Dear Pastor Kitoto,
I separated with my wife three years ago. We have been co-parenting successfully. A few weeks ago, we enrolled our first born into boarding school. We dropped our son at school and later had lunch together. During that happy moment, I realised I miss her so much. Later I dropped her at our house—I am the one who moved out after our separation—and on the way back to my house, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. What can I do to win her back?
Rekindling of fond memories is usual when two old friends or a separated couple meet over a common agenda. Excitement of meeting and even seeing your own child move to the next level despite the differences you had is an achievement that could re-ignite a conversation. However, events that create such memories do not last.
Remember, transitional moments like getting a baby, or a child going to school for the first time, or even going to boarding school are emotional moments. What you had together that moment were fond memories of seeing your son all grown up and proceeding to boarding school. It is a mistake to think that what you felt during the brief moment can reinstate the broken marriage.
However, what this spark of the moment does is to provide a window of opportunity to re-engage in a progressive dialogue that could lead to a reunion. Breaking the ice and moving on to re-establish communication is the very first step in this process. You must agree that deep inside still exist wounds, disappointments, and unresolved issues that caused the separation. I suggest that you use the moment created but the school visit to re-establish a genuine friendship without trying to take advantage of her vulnerability.
In addition, identification and resolution of past areas of mistrust and lack of understanding that caused the separation is of priority in the process of re-establishing the union. Once you have this friendship going, check whether there is a mutually developing interest to deal with the issues that caused separation and move on to rekindling love.
If indeed the brief moment you shared rekindled memories that re-ignite a conversation, then nurture the moment by showing genuine interest that could build confidence to revisit the issues that put you apart. What hurts a relationship most is when we ignore the past and try to make amends without resolving the issues that brought a separation in the first place.
Take time and identify the issues without blaming anyone. Acknowledging those areas of disagreement and looking for ways to resolve them must be done well if the rekindled love is to grow and thrive. We can’t assume that the issues will just melt away with time. The same way the fond memories were rekindled is the same way the painful moment will surface if not handled and resolved well.
Talk about how these issues affected you and the relationship. From research, it has been found that conflicts have a way of leading deep hurts that could border on abuse. It is probable that when conflicts cause such wounds and still go unresolved, they contribute to what you have faced in your relationship.
The work of remedying your relationship will start by rebuilding trust. For her to trust you, everything is hinged upon your actions and behaviour towards her. Think through your habits before the separation and how they affected how you acted and reacted to issues. Making the choice to live differently as you resolve the issues will be good testimony that could re-directing your life. No one can lead you to change unless you are determined to start this journey of change yourself.
In summary therefore, here are some steps that will help you move towards possible healing of the relationship that could end in you two getting back together: first, share together the obstacles that stand in the way of making the necessary changes. Second, change must begin with you if your desire is to rebuild abiding hope for your marriage.
Third, determine for yourself what would lead to better coexistence. Fourth, where you get stuck, find a counsellor to help you walk through how you can manage your past pain that led to the conflict you had. Fifth, each of you should be willing to start walking the road of forgiveness by letting go of issues that wounded and hurt that relationship without making unnecessary excuses for your actions. In addition, avoid making demands of each other which you cannot fulfil.
Finally, find time to rekindle fellowship as a couple. A lot has happened over time that has killed your love life. It is important to look for opportunities to build faith in each other and marriage. Your fears can only go if you make a conscious choice to find new ways of building fellowship.
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