There’s no denying that special occasions that occur while you are on a trial separation can be awkward, to say the least. One of the special occasions that is sometimes the most confusing is the anniversary. You can be unsure as to how you are supposed to acknowledge it. On the one hand, many wives see it as an opportunity. What better day to try to do or say something to get your husband back? But most know that this plan is not without risk. If you do or say the wrong thing, you’ve done so on a day that is sort of sacred.
Someone might describe this dilemma: “My husband and I have been separated for about four months. It was his decision to separate. Everyone who knows us knows that I didn’t want the separation and that I am pretty miserable now. Many of our family members are supportive of me. I am close to my husband’s family. I am not going to stop communicating with them just because my husband is confused right now. That would be cruel and too much to ask of me. Our 15 year anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. My mother-in-law has insisted on having a gathering for us at her home. I have expressed concerns that it might be awkward considering the separation. But she insists on doing this. She says that she loves us and that she wants us to be together as a family. Apparently, my husband has agreed to this. My mother-in-law has told me that she is going to ask me to say a few words before dinner and that I should use the opportunity to say something to try to get my husband back. I know that she wants us back together, but I’m worried that my husband might not appreciate this plan. I don’t mind saying a few words, but I’m not sure what to say. And I am not sure how my husband is going to react to this. What words should I say during my separation to get my husband back?”
Respecting The Occasion While Not Adding Pressure: This situation is potentially tricky. I suspect that it’s unrealistic to think that you can just refuse to say anything or pretend that it is not your anniversary. Everyone knows that it is – as evidenced by your mother-in-law’s plans. And it would be a shame to not acknowledge being together for so long – even though you’ve hit some rough patches lately.
At the same time, I think that it might be a mistake to put so much pressure on the situation. In my experience, a reconciliation often does not happen because someone said a few words over the course of one day or on one occasion. Instead, it comes over a series of occasions and it’s a gradual process.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t say something moving and heart-felt. But I think that it’s a mistake (and it could be setting up an awkward exchange) if you and your mother-in-law assume that there are some magic words that are going to lead to reconciliation.
Saying Something True, But Safe: I would suggest just trying to make the day a happy occasion where a family gathers to spend time together. That is certainly cause for celebration. Things may not be going exactly how you want them to. But still, you are all healthy and you will all be together. Not every one has that luxury.
When it is time to say a few words, I would suggest keeping things positive, but simple. How about “I feel very lucky to be here with all of you. I love this family and I hope that we all have many more celebrations to come. Thank you for being here with me today.”
You haven’t said anything that could be offensive or awkward. And you’ve made it clear that not only do you appreciate your mother-in-law’s thoughtfulness, but you love your husband, you love his family, and you hope that you will all join together again next year. You’re not coming right out and saying it, but your words make it obvious that you’re hoping for a reconciliation. And at the same time, if your husband isn’t ready to hear this, the words could be taken in another way also.
Yes, you’re playing it a little safe, but you’re also trying to ensure that every one enjoys themselves on a day that should remain special and free of awkwardness. You’re also hopefully laying a foundation of better days to come.