Save Your Marriage While Separated
If you’re committed to salvaging your marriage during this trying period, here are strategies that can show you how to save your marriage while separated.
Marriage separation can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage by divorce.
Coach Lee is here to help you navigate through these turbulent waters and potentially rebuild a stronger bond with your spouse in order to bring a reunion of you and your spouse.
Strategies for Saving Your Marriage During Separation
The following strategies are often helpful when there has been a marital separation or there are plans for it to occur.
Some of these strategies take time to achieve rather than happening in one conversation or immediately.
Because divorce usually isn’t something that happens right away, you should have time to implement some of these or make solid progress that can still be helpful to your situation even if not fully completed.
Reduce Physical Distance
Minimizing the physical distance between you and your spouse can play a pivotal role in saving your marriage during separation.
Staying in the same house or nearby facilitates easier and more organic interactions.
So if you two are still phsyically in the same residence but are planning for one of you to move out, I encourage you to reconsider.
The reason for that is because when a married couple is having intense difficulty, living separately can be quite the relief.
While that may sound like a good thing, it often removes motivation to end the separation.
It also allows the person to have a sample of what they think a divorce would feel like.
This can not only make the divorce seem more appealing and easier, but it can make them even more vulnerable to enter into another relationship or to intensify the one they are in if they were already having an affair.
Being in close proximity also allows for impromptu family activities or shared responsibilities, especially important if children are involved.
This closeness can also serve as a reminder of the daily life you shared, reigniting memories and feelings that distance might otherwise diminish.
It can help your spouse to feel the family unit (or the relationship unit) which can help increase feelings of bondedness and belonging, which is very important.
Remember, if you are already physically separated, the physical distance should be reduced in a way that respects your spouse’s boundaries and comfort.
You probably can’t just show up and say, “I’m moving back in.”
But, especially if you are paying the bills (rent, mortgage, etc.), you have a right to live there and, if it was your idea to leave, it might be somewhat easy to move back in.
It might require small steps, but decreasing the physical space between the two of you is extremely helpful and contributes significantly to save your marriage while separated.
Establish Consistent Meet-Ups
Regularly scheduled dates or meetings with your spouse can be vital to rebuilding intimacy and warmth to give your spouse motivation to come back to the marriage from the separation.
These should be more than mere updates about logistics or co-parenting; they should also be opportunities to rebuild emotional connections.
Focus on light-hearted conversations, updates on children (if you have them), shared interests, and hopefully reminiscing about happy memories.
These regular meet-ups provide a platform for positive, stress-free interactions, helping to slowly chip away any negative perceptions formed during the more challenging times of your marriage.
Notice that I didn’t say that the meet-ups (or “dates”) are for going through issues or conflict.
Often times, the stated “issues” wouldn’t be causing the desire for your spouse to want to end the marriage if attraction had remained high and the connection remained warm.
Though that is a simplified statement, if you think back on the stated issues for the separation, it’s likely that at least some of the issues were not new.
So what changed? Your spouse’s motivation and attraction changed.
So while I’m not saying that you should never go through conflict or discussing the issues, I am saying that resolutions to those issues aren’t usually what brings a spouse back.
It’s usually a matter of motivation, which in this case is attraction.
If someone truly wants to be with you, most issues simply aren’t a deterrent.
When attraction is low however, “issues” can be used as an excuse or serve as a way for the straying spouse to attempt to logically justify their desire to divorce.
Issues such as bad behaviors can certainly contribute to a drop in attraction, but, as frustrating and even illogical as it sounds, resolving these issues doesn’t automatically restore attraction.
In fact, it often does not.
Don’t get me wrong, certain issues such as substance abuse, certain bad behaviors, and other situations can contribute significantly and resolving those issues can be most of what it takes to bring reunion.
But if the stated issues don’t seem serious or don’t seem to warrant ending the marriage, then a fall in attraction is almost certainly the real reason.
Therefore, attraction and connection must be addressed in order to bring at least some motivation to “work on” or to reunite the marriage.
Formulate a Concrete Reunion Plan
Creating a clear plan for ending the separation and reuniting is essential.
You must tread lightly on this with your spouse, however, and it might be something that you are opportunistic about if your spouse is vague or doesn’t seem interested.
This is a situation where you might actually learn if the issues really are “the issue.”
If the desire of your spouse to divorce is alleviated by specific changes you make, then it was truly “issue specific.”
But so many people become extremely frustrated and hurt when they make significant changes to themselves or a situation, only for their spouse to continue to want the separation and/or divorce.
This is when the desire for separation and/or divorce is “motivation specific” and so more is likely to be achieved that can save your marriage while separated through working on increasing or rebuilding attraction since that is a major motivating factor for coming back to a relationship.
