I sometimes hear from wives who are a bit confused about how their martial or trial separation is going, although they don’t want to complain about the same. At first, it actually felt like a separation because the couple lived under separate roofs and saw each frequently in order to check in with one another. But somewhere along the way, the husband started coming home for a night and then a weekend. At first, perhaps this was only happening every few weeks, but eventually, it can become a common occurrence.
I might hear a comment like: “I am not going to complain about my husband coming back home. It’s everything that I can do not to welcome him with open arms. I love my husband and I want him back. Before he started coming home, I only saw him at church and we would occasionally go out to restaurants. This was nice, but not enough. When he comes home, he spends the night and it is almost like we are married again before anything ever went wrong between us. It confuses me and hurts me when he leaves again. Once, I asked him where he was going and he answered that we were separated, so he was going to his own home. This is all true. And I don’t want to push so hard that he stops coming around. But it does confuse me and I don’t know what it really means. What do you think it means when you’re separated and your husband still occasionally comes home but doesn’t mention making it permanent?”
It can mean several things. And it can be a good sign if it’s handled it correctly. I wish discuss this further below.
It Can Mean That He Is Taking Advantage Of The Situation: I want to get this possibility out of the way because I don’t think that this is the one that is most likely. However, it wouldn’t be unheard of for a separated husband to come home for a little comfort, a little sex, and a little emotional reassurance. And I am not saying that the husband would be doing this maliciously to hurt his wife. But men do sometimes see an opportunity to get their needs met without worrying if it’s going to hurt and confuse their wife and without thinking about where it all might lead. It can help to ask yourself how he acts around you after he leaves. If he’s distant and tries to cool things off, then that is one indication that there wasn’t much thought behind his actions. As I said, in my view, this isn’t the most likely reason, but I wanted to mention it because it does sometimes happen.
He May Miss You And Want To Naturally Spend A Different Kind Of Time With You: I think that most likely scenario here is that the husband is finding himself missing his wife. Sure, the nights out to dinner and the time at church is wonderful. But it’s not the same as being home with his wife, spending the night with her, and bonding in your own home that you have built together.
Does this blur the boundaries and make it confusing as to how you are going to proceed? You bet it does. And it isn’t healthy for you if you feel that you might be being used and taken advantage of. That’s why I think that it might be beneficial to have a frank conversation about this. I know that the wife was hesitant to have this conversation. Understandably, she didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize a reconciliation.
I understand this, but I think that there is a way to have this conversation and still ensure that things are going well. The next time he stays over, you may say something like: “I wish that you didn’t have to leave. It always makes me sad and confuses me a little bit when you leave. I never know if this is a positive thing for our marriage or a negative one. I love you and of course I want to spend time with you like this, but it does make me wonder what is going to happen next. Can you share with me what you are thinking about this and if you consider this a positive thing for us?”
Then wait and see what he has to say. I suspect that he will say that he sees it as positive and he is acting out of the fact that he misses his wife. But, he isn’t staying full time either because he still has doubts or because he doesn’t think that you have worked through your problems quite yet. If you get this kind of response, try not to be too discouraged. This tells you that you are making progress. Yes, he may still have his doubts, but this is only natural. And moving slowly can actually benefit your reconciliation process because rushing into it can sometimes mean that you don’t do the work necessary to make sure that your marriage endures.
I’d like to make one further suggestion. Who is to say that the two of you can’t work on your marriage when he comes home? That way, you will both see some improvements and you will both get more assurance that when he does come home for good, then he will be home to stay. So once you get his answer in the conversation above, you may respond with something like: “that’s good to hear. I think that we should keep moving forward then. I look forward to our time together, but I think that it would benefit us to take this one step further and work on our marriage for a certain period of time when you’re home. We could spend the rest of the time having fun, but spending just a little time on our marriage each time you come home would probably help us tremendously and might remove some of our doubts. What do you think?”
To answer the original question though, I believe that it can be a positive sign when your husband makes a habit of coming home during your separation. And if you can begin to slowly work on your marriage and make the time that he comes home more and more frequent, then you may be well on your way to a reconciliation.