approach your husband about your marriage. But there is nothing wrong with using this family time as a way to bond and to just have fun times together again.
Because you want for your husband to think of you and have good thoughts. When he is alone in his apartment, you want for him to think of you positively. Bonding when you are spending time together as a family is fair game as long as you are being genuine when you are doing it.
So to address the question posed, I know that this is a very difficult time for everyone. And I know that it is totally natural to feel a little sad or even angry when you suspect that his being part of your family is the only thing that is keeping him near. But it is something. And it shows that your husband is still committed. And that is something upon which you can build.