The day is finally here!
Your man is coming home. You are feeling nervous, excited, and a little bit scared. What will your life be like when he comes home? How will things be different?
When your husband comes home, many things will change. Some of those things you have thought about, and others will be a surprise to you. Although you have been staying connected, you have each also had very different experiences during his prison sentence. So, there is that—and there is parole or probation rules that will affect your entire family.
Learning to live together again
It is a big adjustment to learn to live together again, and it can be intimidating to live under the constraints of probation or parole. Your husband is technically free, but still has some restrictions. Learning to help him be successful during this time is critical. If he is not successful, your family will be torn apart again.
“His parole restrictions don’t have anything to do with me.” I have been told by women before. That is not true. His restrictions have EVERYTHING to do with you if he is living with you. You must know what his rules are and what the expectations of his parole or probation officer are while he is on parole or probation. If you don’t know, find out.
His success is your family’s success.
It is your privilege to help him—your responsibility to make sure your family is safe and continues to grow together. That is what a family does—we walk together, help each, and hold each other accountable. Reentering society, his home, and his family’s lives can be a really stressful time. There are a lot of expectations on him, and even if he thinks he is prepared to meet all of them, he is not.
You do not have to help him, you get to provide encouragement and support to him. Take on the attitude of “we are in this together” and the journey is so much easier. Instead of letting the rules only apply to him, hold yourself to the same standard. Then, as you walk through the months, or years, on parole or probation it won’t seem difficult.
"Adjusting your life to connect with his path will make all the difference in your experience."
It seemed like a lifetime since he had lived in the same house with us. Our sons had grown from toddlers to teens. Our lives had changed so much in that decade. But we were filled with excitement when the judge granted our motion “For Justice and Mercy.” Ron was coming home…
If you are wondering how to support your partner, here are some simple things you can do to keep your relationship and family moving forward:
- Know the rules he is under (read the paper he was given)
- Make your curfew the same as his. Being home together is the BEST
- Keep alcohol and anything else that could get him in trouble out of your house
- Don’t invite people over who will bring alcohol or drugs into your home
- Don’t got to someone else’s house if you are not ABSOLUTELY SURE they won’t have anything there that could get your man in trouble
- Know the difference between a bar and a restaurant. This is a really important one. Just because they serve food doesn’t make it a restaurant, and just because they serve alcohol doesn’t make it a bar. Whatever the main thing is that they sell determines what it is. It is important to know that the same place can be different things at different times! Restaurant by day, bar by night. Get out of there when the culture changes.
- Connect to friends who are living clean and loving it! Being around people who enjoy life makes it more appealing to continue to well AND greatly reduces the risk that you will fall back into negative habits.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage him to keep doing the right thing
- Focus on what you DO have, and not what you cannot do. If all of your focus is on the things you cannot do, you will forget about how amazing it is to be together again and have the opportunity to live out all of the dreams you shared together.
- Remember probation or parole is just temporary—your new legacy is not.
I am rooting for you!