50 percent of most marriages end in divorce; that’s the bitter truth. Couples with the hope to restore their marriages opt for separation to create space to evaluate whether to divorce or not. Marital separation is the initial step to divorce; partners should apply right skills to use it as a reconciliation tool. It takes two to tangle; both spouses must take initiative to have a fruitful separation and later a blissful marriage. What is the best way to handle marriage separation?
Have a common shared goal
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 to the surprised partner lengthening the healing process. Let your spouse understand your feelings and your need to take time off one another 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.
Your goals must include:
- The timeline for the marriage separation
- Responsibilities and role of each partner during the separation period
- The expectations of both parties to mend the marriage
Be respectful and kind
Separation results from unresolved differences, unwillingness to forgive one another, failure to take responsibility for your actions and poor communication. With all these hurt feelings, your unstable emotions prompt insults or bitter verbal utterances which enhance the emotional distance between the two of you. Take control of your emotions; allow reasoning to take center stage at this time. It explains the difference between maturity and immaturity in resolving your marriage conflicts.
Never pressurize your partner to take a decision
This is the “me time” ideal for self-evaluation and realization of the significance of your spouse in your life. The fear of uncertainty compels you to force your partner to unwillingly make a choice- it is detrimental. Just like you need time to take the broad step of breaking or making the marriage; allow your spouse to make an independent decision with no pressure. The personal verdict defines assessment of the situation and a permanent solution. Marriages with a cycle of separation do not give each other time to heal and make a decision- the fear and doubt of losing a marriage.
Seek the services of a marriage counselor
Commit to the decision to seek the services of a third party to help both of you in the healing process. Before them, you have closed and structured questions to give you direction of your marriage despite the separation. They also guide your thoughts towards the most appropriate direction after careful deliberations and assessment of the situation at hand.
You still hold to hurt feelings, forgiveness is not an option for you, yet, it is essential for marriage restoration. 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. Your unstable emotions do not warrant you to think straight and manage another relationship when you still have not offloaded your earlier burden. Enjoy the personal space and time by investing and 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 marital separation mix
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; you will not be able to handle the lifetime guilt.
Set boundaries and stick to them
There is a difference between marriage and separation; when you allow your spouse to enjoy all the rights of marriage like intimacy, they will never be in a hurry to sort things out. While drafting the goal, set boundaries and strictly adhere to them to the core.
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.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.