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Tips for Wives Whose Husbands Are Incarcerated

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

A few beginning words

It is not easy being a two parent family. Life can be a struggle and when children are thrown into the mix, life may not always be that walk in the park you imagined. But what happens when life throws a wrench into the situation, like a husband being arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison? Life becomes a lot tougher and it takes a strong mother to weather the storm and be there for her kids as well as her husband.

Sometimes the support system just isn’t there, as one lady found out. Once it became known that her husband had been incarcerated, she lost the respect of her family and friends so she had to become a strong mother with little know how and guidance. She almost blew it but luckily she was able to make it through the troubled times and be there for her children.

That woman was a strong mother without a lot of help, but luckily not everyone needs to endure their husband’s incarceration without knowing how to be a strong mother.

Here are some tips on how you can make it through those trying times.

  1. Stay Regular—This means keep to your normal routine as much as possible. Look after yourself as if you don’t you will not be able to be a strong mother for your children. Keep being positive.
  2. Find a Confidant—These are going to be emotional times and you will need to have someone to talk to. Being a strong mother means you do not put an emotional strain on your children. Find a close friend, pastor or support group to lean on but you do not need to tell them more than you want.
  3. Learn the Rules—Each correction institution will have rules governing family relationships visits and so on. Talk to them and get that information so you know what to do and if you can bring your children to see their father.
  4. Recruit Allies—You cannot be with your children 24/7 so talk to trusted school staff or faculty and let them know the situation and let them keep a watchful eye on your children and have them notify you of any behavioral changes in your children. A Strong mother will be worried about how their children are handling their father’s imprisonment.
  5. Be Tough with Your Spouse—No this does not mean you nag him and hold his mistake over his head but set limits on visits, letters, phone calls. A strong mother will keep this under control as their children need to have as much of a normal life as possible while still staying in contact with their father.
  6. Work With Your Husband—Your children will follow your lead and if you keep him as the head of the family, involved in decision making and giving advice and just normal day to day activities, then your children will see him as their father still. Being in prison doesn’t end fatherhood. A strong mother will recognize the value of involving her husband in fathering their children even from behind bars.
  7. Resist Temptation—Women will receive help from kind single male friends or acquaintances and it will be tough to withstand that attention but thy must. A strong mother will keep the love for her husband alive and resist taking the new romantic easy way out of a tough situation. This tough stance will help the children to value their father as their mother does.
  8. Keep a Budget—You want to do the most for your husband but that may be a little too expensive for the little income you are bringing home. Set spending limits so that you do not run out of money for those things you and your children need.

Some final comments

These are 8 tips to help those wives who lost their husbands to imprisonment to become a strong mother capable of leading her family through these troubled waters. Women will need to get over their embarrassment and other emotional issues and accept the fact that their husbands are human and make stupid mistakes.

Then they need to pick up the leadership role where he left off and continue leading the family down the same path towards the same goals they had started when he was a free man. Being a strong mother means a woman doesn’t pack up and leave her husband behind when he is placed in prison but stays with him helping him survive his tough ordeal while she endures her own.

Giving up and quitting the marriage is not what a strong woman is all about.


© 2019 David Thiessen

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