Can a Temporary Separation Make a Relationship Stronger?

“Do you think we should separate” is a question I frequently get asked during early marriage counseling sessions. Most frequently, couples who are tired of what feels like constant strife ask this question. They desperately need a break and are unsure whether being away will make things less tense.

It’s never an easy choice to decide whether a couple should end their relationship. When it comes to coexisting peacefully after experiencing hostile circumstances, there are two sides to the coin. The first is that a breakup may in fact provide each person space to calm down, shift their focus from emotionally charged thinking to rational decision-making. Each spouse could benefit from some alone time to consider their own shortcomings in the marriage and what they could do.

As a result of feeling relieved, one or both partners may mistakenly believe that divorce is the only option available to help put an end to the lunacy. On the other hand, a separation may merely serve to increase the distance between the couple. In this situation, separating can be a quick method to end a relationship and prevent partners from putting in the effort necessary to resolve their problems.

The Prevention of Separation

Here are three actions a couple that is having a lot of conflict and frustration in their marriage should take before deciding to separate.

1. Third-party intervention

Finding a seasoned therapist with experience working with troubled marriages should be your first move. You can learn how to deal with important concerns, deal with emotional suffering, and start the process of reconnecting with the proper counselor. It is quite challenging to see answers to our relationship problems when we are battling it out in the trenches. At that point, an unbiased, nonjudgmental counselor can assist you in sorting through the clutter and begin constructing a safe sanctuary.

2. Practice the fruit of the spirit

I always emphasized to couples the necessity “to be gentle with one another” when they decide to work on their relationship, especially in the beginning when the partnership is not stable. When a marriage is recovering, it is crucial to act with kindness and patience in order to foster an atmosphere where resentment can fade and love can reemerge. Galatians 5:22–23 is an excellent illustration of the kind of behavior that spouses should model for one another.

A change in attitude is necessary to alter the course of a failing marriage. It entails moving past the shortcomings that have, for far too long, served as the foundation of your marriage and instead seeking to identify and appreciate the many gifts that exist in your union and in your personal life.

3. Consider your legacy

You probably didn’t consider divorce as a backup plan when you got married. No, you most likely believed you had begun a journey that would last the rest of your life because you took the vow of “now and forever” extremely seriously. However, your marriage isn’t exactly living up to your expectations, so maybe it’s time to leave the stage.

But is that the tarnish you truly want to sport? that your relationship was unsuccessful? What happens if you have kids? Do you want children to think that marriage isn’t a lifetime commitment, but rather something you can end the day you decide you’re not pleased with?

Or maybe you want to try everything you can to save your marriage so that one day when your adult child comes to you and says their marriage is having problems, you can show them what perseverance and hard effort can accomplish in saving a marriage.

Separation is the best option on occasion.

It should be noted that there is one situation—when one partner is a victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse—in which separation should be supported. A separation is necessary while the abusive partner obtains the support he or she requires to quit their abusive behaviors since no one should have to live in those conditions.