By: Leslie Cane: There is no question that it can be hard to contain your excitement when you think that it might actually be possible to reconcile with a separated spouse. If the separation has been volatile enough or has gone on for long enough, you may have started to worry that you were going to end up divorced.
And yet, somewhere along the way, the tide begins to turn. A reconciliation may not look so impossible after all. And it’s normal to want to share your excitement about this or to cement it in some way. But, because you are separated, you may not be able to see your husband the second that you want to. Or, you may worry that the words about the reconciliation may come out all wrong.
And so you come up with a plan to write him a letter. But then the worry sets in about what could go wrong here. While a letter can work great during times of harmony, things can be misconstrued when the other person can’t see your facial expressions or hear your tone of voice. Not only that, but what do you say to make sure that you express what you want or need to say?
Someone might have this sort of concern: “after seven months of a trial separation, I feel as if my husband and myself have started to make some progress. For the first few months, we barely spoke. Then, very slowly, we started to email. Then we started to text. Then came the phone calls. Finally, we have progressed to seeing each other once per week. Things are going well. And last weekend, I finally got up my courage to ask my husband if he would be open to a reconciliation. His answer was that he would be open to it ‘eventually.’ I’m a little disappointed that he doesn’t seem to be as enthusiastic as I am. But I am happy that it appears that he might be willing to reconcile nonetheless. When my husband and I were first dating, I used to write him letters all of the time. We would go on a wonderful date and I would come home so excited and pour my heart out in words. I would like to do that once again. I would like to write him a letter about a possible reconciliation. But I do not want to mess anything up. Many of my friends have cautioned me about this because they are afraid that I will scare my husband off. That is not my intention. But I want him to know that I’m very excited to reconcile with him. What’s wrong with that?”
I understand the enthusiasm. I felt the same way. I also understand why your friends are telling you to be careful. My enthusiasm did make my husband hesitate when we had FINALLY made some progress during our separation, so unfortunately, I know first hand that this risk is real.
Take An Honest Inventory About What Contributed To The Progress: I do understand that it can be hard to temper your enthusiasm. But let’s look at the facts quickly. As was the case with myself, all of your progress has been made GRADUALLY. I am not telling you this to rain on your parade or to hurt you. I am telling you this because I am trying to keep you from potentially making a very common mistake. I can’t tell you how often I hear from people who have gotten a bit too enthusiastic or excited when the potential for a reconciliation presents itself. And suddenly, overwhelmed and a little afraid, their husband backs away. It’s difficult to regain the ground once this happens. Which is why it’s better to keep your enthusiasm manageable so that it doesn’t overwhelm or scare your husband.
Showing Is More Effective Than Telling: Honestly, I think it is better to SHOW your husband your stance with your behaviors instead of with your words. Separated spouses can be very wary of empty promises. However, I do understand the wish to write a letter.
Understand The Importance Of The Letter’s Tone: If you are going to write a letter, I would keep it very light. I would simply tell your husband that you have enjoyed the recent time with him and that you’re glad that you are regularly seeing one another again. You can also tell him that you hope that there are many enjoyable days ahead. But you want to stop short of saying anything that makes him think that you’re assuming that you will reconcile or that he will move back in tomorrow. And you don’t want to paint a negative picture by saying that you will need to “work hard” or “buckle down” in the days ahead to make a reconciliation happen.
I know that this is your husband and it is hard to stop yourself or to temper your excitement when this should all come so naturally. But a reconciliation can be very delicate. There can be worries and doubts that can be magnified when you apply pressure. Sometimes, husbands can misinterpret enthusiasm for pressure.
Since a steady, gradual pace has worked for you so far and has allowed you to continue to make progress, I would keep right on with that. I would move forward as comfort levels allow, but I would not make assumptions or be overly enthusiastic. I would try to have fun and enjoy the time rather than overanalyzing it or allowing it to wither under the pressure.
Of course, this might seem easy for me to say since my husband I reconciled. But I only offer caution because I almost ruined my own reconciliation with my own over-enthusiasm and assumptions. Once I decided to let my husband lead the way sometimes, things improved. You want this process to feel fun and exciting. It’s not meant to feel pressure-filled or awkward. You can read more about how I finally brought about a successful reconciliation on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com
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