Dates are completely different when your husband is in prison.
It took us a while to understand the importance of “dating” the best we could while Ron was in prison. Our prison visits began with both of us totally focused on the legal process of appeals and motions. There was very little updating each other on what was happening in the outside world. We had serious issues to take care of, so we used all of our visiting time to discuss them and make decisions. Before long, we got into a rut-like routine of visits.
We were both changing and growing as we were each navigating through each phase of healing.
But we weren’t having fun together. That may seem silly and superficial. But I always reminded myself that I am building a relationship to last a lifetime. I didn’t even realize how much this was affecting our relationship until one visit when Ron said this, “Cathy, this is not the life I want for you and the boys. You can live out your dreams and achieve everything you want for your life. I don’t want to hold you back. Now that I love you. I am releasing you to concentrate on you and boys. I don’t want them to grow up in a prison visiting room, and I don’t want you to waste your life waiting for me to come home.”
"We were going to make it- I was more determined than ever."
His eyes were filled with tears that he was blinking back, but a couple of them streamed down his cheek. Ron didn’t wipe them off, he just looked unwavering into my eyes so I would see that he meant what he said, but it was also costing him so much to say it. I realized in that moment that I had not been letting him know he was still the one and only man I wanted to spend my life with. Prison did not change that.
Prison or no prison, you are still my man.
I responded, “Ron, you do not get to make that decision! I get to choose who I spend the rest of my life with and I chose you. Prison or no prison, you are still my man. I am not leaving.” He looked stunned and relieved. We sat there, holding hands across the tiny little table between us, holding each other’s gaze. It was a moment of deep connection. I saw his pain, his insecurity, his love for me and our children. I felt my love and commitment toward him multiply. We were going to make it- I was more determined than ever. But I also knew that I had to do something different if I wanted him to KNOW it like I knew it.
I became purposeful in letting him know he was MY Man.
That is when we started having “dates” together. Just the 2 of us on one prison visit every other month. I became purposeful in letting him know he was MY Man. I even began to referring to him as “my man” when I talked about him to the outside world. I loved the way it made me feel when I said, “I got a letter today from my man.” When I took people to visit Ron, I would introduce him, “This is Ron, my husband and my man”
My letters had always included affirmations and endearments, but now I made sure I SAID it to him when we talked. So, he heard about my love and attraction toward him on the phone, in visits and in letters. When we had our “date visit” I made sure my hair and make-up were date-worthy and I used my best perfume. I would hold my cheek against his cheek for 5 seconds after our greeting kiss and it felt so intimate to be skin to skin in those moments. We held hands, we laughed, and we flirted. It was our stolen time together and it kept us focused on what we fighting for. Us. Our family. Our relationship. To read more about writing letters, read this.
Here are a few tips to help you connect with your partner
- Tell him! Seems like a no-brainer, but too many women keep silent on this. He needs to hear it from you.
- Show him! Dress nicely, smell extra good when you to visit him. Remember how careful you were on first few dates to look your best? Do that 😊
- Date him! Schedule visits that are just the 2 of you. And Flirt like crazy during these visits.
- Write him! Send him love notes at least a couple of times a month. It is OK if they get a little steamy—just don’t get too carried away or they will confiscate your letter 😉
- Embrace him! If possible, press your cheek against his when you hug so you can get as much skin to skin as possible and still be appropriate in the visiting room.
- Compliment him! Tell him the greatness you see in him. Don’t just make it about how sexy you think him (but definitely include that) Tell him about his character traits you love.
I cannot say enough about how important it is to let your husband know he is still your man.
His whole world is telling him you deserve better, that it is just a matter of time before you find someone else, and that it is too much to hope that you will wait for him. Your voice has to be the most persistent and your actions the most consistent to let him know he is still your man.
I want to encourage you to try some of the things we did. You will see a deeper level of commitment and love in your relationship as you practice investing in him—in your “us”.
The journey is hard, but you can do it. It is so worth all of your effort.
I am rooting for you!