I sometimes hear from wives who are getting the feeling that their separated husband might be thinking about coming home. But unfortunately, something seems to be stopping him from taking a step in that direction. Sometimes, the wife suspects that his pride is keeping him from following his heart.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I separated following a huge and nasty fight. We have fought about silly things before and both later calmed down. But this fight is one that still feels very fresh. My husband and I allowed one of his old friends to live with us for about three weeks until his new home was ready to move into. I actually didn’t want this, but I knew that my husband was close to this person and would feel guilty if we didn’t open our doors to this guy. So I agreed to it even though I didn’t like it. Well, three weeks ended up being about two months. Because my husband is never home early during the week, the other guy and I became pretty good friends. I noticed that this bugged my husband but I figured once the guy’s home was ready and he moved out, everything would return to normal. One day, the other guy had told me a joke and I began to burst out laughing. My husband returned home right after this and neither of us noticed that he had walked through the door until several minutes later. My husband got jealous and didn’t talk to either of us for days. Nothing inappropriate happened and frankly I was absolutely furious that my husband acted like a child over this. We got into several huge fights over this and things got so bad that he eventually asked for a separation and moved out. His jealousy made him believe that I didn’t respect or appreciate him. I was just so angry that he didn’t trust me that I never tried to keep him from leaving. Well, he’s been away from home for about two months. For the last week, he’s been calling a lot. We had dinner together two nights last week. I believe that he is softening his stance and probably wants to come home. However, he hasn’t said anything about this or made any actual moves toward this. I believe that his pride is getting in the way. I believe that he’s too proud to ask to come home because that would insinuate that he has done something wrong. I want him to come home and I think that this whole thing is silly. But I don’t think that it’s fair for me to have to ask or beg him to come home because I am not the one who initiated this in the first place. What should I do?”
The issue of pride during a marital separation is a very common one. It seems that no one wants to be the first one to mention coming home. No one wants to feel this vulnerable or to face potential rejection. And so both people remain silent and become frustrated. And some even make unfortunate assumptions that make things much worse. That’s why I believe that it’s important that you handle this in the right way. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Ask Yourself Which Is More Important: Saving Your Marriage Or Preserving Your Pride: I understand that the wife felt that it was the husband who was allowing his pride to keep him away from his family. But when you think about it, she was a bit guilty of this also. She didn’t want to be the one who took the initiative because she felt that he almost deserved to have to swallow his pride and speak up. In this way, she was almost as guilty of score keeping as he was. And this frankly doesn’t help any one.
There is a way to bring up the topic without it appearing that you are groveling or “giving in” and I will discuss that very shortly. But you need to ask yourself if your pride or your principles are more important to you than your marriage. Sometimes, you have to keep your eye on the prize and worry only about the bigger picture.
A Way To Bring Up His Coming Back Home Without Appearing To “Give In” Or To Grovel: If you feel that you are going to need to be the one to take the initiative but don’t want to appear that you are giving in, there’s a way to do this and still keep your pride in tact. The next time that your husband and you are having dinner or interacting in a positive way, you could say something like “have you thought about what you want in the future? It seems to me that things are cooling down and improving between us. Frankly, I hate that it has come to this. I love you and I know that you love me. It seems a little silly that we are living apart. Of course, when you return home is your own decision and I’m certainly not trying to pressure you. The pace is truly up to you. But I’m not angry anymore and it seems to me that you aren’t either. So I’m a bit puzzled as to why our living arrangements haven’t changed.”
Then you just wait and see what he has to say. He may agree with you and be relieved that someone has finally broke the tension. Or he might become defensive or rehash the argument. But no matter what he does, remain calm and allow him to say whatever he has to say. Avoid telling him that he was being silly or that he overreacting. Never say “I took you so.” And make sure that when the conversation is finished, the mood is a positive one. If you can do this successfully, the odds are good that no one’s pride will be in the way of your marriage.
Don’t Forget About The Issues That Forced The Separation In The First Place: Of course, the goal is to break the stale mate and to get him to come home. But there’s a real risk in him coming home without really resolving anything. Remember that there is still the issue of him not trusting his wife and of him feeling not respected or loved enough. Although there is no need to dwell on this so much that you reignite the problem, there is a need to settle these issues so that they don’t sneak up on you again. And these problems will generally work themselves out when you place your focus on strengthening your marriage so that you have more confidence in it.