Do prison relationships work after release?
After spending over 10 years visiting my man in prison, he was being released. I was ecstatic—and I was so nervous. So many questions were running through my mind. Could he love me the same now that he was free? Could this nightmare really be over—and could we live our lives together as a normal, happy, forever family now?
So many ladies ask me, “Do relationships with someone in prison really work after they come home?” My answer is “YES!! As long as you are both committed to making it work.” Here is a secret: Healthy, permanent relationships do not just happen; not for anyone.
You are in it together
If you want your prison relationship to make it, you will need to invest time and energy into making it the best it can be. And this goes for both of you. I promise you, you will face some crazy challenges as he reenters society. It will not be easy to face a world that hates people who have been to prison. But if you are in it together, you can face anything and recover.
I have had the privilege of working with thousands of couples through reentry. Those who make it are the ones who decide they will make it through the tough jourey together. The ones who live in their fantasy that everything will be wonderful once he is released from prison are those who do not make it.
Know what to expect
Knowing what to expect and being prepared for the changes and challenges of prison relationships makes all the difference. No couple has a perfect relationship. Not a single couple in the world. Perfection is not the goal. Permanent and healthy is the goal. Once you understand the goal of permanent and healthy, you can navigate through all of the imperfect moments together.
Relationships most definitely DO work after release from prison. Some of the strongest marriages are those that have been through the toughest situations in life and survived. Determining to make it is just the first step, though.
If you are not married, get married. Living together after prison adds pressure and conflict because of the lack of a lifetime commitment. Committing to partnership brings a new level or freedom, trust, and stability to your relationship. The new foundation will help you build a strong, healthy relationship together.
The boys would ask every ten minutes as they waited impatiently to talk to their Daddy. I loved seeing them excited to talk to Ron, but I was also painfully aware that sharing a phone call between 3 people meant less time for Ron and I to connect. We had a lot of catching up to do in a little bit of time. We had to make it count.
Couple Communication Resources
There are a lot of really great marriage programs available. Find one in your area, and sign up. Every couple can benefit from marriage enrichment and investing in their relationship. One of my favorite programs is Couple Communication. It teaches couples how to communicate in a healthy way. Couples learn how to resolve issues together instead of needs to find someone who can resolve it for them. I highly recommend you find a class near you and take it. It will transform your communication with your partner!
Finally have fun! Don’t take life and all if its challenges so seriously. Find ways to play together, laugh together, and enjoy each other’s company. When you laugh and have fun together, it builds stronger bonds between you. Too many couples forget to have fun together. It is true that there is a lot you need to be serious about as your man comes home, but that is even more reason to find ways to have fun together. Couples that laugh together, stay together.
It is not easy to make a relationship work across a lifetime. But , it is worth every ounce of energy and time you invest in it. Relationships are the best part of life — it is so much sweeter to share your life with someone you love. You can do it! We can help if you need us.
I am rooting for you!