Have you ever heard the quote, “Don’t give up before the miracle”?
Well marriage is the same thing. Don’t give up on your marriage before it starts. Work on it. Separation is a topic that married couples talk about and even demonstrate. Some perception is that separation is just the prerequisite for divorce, which it is not. It can very well be therapeutic for the couple and the family. It order for it to be therapeutic, the couple has to know the purpose of separation, what are the rules of separation, and above all know when to end it and return to each other.
Purpose of separation
The purpose of separation between to married individuals is to take a mental and emotional break from each other because the dynamics of the marriage have become too toxic. The key here is ‘break’ and ‘toxic’. When the human body is sick and full of toxins, the body no longer functions at ease. The body is at ‘dis-ease’, hence the word disease. The body has to rest.
The body cannot continue to do what is was doing if the body wants to heal. The body needs rest. When a marriage no longer has the dynamic of ease, a ‘break’ maybe necessary. Continuing at the current rate is not going to improve the relationship. It will just add insult to injury. When both parties realize a separation is needed, next is agreeing to the rules.
Rules of separation
When a person gets their driver’s license, they have to obey the laws of the road. If the individual chooses not to follow the rules of the highway, he or she would be reminded by their friendly local justice department which may include a fine. So what are the rules of separation?
The rules of separation are created and agreed upon by the individuals within the marriage. Is there a golden standard? The answer is no. For example, the couple agrees that they will not contact each other for two weeks during the separation. However, when dealing with their kids, as the couple they may have to continue to talk to each other on matters such as taking the kids to the school, daily routines and more.
If the couple are unable to agree on the rules of separation, it will become a major barrier for them. But hope is not lost. Contacting a local marriage therapist can assist with this process. However, this is presented in the beginning of creating and agreeing on the rules. A marriage therapist or clergy or neutral individual is default if the rules of separation cannot be agreed upon. An element to assist the process of agreement is remembering what the purpose of separation is. It is not to end the marriage, it’s a psychological and emotional break to regroup. Regroup or returning to the marriage is a rule as well.
This happens when the two individuals in the marriage decide to return to each other. Don’t think that everything is hunky-dory. Just because the two have separated doesn’t mean that all is well. What have we resolved? What effort did we engage in to resolve the main issue that led to the separation? If nothing changes, nothing changes. The couple has to put in effort during the separation to work on each other individually and as a team.
Separation in a marriage is an option. It is not a rule of thumb. Separation can be done under one roof constructively or as agreed upon by the couple (for a fixed period of time). Separation is still a time to work through the martial issues, not to put them on the back burner and practice ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ philosophy. By choosing such a philosophy, two people within the marriage will never be able to come closer together. As the couple works through this point in the marriage, they would have developed a skill and demonstrated teamwork.
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.
More by Henry Pittman