The notion of an enhancement separation, to some, may at first seem a little alien.
Separating with the intention of enhancing a marriage sounds counter-intuitive. After all, who says that when you separate that you won’t just move on instead of reigniting the spark that was there between you when you first said ‘I do.’
Well, enhancement separation is indeed a ‘thing,’ and it’s a valid and useful strategy for helping people to reconcile, improve their marriage and avoid divorce!
Leading therapist and best-selling author, Susan Pease Gadoua came up with this concept back in 2008 that has been helping couples find their way to overcome marital problems with enhancement separation.
There are usually three classic reasons why a married couple might separate
- As part of the divorce process
- To get some space and perspective on the marriage
- An enhancement separation; to enhance the marriage
Is an enhancement separation the right approach for your marriage?
Sometimes, couples cannot live happily or comfortably under the same roof; they might not always enjoy being tied to the family home 24/7.
You often hear about divorced couples who co-parent, and once they have adjusted to having some time alone, they relish in the space they have got. It allows them to be themselves and to suit themselves in whatever they choose to do with their time.
An enhancement separation provides similar benefits except you remain in love, married and committed to each other. You just get some time out of the marriage and learn to appreciate each other more.
Some people participate in an enhancement separation for a short period, while others might find a way to do so on a permanent basis.
You see, there’s nothing wrong if a married couple lives apart, even though socially that seems to be a strange thing to do.
The terms by which you work out your enhancement separation will need to be ironed out between you and your spouse and should be realistic and personal to you as a couple and your individual needs rather than taking a textbook approach to your enhancement separation. Such as :
- Care of the children.
- How you will spend time together and remain connected and intimate
- How you will work out the financial aspect of this lifestyle choice
Planning everything in advance is crucial
If you make sure that you are planning everything in advance you won’t walk into any marriage threatening problems during your enhancement separation.
Check out advice handed out frequently online on how to prepare for any kind of separation, it will cover most of what you’ll need to be aware of before your enhancement separation.
An enhancement separation doesn’t have to be completely formal though, you and your spouse might agree that one day per week each of you will go and stay with relatives or in a hotel or a separate apartment which is kept for this purpose and have one night per week of ‘you’ time.
While the other spouse maintains the family home and children. Other couples might choose to give each other one week off every couple of months whereby they go off on holiday for a week leaving the spouse and family behind.
You see, an enhancement separation can be any form of separating ‘permanently or not permanently without leaving the marriage, although it could become expensive and will be a luxury for some couples.
Determining the effectiveness of an enhancement separation
Here’s an example of some of the reasons why you might consider an enhancement separation.
- If you or your spouse have a distance between you that you are struggling to come back from, but both of you are still committed to making the marriage work.
- If one spouse is experiencing burnout, depression or stress and needs some time out.
- If there are children in your marriage, you could both occasionally benefit from taking some time out to keep things fresh and keep you both strong and committed.
- If you need time to think about the state of your marriage, note this could lead to permanent separation though.
- If you are both committed to each other but have very different interests or lifestyle choices.
In essence, if one or both spouses are feeling like they need a break and some time out, or if you have lost your spark and zest for life an enhancement separation might be the perfect solution for you.
Maintaining maintain trust and clear boundaries
Enhancement separations involve a little creative thinking as you figure out what type of lifestyle permanently or non permanently you would both like to create but anything is possible with an enhancement separation – as long as you maintain trust and clear boundaries.
Trust is the critical factor here if you or your spouse have difficulty in trusting each other, for good reason or not, then an enhancement separation might bring on additional problems and challenges to the marriage than you had already.
It’s crucial with an enhancement separation that you and your spouse trust each other and both work hard to maintain that trust otherwise it just won’t work out well for you at all.
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.