Can Separation Save a Marriage?Sometimes when spouses are facing difficult decisions in their marriage, they may contemplate the idea of transitory separation. The need for some space, the need to get away from behavior that’s making them upset, or simply the need of a break from the marriage to collect their emotions and thoughts could be reasons for a possible separation.
Yet this raises a crucial question: Can separating save a marriage that is struggling?
The answer can be yes if done correctly. More damage can occur if it is not done correctly.
Therefore, how does a couple separate the “right way?” Moreover, how does it actually help?
How a Separation, the Right Way Can, Help Save A Marriage
It’s important to first look and understand the real intention of separating. It should not be a speedy or a careless decision; it’s supposed to be a last-ditch effort. The attempt at getting things on the mend when you may feel like you’ve got no more options.
When you and your spouse separate, you are supposed to understand and get a taste of what life would be without them. It’s supposed to be a chance to reconsider the marriage and get some new perspectives on the way you feel.
What does a separation done correctly look like with guiding principles established?
First off, you must establish guidelines (that you both agree upon) and adhere to them. If the separation is going to lead to some positive changes, establishing ground rules is key.
Some of the most important are:
Try Living Like You Are Divorced Already.
If the main intent of separation is to show you what life could be like without your spouse, you then NEED to live as if you were already divorced.
Splitting up finances (don’t close your accounts just yet but split up your money as if you were), splitting up and sharing custody of your kids, and even staying in separate places, all are things you need to do if you try living like you are already divorced. You need to really get the sense of being apart.
Falling back into old behaviors will only give you a false sense of what splitting up will be like. Even worse, giving yourself some of the “advantages” of marriage without the responsibilities.
Immediately set a time limit if you and your spouse choose to separate. The time apart from each other should be no more than six months, and when you have kids,probably shouldn’t be any longer than three months.
Beginning this time frame helps you fixate on the real reason for the separation – to work on and enhance your marriage. If separation occurs with no clear end in sight, you and your spouse can drift apart instead of putting in the effort to adjust and meet a self-imposed “time frame” for sorting out matters.
Do Not Have a Change of Rules
Okay yes one of the rules is about the rules themselves!
At this point, if you start to miss one another, awesome! Do not adjust the rules in any way, shape, or form. If you struggle to get your kids where they need to or to make appointments, good. Do not change a thing, especially the rules.
Things are bound to get rough, and when they do, this is your chance to learn. Changing the rules won’t make anything easier for yourself, instead look for the lesson in the struggle.
The point of separating is to experience life without a partner, and if it’s tougher than you anticipated, that’s a pretty strong sign that splitting up with your spouse isn’t the best idea.
The guideless you laid for your separation were put into place for a reason. If you change the rules halfway through, you risk undoing the lessons you were learning. Progress may even die right in its tracks.
No one really likes to talk about this since it’s a bit of a touchy subject, due to the fact that many couples may separate because one of them is seeing someone else, but if it can be avoided, it should be! It’s hard to work on one relationship if you’re start to develop feelings for another.
In the interest of complete disclosure, some couples may actually get back together after dating other people. It can help them appreciate what they may have been taking for granted, and how bad the “dating world” can be. This is NOT the normal recommended approach, but hey it does work for some people. You and your spouse just need to find out what works for you.
Get to Work on it
Lastly, the most important rule of all. Despite what ground rules you set, regardless of what time frame you established, and no matter what your problems might be, nothing will change if you do not put some work into it.
What does this entail? It means working on the relationship and yourself, with the notion that it will be different for everyone. Life most likely seems really aggravating if you have gotten to the point of separating with your spouse. However, this can be your opportunity to set a new course.
It can also be minor things that might not have been central to the issues in your marriage yet, are “problem areas” for you. This could be: spending more time on passion, getting into shape, or getting rid of a bad habit, etc.
The goal is to be the best version of yourself, being a compromised version of yourself will prevent you from being a better spouse. When you are assured of yourself and satisfied with your pursuits, you will have so much more to offer another person in terms of support and connection.
If you don’t work on the things that caused you to separate, then the whole thing is for nothing.
Remember the real reasons for separation. Make sure you and spouse are going about it in a way so that growth and positive change take place.
The goals of separating to avoid a divorcee should be to: get to that therapist’s office, set boundaries, and enjoy the alone time. Lastly give your separation a time frame
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Contact us at the Mediation & Family Counseling Group at 1-888-281-2725 so we can help you take the next steps in saving your marriage.
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