I sit on the couch this Thursday night, alone. This isn’t an abnormal situation, as Pret has his group on Thursday night, so I am regularly alone on Thursday nights. But this night will be different. Pret will not come home. Nor will he come home tomorrow night. In fact, we will not see one another again until Sunday night. This happens every few months (although it has been more than 6 since the last time) when Pret staffs a Journey Into Manhood (JiM) weekend.
I have discussed the impact of Pret doing this weekend in this post, so I won’t go into that. Instead, I will focus on the experiences of Pret staffing subsequent weekends. Having some of my closest friends be true widows, I use the term with a light heart when I refer to myself and the other wives whose husbands are staffing “weekends” as “widows; I mean no offense.
I first got the term “widow” from my in-laws, actually, as my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, and I will refer to ourselves as “hunting widows” from September-January as our husbands go across states in search of their targets. Most often, it is just for a day, but it can sometimes be a weekend or even a whole week.
But, in looking at the return of my husband from both of these experiences, I see similar things in him and our relationship. During the time that he has been gone, he has been able to connect with other men, sometimes deeply, sometimes light-heartedly, sometimes with positive effects, sometimes with some “negative” effects, but always getting some of his core, masculine needs met. I also know that the other men he has been with have had similar experiences and have grown during their time with my husband, and I am encouraged and feel uplifted from that as well.
Most of all, though, he always comes home wanting to be connected more with ME! It is great. :-) I know that he has, as stated above, gotten his masculine needs met, so now he wants to focus on getting the “feminine” needs met as well.
It does get long, sometimes. And since having a child added to the family, it’s a little less “relaxing” than before, so I am usually a bit more anxious for him to return than before so I can once again have a parenting partner. But overall, I get to spend time with friends (often other “widows”) and family, maybe do some things that Pret wouldn’t be interested in, watch some TV that he doesn’t care about, and (true confessions here–shhh, don’t tell him…) leave more dishes in the sink and clothes on the bed than when he’s not around!
So, the benefits are mutual. Although I am bummed that I probably won’t get to communicate with him much in the next 72 hours, I know the time I will get will be precious, and Lilly and I will both be anxiously singing “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home” on Sunday night! Now I hope I will be able to get to sleep soon!
And my prayers and hope for Pret and the men he serves are that they will find greater insight for themselves, connection to men, connection to God, and a brighter HOPE for the future!