Impact Family Admin
The old adage, "distance makes the heart grow fonder" can be true. A separation can be a fruitful time for making the marriage healthy again.
Making a choice to separate does not in any way have to mean that divorce is inevitable. Separation can actually be a helpful tool to getting you back on track. But, you need to establish some clear rules for this time if you want to set yourselves up for reconciliation. Use these tips to make your time of separation productive.
John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Tip #1: Agree on your final destination
The only way separation will be helpful is if you both agree on where you're trying to go. As a couple, you need to decide what you hope to get from a time of separation. Hopefully, you both agree that the ultimate goal is to save the marriage. So, the time of separation is meant to give each other some space to work on the individual things so you are ready to talk about the marriage down the line.
[Related Topic: Hope for reconciliation]
Tip #2: Tell you spouse how they can earn your trust back
Trust has to be at the foundation of a healthy marriage. Whatever the reasons why your marriage is in trouble, you need to identify where trust has been broken and tell your spouse what they need to do to earn it back. So, if your spouse had an affair, talk about the specific things you need to see from them to know that they are done with the other relationship. If your spouse was emotionally absent from the marriage, tell them what they need to do to show you that they care. The more specific you can be, the better. Trust is a measurable thing. You will know if you can trust your spouse when you see them doing things that you've asked them to do.
[Related Series: How to earn trust back]
Tip #3: Agree on appropriate boundaries
This can be tough but it's very important to establish the rules of engagement during separation. Likely, you both are feeling vulnerable and hurt so one or both of you aren't ready to act like everything can go back to normal. Discuss how often you feel comfortable talking to one another. Is is over the phone, through email, or can you go to dinner once a week? Will you be affectionate with one another or is that totally off the table for now. Boundaries are unique to every couple and every situation that led to the separation. The point is to agree on boundaries that you both can feel comfortable with and doesn't put either of you in a compromising position.
Tip #4: Seek individual counseling
Separation is a great time to work on yourselves. Identify the things in your own life that contributed to the marital problems and work on getting healthy in those areas. As you get healthy, individually, you will have a better perspective on how to come back to the marriage in a productive way. Forcing marriage counseling too early will only make the situation worse. Take the time to work on the individual stuff, first, and come together for marriage counseling when you both feel ready.
Watch and Discuss:
1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
3. Why are you considering separation or why did you decide to separate?
4. Read John 10:10. Identify the areas where your marriage is totally broken. How can those areas be redeemed with God's help?
5. Which of the 4 tips is the most important to you right now? Explain.
6. What issues do you need to work on in individual counseling? What would you say for your spouse?
7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
We tend to categorize things in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, and biblical and unbiblical, but I think some things aren’t always so clear. James 3:2 tells us that we all stumble in many ways.
There is no perfect marriage or perfect spouse. All marriages will experience hurt and heartache. But there are marriages that are more than disappointing or difficult, they are damaging and destructive.
As biblical counselors, we must be prepared to wisely counsel those who are in destructive marriages. Part of our preparation is to wrestle through whether or not we believe God’s word allows separation and, if so, when. Read Full Article
Proverbs 9:7 NIV
Proverbs 27:5-6 NIV
Matthew 18:15-19 NIV - Jesus' Teaching on Confrontation, Correction, Separation, & Discipline Through Prayer (Handing over to Satan)
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Separation).
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[ bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
1 Corinthians 5:1-6 NIV - Apostle Paul's instructions to Church of Corinth on how to apply Jesus' teaching on Discipline as taught in Matthew 18:15-19
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
Matthew 5:31-32 ESV
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Matthew 19:9 ESV
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Romans 7:2-3 ESV
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
Good reasons to separate:
- Fatigue – The spouse who wants to leave feels that he/she cannot take it any longer. The browbeating, arguing, accusations, criticisms, and nonstop drama eat into the individual to the point that he/she primarily thinks of escaping the relationship rather than healing it.
- Fear – The spouse who seeks to leave does so because he/she fears for the emotional, physical, or spiritual safety of self or children.
Bad reason to separate:
- Facilitation – The spouse who wants to leave desires separation to make it easier to pursue a relationship with someone else or a lifestyle that the current marriage prohibits.
Learn more about good reasons to separate by reading this article "When Should a Married Couple Separate?"
#7 A Message of Hope to the HusbandsHusband's remember you already possess the power to initiate and sustain love. Bible declares for Christian husband's
". ..for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
As you act on the Spiritual muscle you already possess those muscles will get stronger. Don't wait as the captain of the team for your wife to initiate and maintain forgiveness, love, humility, and affection on a daily basis. You do it and recreate a new atmosphere in your home.
If you want her to follow you, you must take the lead on all levels: spiritual, emotional, relational, and financial. You have to give until she heals and forgives and begins to reciprocate back. She will becuase your wife loves you and wants to be your life partner in all things.
Initiate daily healing by faith.