Can a marriage be saved after separation? The odds are against it.
Of course, it depends on the ultimate goal of the separation. If you (or your spouse) is separating with the intention of having a ‘trial divorce’ to see how it goes, then the marriage is sure the fail.
If, however, the separation is a cool down period so both parties can work on themselves and the marriage, it’s possible to make it work. But it’s still hard work.
There seems to be something about separating that makes it easier to quit. It may be necessary at times to take time away, but make sure you have a plan, AND you have clear expectations and goals for the separation.
In This Article
- How it Can Hurt the Relationship
- Separation can do more damage to yourrelationship if it is not handled properly.
- How it Might Help the Relationship
- Potential Dangers
- Practical Steps To Heal The Marriage
- Wrap Up
In this article I’ll address four important issues concerning marriage separation:
1. How Separation Can Hurt Your Relationship
2. How Separation Might Help Your Relationship
3. Potential Dangers of Separation
4. Practical Steps to Heal the Marriage
Before we get started, I write about marriage restoration and relationship issues, If you want to get my latest articles, click the link and join the list to get the most up-to-date information and research on building great relationships. Join here.
How it Can Hurt the Relationship
Many counselors actually request that their clients separate to solve marriage problems. Others, however, find the advice unhealthy.
In this short video, Dr. Lee Baucom explains why he believes there is a better solution than separation.
Compliments of Dr Lee Baucom
Separation can do more damage to your
relationship if it is not handled properly.
There are many ways a separation could further damage your relationship. Here are four of the major reasons.
1. Distance could become more than physical.
There is a chance that the separation will cause you to drift further. That’s why you need a plan and make it temporary
2. The same issues are there when you return.
If you are not prepared to face them when you come back together, you’re separation didn’t accomplish anything
3. It can become a habit to ‘leave’ when things get tough
If not handled properly, leaving can become a habit when things get tough. It’s easy to create a habit of disconnecting and quitting. Don’t allow separation to become your ‘go to’ response when dealing with difficulties.
4. Separating can build insecurity in your spouse.
Face it. Insecurity seems to be woven into the fabric of our makeup. Even in men.
If not discussed and handled properly, separating can breed insecurity in your spouse. This is why open dialog is necessary if you separate. We have more information on how to talk about it, what to discuss, and why it’s important in our free guide, ‘Marriage Separation Checklist.’ Find out more at the end of this article.
How it Might Help the Relationship
There are dangers in separating. But sometimes the situation may require it. If your spouse demands a separation, don’t fight it (although you should discuss it). Here’s a few ways it could help.
1. Helps you catch your emotional breath.
There is probably a better way, but sometimes being apart can help us gather our emotions, sort through our feelings, and calm the inner conflict. It help us catch our emotional breath.
2. Gives you an opportunity to reflect and get your head around the real issues.
Marriage problems can feel like drowning. Most drowning victims panic, can’t think straight, and don’t know what to do. Fear take over and the body goes into panic mode. This keeps them from relaxing and working with the water, instead of against it.
The same happens in marriage conflict. Sometimes the intensity of the situation causes you to lose emotional balance. You can’t think straight. Fear causes you to make bad decisions. Things spiral out of control.
Instead of working with the marriage, everything within you fights against it.
Distance can help you slow down, relax and think through the issues.
A clear head is better than tormented emotions.
3. It can give you a break from the constant fighting.
Many couples need a break from the constant arguing. If all you do is fight, debate and argue, you need to take a ‘time out’ to collect your thoughts.
Fighting is a symptom, not a core issue. You fight because something is missing. Out of sorts. It is not ‘THE’ issue; it is result of the issue.
If you can slow down and find the core issue, you can move forward. If emotions are high, chances are you will not find a solution.
If separation is on the table, you marriage is already vulnerable. Take precautions to be aware of further risks.
The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
Loneliness can be suffocating. It forces you to make decisions against what is best for you.
The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.
There is no loneliness like that of a failed marriage.
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.
These quotes capture the ache that is attached to loneliness. The potential for danger is great when we feel alone.
The most direct path to marriage destruction is to mix your time apart with another person.
Keep in mind that for separation to work, it must be about the marriage. Not about finding someone new.
3. Failing to sort through the issues.
Not using your time to seek help and work on your marriage can be destructive to your relationship. The last think you want or need to happen is to be apart only to realize you failed to deal with you and the issues in your marriage.
Most marriage problems are the result of one (or both) parties feeling as if they were ignored, violated or sinned against. Forgiveness is key in turning things around.
What happens when we fail to forgive?
- The marriage can’t move forward.
- We hurt only ourselves.
Someone said unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die.
There May Be A Better Way…
Practical Steps To Heal The Marriage
You need to take some practical steps to make sure your marriage gets on the right track. Don’t allow the separation to move you further away. I have to be honest; this is the ‘norm.’ It’s rare that a long separation helps.
Put these things in place to make sure you are headed in the right direction.
1. Understand what the real issues are.
There are many expressions of marriage difficulties.
Some couples argue over money. Others sex. Some over lack of communication.
At the heart of these issues is a deeper issue.
Most problems are the result of…
- Unmet Needs
- Unfulfilled Expectations
- Unsatisfied Desires
Tap into these and you will discover what’s behind the issue you struggle with.
2. Get advice from someone who knows what they are doing
Social media is NOT the place to get marriage help.
Friends serve a purpose, but most people counsel you out of their own insecurities and failures.
Make sure you seek the advice of someone who can truly help you move forward.
3. Don’t give up.
It’s easy to throw in the towel. Especially when you are emotionally drained. Exhaustion has probably contributed to more divorces than most of the ‘issues.’
Taking time to recover emotionally is key to getting your marriage on the right track.
4. Make sure you approach separation with wisdom
Download our free ‘Marriage Separation Checklist’ before you or your spouse moves out.
If you put these suggestions in place, separation can be a part of the healing, and not just another step toward divorce.Download the Marriage Separation Checklist Here
Every couple has to come to terms with how a separation will affect their relationship. There are no easy answers.
The reason marriage problems are so painful is because we love so deeply. You cannot be hurt by someone you do not care about. The fact that marriage problems hurt is because we care. That’s a good sign.
I would love to hear from you.