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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘prisoners wife’

No Sugar Required for Prisoner’s Wife/Partner

I often hear prisoners’ wives comparing themselves to military spouses. Early on, I too offered this analogy to help explain away the blank stares. In the context of: “My husband is incarcerated, but it’s no different than his being in the military.” Sure, there are similar tenets; partners are away from each other for extended periods; families must figure out how to raise kids, maintain a home, and create intimacy despite distance. Both relationships face difficulty with reintegration. That’s where the similarities end. For obvious reasons, prisoners’ wives do not receive the same respect as military wives and with another public distinction: military wives stand by their partners, prisoner’s wives wait.

When our partners come home, flags do not wave, TV cameras do not appear, and friends may not even call to say “Welcome Home.” Our partners’ homecoming comes with far less fanfare with some standing in line ready to brand our family—dishonorable.

Mary Poppins said it best, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Likening ourselves to a military partner tastes sweeter than admitting our actual situation. When we try to convince someone our relationship is [like] something else, it devalues the true definition of the relationship. Comparisons seek to offer explanations and justifications. The mere act of analyzation diminishes one side over the other.

The decision to remain in a relationship with someone incarcerated is far more than a function of the heart. We take in to account the offense and whether or not, it lines up with who we are spiritually and morally. We factor in the long-term effects of the tenure of the sentence. We ask ourselves if we have the mental fortitude to take on, not only the separation, but also the perceptions and criticisms we face. Once we conclude the relationship is worth the hardship, the relationship is valid—nothing else required. When we back peddle with the military comparison, we wear away at the legitimacy of our relationship, with each spoon full of sugar.

Respect comes when we stand our ground and exude pride by stepping in to our true skin. The validity of our lives is not in the likeness to another institution but in the unlikeness of it and in embracing the notion that our lives are different, not less—eliminating the need for sugar. [rft]

Do you use the military analogy?
Are you ready to stand in your truth?

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How to Be a Prisoner’s Wife/Partner

Keeping a relationship together under normal circumstances is hard work. Keeping a relationship together when your partner is incarcerated is harder. Most prison relationships fail. Partners who decide to honor their commitments do so with the best of intentions and do so knowing it will be an arduous task. The complexity of this type of relationship is not to be taken lightly, but with planning, conformity, and an acceptance of your new reality. Incarceration does not have to be a death sentence for your union.

Realize there is a stigma associated with your partner’s prison sentence; a stigma that might attach itself to you, if you let it.  It is not your job to make others feel ‘ok’ with the choices you have made in your life. What others think of you, quite frankly, is not your business. Your business is to proudly live your life. Stepping into the role of a prisoner’s wife/partner will be an enormous adjustment. Do not make this adjustment more difficult by hanging your head in shame.

You will experience a sense of loss when your partner leaves the home; allow yourself the time needed to adjust to your new circumstance. Surrounding yourself with a strong support system e.g. friends, ministries, and support groups will go a long away to keep you sane. Do not be afraid to ask for help. There will be days when you feel like you can’t carry on, but a good support system will help love you pass the pain.

Incarceration is not an inexpensive endeavor and these expenses will affect your monthly budget. Bills such as postage costs, calls, visitation expenses, packages, books etc. will add up — quick. Figure out your normal monthly budget. Figure out prison expenses; distinguish your wants versus needs and plan, plan, plan. Being prepared will help minimize financial strains.

Staying connected as a family is essential and facilitates your partner’s reintegration in to the family unit. A man in prison is still a man. Keep him as the head of the family. Ask his opinion. Make decisions together, no matter how trivial. Send him pictures of your environment – a changed hairstyle, rearranged furniture, new dress etc. No event is too small. Allow him to participate in discipline of the kids; to participate in their development. Share progress reports and report cards. Schedule calls during homework time. Ongoing familial attachments will go a long way to diminish your partner’s sense of isolation.

One of the biggest challenges for a prisoner’s wife/partner is keeping love alive. Your relationship is under new management and will require you to think outside the system. Intimate and honest communication has to be the foundation of your relationship. Letters and calls are dates; prepare for them, savor them. Each word, each action is an offering of the heart. Being a prisoner’s wife/partner will teach you the art of courtship; reminiscent of the days of nostalgic romance where a simple glance or slight touch unlocks the fantasies of your mind. Love is mental. Create rituals only the two of you share. Love is a commitment. Commit to having a boundless love, in spite of the boundaries.

Every situation in your life — no matter how bleak — has a silver lining but you will need to mature in to this process to see it clearly. Focus on the reasons you stay. Above all else, when facing a high failure rate, strive to be a part of the minority and take pride in saying to the world – “Not us, not our relationship!” [rft]

 

What are your secrets to beating the failure rate?

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Prisoner’s Wife Etiquette: #1 Thing You Should NEVER Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s cut to the chase. There is etiquette to everything, even in the prisoner’s wife lifestyle. There is a disturbing trend in our community of investigating one other, as in sleuthing out who, what, when, where, and why of crime committed by another woman’s man.

Here is a bit of etiquette more important than what fork goes with what meal. The #1 thing you should NEVER do: DO NOT Google the crime of a person’s husband/boyfriend/partner.

The rule should speak for itself but if a ‘why’ is needed I’ll comply.

You should never do this because:

  1. It’s not your business. The time it takes doing this takes away from time you can work in your own life.
  2. It discriminatory. There is no point to it unless you want to set yourself apart, i. e. You (or your guy) are better.
  3. It’s destructive. Of course, you won’t keep the intel to yourself. Nope, you gonna run tell everyone you know. Set off a gossip mill. Inevitably, hurting its target.
  4. We ask the world not to judge us. We must not judge each other.

Here’s another ‘why’. Ask yourself why you need to know?

