When you first got married you poured every ounce of your time and energy into caring for each other. Soup and sympathy accompanied sickness, love and support accompanied job stress. As time passed, you learned that your relationship could support added responsibilities, so you added children, pets and a house.
Your incredible children deserved the best and you worked tirelessly to provide for them. You blinked and were into your second decade of marriage. Now, your partner is just that: a partner. Someone you work with to maintain your family. Your exchanges are transactional and no longer loving.
No soup accompanies sickness, no support accompanies job stress. You’ve lost each other in a sea of responsibility. The good news is: what is lost can often be found.
If you’re coming to terms with a struggling marriage, divorce has likely crossed your mind. Before that train of thought begins racing down the track, it’s important to consider your options. If not used solely as a means to an end, separation can save a marriage by giving perspective and possibly even a new appreciation for each other.
How separation can lead you back to a healthy marriage
- Don’t delay. When you start having these thoughts about divorce or separation, find the right time and place to share your feelings while being sensitive of theirs.
- Set goals.If you would like to use separation to enhance your marriage, say so. Hopefully, your partner has the same goal.
- Communicate. Set all ground rules such as how often will you talk, what the schedule with the children will be like, what you’ll say to your friends and family, etc.
- Get help. If you both have the same goal to separate in order to enhance your marriage, a great marriage counselor can be wildly helpful.
- Exchange responsibilities. If you’re like many couples, too many other responsibilities have gotten in the way of your ability to focus on yourself and each other. While it’s important to maintain routine and stability for your children, examine your schedule for efficiencies. In exchange for time with friends or family, alternate planning a weekly date night. Retrain your focus on each other.
Contrary to popular belief, separation is not always a stepping stone to divorce. With careful attention and full participation in the process, separation can lead you back to your roots.