A real-life situation
“John and Katie have been unhappily married for ten years living with endless anxiety and apprehensions.
After many years of marriage and raising kids, John found himself thinking that he is not happy with his marriage. He was burdened with trust issues, lack of communication and intimacy problems plaguing their marriage.
John told his wife that he wanted a separation. His wife agreed and they both decided to take a six-month break from their marriage.”
Many factors can cause a breakdown in your marriage. But, you can save your marriage before you end up in court for a divorce.
But, ‘should we separate or not?’ Well! The separation appears to be a practical option for many. This presents a chance to think about vital issues that are causing the turmoil in your marriage.
But before everything is lost, you need to try and save your marriage, one last time. After all, divorce can never be the one and only option to escape marital issues.
Can a separation save a marriage?
There are three main reasons to separate from a spouse.
Firstly, it is a step in the divorce process. Most couples just know their marriage won’t last and use separation to give themselves time before the divorce. Sometimes, couples separate to gain perspective on their marriage, (like John and Katie).
Separation can help to enhance your relationship with your partner and save your marriage, eventually.
Deciding to separate from spouse is not easy. Couples who decide to separate are mostly viewed by outsiders as those who’ve reached a breaking point in their relationship.
Perhaps, they’ve tried various other tactics and interventions to help their marriage, but nothing may have worked for them. So eventually, they split up and ultimately, divorce.
Then why do couples separate but not divorce? There’s another side to this, after all. Couples hardly ever stop to evaluate the therapeutic value of separation. In fact, if done in the right way (and for the right reasons) with clear agreements at the start, it can not only save your marriage but enhance it too.
In order to achieve the end goal (separating to save or improve your marriage), you need to ensure that a few things are in place before you take the plunge.
Here are a few pointers or marital separation tips that can help –
This may be different for every couple, but 6 to 8 months of separation time is largely considered ideal.
A major drawback of an extended marital separation is that it can often lead both partners in getting too comfortable with their new lifestyles, leading them to believe that their differences can’t be worked out or that they are much better off this way.
That is why setting clear and reasonable expectation is of supreme importance. By setting the duration for your separation, you mutually agree that this is the time period you both need to resolve your differences.
If left undecided, new issues may crop up that can lead to more disharmony. Does separation work to save a marriage? Well! There are times when extended separation completely severs all ties between the couples.
So, if you have to save your marriage from divorce, you should reconsider the duration of your marriage separation before stepping out of your door.
How to save marriage during separation? Discussing with your partner is always the best way to go about separation and resolve matters together as a team.
Never assure that you both are on the same page. Discuss and agree that you are both doing this to resolve your matters and enhance your marriage.
For example –
If one of the partners wants to save the marriage, but the other thinks that this is the just beginning of the divorce process, then this can lead to major trust issues. That is why discussing this matter in advance is vital in order to make this a successful exercise.
After deciding that you both want to work on your issues by going ahead with separation to save a marriage, discuss how you will communicate with each other during this period.
Having no contact at all will obviously serve no purpose in attaining the end goal. Decide on the frequency of your interactions well before. If one partner wishes to talk everyday, but the other wants it to be a weekly affair, then a mutual decision must be made.
If you wish to save your marriage, you have to come down to a mutual agreement on this temporary separation phase.
Should you separate before divorce? Should you stop seeing each other post-separation?
Well! A separation does not entail that you discontinue dating each other. Decide how often you will meet and spend time with each other.
Go on dinner dates and reconnect emotionally with your spouse. Use this time to discuss how to resolve matters that are causing the turmoil in the relationship. Discover new solutions that you can bring into your marriage.
Instead of physical intimacy, focus your attention on your emotional bonding and try nurturing it. This might help you to save your marriage from divorce.
Separations can be a disturbing time for your kids, so adopt ways that will help you co-parent effectively. Answer your children’s questions together and make sure that you control your negative responses (such as anger, name-calling, etc.) in front of them.
6. Third-party Support
Seeking out a third party, such as a therapist, clergy or mediator (family member or friend), can facilitate the process of resolving your issues.
It is highly recommended that you seek some form of help during the separation process to save your marriage from divorce.
When we feel that our spouse is slipping away from us, our natural reaction is to get closer to them and do whatever it takes to save the marriage. The thought of separation, or creating distance at such a time, instills a feeling of panic, fear, doubt and a great deal of worry as well.
Exercising such an option can be especially challenging when the bond is fragile or the relationship has drastically weakened.
But by employing care and skill (usually with the assistance of a professional), separation CAN be quite effective in bringing two people closer together. In fact, saving your marriage after separation will get much easier.
Bear in mind that this tool is not for those who don’t intend to stay with their partners. The worse thing you can do to them is pretend you’re interested in working things out.
After their separation, John and Katie were successfully able to unite again and make their marriage stronger.
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.