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In part one of this blog series, we discussed what to consider when trying to decide if staying is best for you and your marriage when dealing with difficult or abusive situations.
However, in our blog today we will be discussing what your next step might be if staying where you are is not healthy or will not lead your marriage forward. That being said we will look into what it means for a couple to separate and the best way to go about it, which can lead to the best end result for your marriage.
Often times when people think about the idea of separating from their spouse, there is this feeling that it means they are giving up on the other person. However, while separating can lead to divorce, this is not always the case.
Separation can actually be a very healthy step for bringing healing to a marriage.
Some of the reasons that separation can be helpful are that it can:
- Provide an environment for boundaries to be established.
- Allow space for healing, reflection, clarity of thought and a reconstruction of self-identity.
- A way to be taken seriously in your concerns.
- Create safety for one or both of the parties who may be in harm’s way emotionally, mentally, or physically
- Give an opportunity for seeking professional help.
Dr. David Hawkins says that “there has to be a breakdown before there is a breakthrough”. Depending on the severity of the marital issues going on, there often needs to be a breakdown in one or both of the parties involved in order for a real breakthrough to occur, separation is one way to provide the space for this to happen.
Some reasons that a couple may choose to separate for a time include:
2. Abuse mentally, emotionally, or physically
5.One partner taking advantage of the other person financially, socially, etc.
These are all reasons that separation may be a helpful and necessary option when working through these problems. The most recommended form of separation is called “controlled separation” this means that both parties agree to what is happening and create terms of agreement to follow during the separation period.
This allows for a sense of security in the marriage despite the lack of cohabitation.
Some key points to consider when creating an agreement plan for separation are:
- Defining a beginning and end time for the separation.
- Clarifying the reason for the separation.
- Deciding and explaining what types of expert help will be sought out.
- Logistical and financial concerns.
- Agreeing on how the situation will be shared or explained with friends, family, co-workers, etc.
- Postponement on divorce from either side while still reserving the right to attain understanding through legal advice.
There may be many other items that a couple will want to add to this agreement but these are just a few of the major points that should be considered. In order to make the separation as safe and congenial as possible, the agreement should be written up and signed by both parties so that the terms are understood.
Separation should not be used as a time to seek revenge, fulfill personal fantasies, blame, shame, or anger.
Rather it should be used with the purpose of leading to a restored marriage or an amicable divorce. No matter how it ends, the couple should be aware that a time of separation will lead to questions of “what is next?” or “where do we go from here?”, so keep these questions in mind if you choose to move forward in separation.
If you are unsure of what your next step should be or whether or not separation is the right move for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with me at on my calendar found HERE. I would love to help you process through what the best choice is for you.