We live in a world of nonstop information. Salacious details about others are fodder in times of boredom. Each week there is a new, more horrific crime reported.

Our community first and foremost is about the supporting the partner on the outside. People need to feel comfortable with what they say and who they say it to. Trust is paramount. We need to feel as if those who should understand how and what we feel–do.

When you violate a person’s trust and go beyond the information they want to share by digging into the life of their partner, it smacks of hypocrisy. And, doing this brings a certain mean girl-esque quality which destroys bonds. More importantly, it kills the power of us coming together for a common goal—to change perceptions.

In the new year, let’s resolve to treat each other with respect and quite frankly, mind our own business! Happy New Year!

Did you miss our show on Prisoner’s Wife Etiquette? Listen here.

What are some of your rules of etiquette?

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Top Two 2012 Resolutions for Prisoner’s Wife/Partner

I know, I know, resolutions. Seriously, people still do this? Well, yes. The top two resolutions most people make revolve around losing weight and money. Why should we be any different?

Here are the top two resolutions for prisoners’ wives/partners:

  1. Lose weight in your relationship – If you had a difficult year, suffered a few disappointments, or learned something hurtful. Its’ time to lose weight. Extra goo in your union is unhealthy. If you are still together, then you owe it to each other to not only lose the weight, but not regain it. This extra poundage will not only weigh the relationship down but eventually will affect your relationship health. If you still harbor feelings about what happened in 2011, you have approximately two days to hit the gym to lose what’s ailing you and start the new year with a zero on the relationship scale.
  2. Balance your relationship checkbook – We have a tendency to give and give and give and sacrifice and sacrifice and sacrifice. We are emotionally and sometimes financially overdrawn, trying to pay the hefty price of this relationship. You cannot continue to pay from an account that’s overdrawn. Eventually, the account must be closed which means a mental breakdown in your future. Balance your relationship checkbook. Decide what works and what doesn’t. Where are the deposits? Where are the withdrawals? Shift credits and deposits accordingly until you have more than enough to give.

For example:
Overcompensating – Withdrawal.
Stressed over things you can’t control – Withdrawal.
Paying for things can’t afford it – Withdrawal.
Living within your means – Deposit.
Communicating effectively – Deposit.
Supportive friends and family- Deposit.

By losing weight and balancing our checkbooks, we resolve to have  better relationships which ultimately will spill over to us becoming better people (we hope).

 

Happy New Year!

 

What are some of your relationship resolutions?

 

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Most Difficult Time of the Year for One Prisoner’s Wife

Two days before Christmas, before I showed up to my family’s holiday dinner without the invisible moniker of the last single daughter, two days before we announced our engagement, I witnessed my fiancé’s arrest. In those two days, I learned my fiancé wasn’t coming home anytime soon. Yet, Christmas came in spite of it. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was a prisoner’s wife walking. Unlike the wrapped holiday gifts under my tree, no amount of Scotch tape would hold together the pieces of my life.  Tears flowed, until finally it was a silent night.

The timing of my now husband’s arrest and subsequent incarceration changed the innocence of the holiday season. The glee of the season juxtaposed with my feelings of lost was a source of contention. In those two days, I lost who I thought I was as I promised never to be a woman with a man in prison. I constantly relived the events that landed my husband on the island of misfit boys, repeatedly punishing him for stealing Christmas then and twelve years to follow. His guilt, palpable. His apologies, sincere. Yet, no matter our state of mind the other 356 days, two days before Christmas was the most difficult time of the year.

Several years ago, two days before Christmas, he called. I’d prepared another fifteen minutes from hell. I intended to make him as miserable as I. I pressed five to receive the call. Before I said hello and with all the sarcasm I could muster, I shouted three little words, “Happy Arrest Day!” He laughed and replied with three words of his own, “Another year down.” In that moment, I realized I was the one robbing us of the joy of what two days before Christmas really meant. Time was moving. I needed his three words to appreciate the true meaning of a commitment. Our efforts were not in vain, but my personal perceptions threatened us. So busy forcing my wifehood into a box set of acceptable, I didn’t recognize my actions told my husband he was unacceptable. When I stopped judging our lives and gave myself the freedom to love outside of my conformity, it was indeed a happy arrest day.

The period from November to January is naturally difficult. Heaviness hangs in the halls of the prison this time of year. It’s the season of family. Our family is miles apart. We experience a measure of melancholy. In spite of this, we look forward to two days before Christmas with all the fa-la-la the rest of the world looks upon Christmas Day. We are another year closer to finally making it to that holiday dinner. Two days before Christmas, now eight years into this sentence, we celebrate our official “new year” as a reminder of how far we have come and how much we have grown. It’s a celebration that adds joy to our world and guarantees the pain of it all is not re-gifted year after year, two days before Christmas.

 

Are the holidays difficult for you? If so, why? Have you learned to accept your reality?

 

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Intimacy

Intimacy is a matter of the heart, not the anatomy. Tonight, we will discuss ways to connect thoroughly with your incarcerated partner. Think people with partners in prison can’t be intimate, think again!

Mrs. GE-6309 Talk Show

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Intimacy

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Mrs. GE-6309 Talk Show

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Intimacy

Intimacy is a matter of the heart, not the anatomy. Tonight, we will discuss ways to connect thoroughly with your incarcerated partner. Think people with partners in prison can’t be intimate, think again!

Mrs. GE-6309 Talk Show

Read More

Intimacy

Intimacy is a matter of the heart, not the anatomy. Tonight, we will discuss ways to connect thoroughly with your incarcerated partner. Think people with partners in prison can’t be intimate, think again!

Mrs. GE-6309 Talk Show

Read More

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Living your life when your partner is locked up means knowing what you can and can not control and making the most of it.

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