According to a study, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; that’s the bitter truth. Couples with the hope of restoring their marriages opt for separation to create space to evaluate whether to divorce or not.
Separation in marriage is a scenario wherein a married couple stops living together without getting a divorce.
What is marital separation?
Marital separation can be the initial step to divorce; unless partners apply the right skills to use it as a reconciliation tool.
Marital separation of spouses can be done both informally or through a legal separation by filing for a separation agreement in court.
When dealing with a separation in a marriage, both spouses must take the initiative to have a fruitful separation that can lead later to a blissful marriage.
How to handle a separation of marriage? And what is the best way to handle marriage separation?
To help you in dealing with a separation from your spouse, we have listed some essential dos and don’ts of separation to ensure that you can use your marriage separation as a tool to get back together and enhance your marriage.
Have a common shared goal
When handling separation, be in agreement with your spouse as to why you have to make a decision to separate.
A blind separation is difficult to mend, and leaves hurt feelings between the partners, lengthening the healing process.
Let your spouse understand your feelings and your need to take time off from your marriage for the benefit of both of you and the children.
The ample space and time give room to make a sober decision without the influence of your partner.
One gets the opportunity to reflect and run a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on the marriage goals.
However, to ensure that you have a productive marriage separation, you must also clarify a set of marriage separation goals.
Your marriage separation goals must include:
The timeline for the marriage separation
Responsibilities and role of each partner during the separation period
Constraints and rules both spouses will follow during separation time
Separation can have roots in unresolved differences, unwillingness to forgive one another, failure to take responsibility for your actions, and poor communication.
With all these hurt feelings, your emotions can prompt insults or bitter verbal utterances that augments the emotional distance between the two of you.
Take control of your emotions; allow reasoning to take center stage at this time.
Being respectful and kind during your separation will play a major role in reconciling your marriage and would also ensure that your kids are protected from being emotionally scarred.
Never pressurize your partner
This is the “me time” ideal for self-evaluation and realization of the significance of your spouse in your life.
However, separation brings with itself the fear of uncertainty. This fear compels partners to force each other to unwillingly make a choice, which is detrimental to any relationship.
Just like you need time to take the broad step of breaking or making the marriage, allow your spouse to make independent decisions with no pressure.
The personal verdict defines the assessment of the situation and a permanent solution.
Seek a marriage counselor
Marriage counseling is a form of psychotherapy that aids couples in identifying conflicts and resolving them in order to improve their relationship. It sounds like something that a couple in separation can take advantage of.
Commit to the decision to seek the services of a professional third party to help both of you in the healing process.
You must realize that by opting for a marriage counselor, you are able to access a variety of structured techniques to give your relationship a direction despite the separation.
They also help you execute on the most appropriate direction after careful deliberations and assessment of the situation at hand.
If you still hold to hurt feelings, forgiveness is not an option for you, yet, it is essential for marriage restoration. Counseling can be helpful with finding forgiveness too.
Marriage counseling comes in handy as a therapeutic measure for relief to move on with life without affecting your health.
Avoid a rebound relationship
Never opt for another relationship before you officially divorce your husband or wife.
Enjoy the personal space and time by investing in grooming yourself. If you have kids, then it is the time to give them all the attention now that you play the role of both a mother and a father.
Don’t drag the kids into the mix
A separation or divorce can have a disastrous impact on a kid’s life. Separation can be a painful process for your children that can lead to internalized and external problems.
Research indicates that parental divorce/separation is associated with an increased risk for child and adolescent adjustment problems, including academic difficulties (e.g., lower grades and school dropout), disruptive behaviors (e.g., conduct and substance use problems), and depressed mood.
Children are innocent; they are not a party to your conflicts. Inform them of what to expect without getting into finer details unless they are of age.
Never talk ill of your spouse around them; as it will only have a negative effect on your children and they will feel guilty and confused around their loyalties to both parents.
Set boundaries and stick to them
There is a difference between marriage and separation. If you allow your spouse to enjoy all the rights of marriage like intimacy, they might not be in a hurry to sort things out.
While drafting the goal, set boundaries, and strictly adhere to them.
Communication is paramount both in marriage or separation.
Let your communication channels be open at whatever time to prevent suspicion. It is the right tool to open up and speak about your hurt feelings, center your talk in a professional manner lest you avoid the issues, and start “dating.”
Couples who opt for marital separation must have an open mind on the direction of the marriage.
The success of the dos and don’ts in handling marriage separation means you have the possibility of marriage restoration while its failure means you are headed for a divorce.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.