Q: Do you have any advice for a woman whose husband is being paroled next month after having served time for armed robbery. I’m eager to have him back home and resume a normal relationship, but at the same time, I’m feeling anxious about what to expect.
A: You’re wise to consider this question beforehand. As you know, your marriage has suffered serious trauma, and it’s best to be guarded against unrealistic expectations. Your situation is not one of just picking up where you left off. For your relationship to continue successfully, you and your husband will need to intentionally prepare yourselves for some significant changes.
The first thing we’d encourage you to do is to talk things over with your husband before his release, either in writing or during a face-to-face visit. You might communicate something like, “I still love you and am willing to trust you again, but I’m wrestling with lots of doubts and unanswered questions.” If there are deep emotional issues or problems from the past that need to be addressed, it would be a good idea to get the help of an objective and trusted third party in preparing for your conversation.
We’d also recommend communicating with correction officials to learn what kind of track record your spouse has had during his imprisonment. Is he a reformed man? Or is it likely that old behaviours will emerge once he’s out? These questions are vital to your own safety and the well-being of any children at home.
With this last thought in mind, we would suggest that you consider separate living arrangements initially while getting marriage counselling. We’d be happy to direct you to a counselling service in your area. Please call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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