Ideally, your spouse’s commitment to the marriage would have kept them in it, but since that didn’t happen, we can’t count on commitment to be what brings them back.
That is something that hopefully will be restored down the road along with an appreciation for that commitment, but for now, we must operate in reality and not merely on what we wish was the case.
So this might not work for your situation, but if a plan with clear and quantifiable steps is agreed upon with your spouse, a mutual agreement on the necessary steps for reconciliation can allow for a shorter separation and can provide a way to measure progress rather than merely sitting around hoping that your spouse will have a change of heart or receive satisfaction in some vague and undefined way.
Actually Working Together as a Team
This is more important than the title might sound.
Seeking opportunities to work together as a team on various aspects of your life, whether it’s parenting, managing household tasks, or other shared responsibilities, can greatly enhance the all-important bond between the two of you.
Tackling challenges together can remind both of you of your strengths as a team and the successes you’ve shared together in the past.
This collaborative approach also helps build a sense of unity and partnership, reinforcing the idea that you are both on the same side while also providing experiences that can feel like the early days of your relationship.
All of those things can be helpful in saving a marriage during separation because it allows your spouse to have hope for the future as far as their own “want to” and it allows for growth of the connection even during separation.
Prioritize Positive Interactions
Make a conscious effort to ensure that your interactions are positive and uplifting.
Steer clear of contentious topics that might lead to arguments, and instead focus on conversations that have the potential to generate good feelings.
Celebrate small victories together, express gratitude, and focus on what is going well in your lives.
Positive reinforcement can gradually change the dynamic of your relationship, creating a more hopeful and pleasant atmosphere that can contribute to reconciliation.
Negative interactions, however, can further diminish your spouses motivation to reunite.
The reason for this is simple even though it’s often not realized by those involved.
That reason is that your spouse is far less likely to want to reunite with you if they associate the relationship with bickering, anxiety, and otherwise negative experiences.
In other words, why would they want to return to a marriage characterized by such things?
A marriage should be peaceful and a place of safe harbor.
It should be where we can recover and be comforted from the difficulty of the world.
Feeling that the marriage is difficult itself isn’t something that would draw a person back to it.
Enhance Open and Honest Communication
Encouraging open and honest communication is important.
If your spouse is hesitant to talk, respect their need for space, but also express your readiness to listen and understand.
It’s important to create a safe and non-judgmental space for each other to express thoughts and feelings.
This practice can help build trust and show that you value and respect your spouse’s perspective.
Steer Clear of Biased Marriage Advice
When facing the challenges of marital separation with the aim of reconciliation, it’s crucial to consider the influence of advice from friends and family.
While their intentions are generally well-meaning, relying on their guidance can often be counterproductive or even disasterous to your efforts to save your marriage while separated for several reasons:
Subjectivity and Bias: The advice from friends and family is often colored by their affection and concern for you, which can lead to biased opinions.
They might focus more on your immediate comfort rather than the long-term health of your marriage or understanding your partner’s perspective.
Experience Limitations: The insights offered by your personal circle are typically based on their own experiences, which may not align with the complexities of your specific situation.
This can lead them to overcomplicate or oversimplify the details of your situation.
Each relationship is unique, and solutions that worked for others might not be effective for you.
Risks of Meddling and Rumors: Involving those close to you in your separation can inadvertently lead to gossip and meddling.
Private discussions can become public knowledge within your social circle, potentially aggravating the situation if this information reaches your spouse.
This is true even if they have promised to keep your details confidential.
It’s not worth the risk.
Emphasis on Negative Emotions: Friends and family, in their support for you, might unintentionally heighten negative emotions like anger or resentment.
This support, while comforting, might lack constructive advice for moving forward and can hinder a clear-headed approach to reconciliation while separated.
Hindrance to Direct Communication: Overreliance on third-party advice may discourage direct dialogue with your spouse, which is essential for understanding and resolving issues if they are preventing reunion.
External opinions can overshadow the importance of honest and open communication between you and your spouse.
Pressure from External Opinions: You might feel compelled to conform to the expectations or suggestions of those around you, even when they don’t align with your personal wishes or the best interests of your relationship.
This external pressure can lead to decisions that don’t reflect your true desires for your marriage.
Given these factors, it’s advisable to seek neutral, professional guidance from an expereinced marriage coach.
They can provide expert, unbiased advice tailored to your unique situation, helping you address relationship complexities without the added complications of personal biases and emotions.
This professional approach can offer a more effective pathway towards understanding, communication, and potentially reconciling with your spouse.
Seek Professional Support
We are here to help you save your marriage during separation!
I suggest that you first start with my free mini-course on saving a marriage.
While separation presents challenges, it also offers an opportunity to address issues and strengthen your marriage.
With patience, empathy, and a willingness to adapt, you can use this period to rebuild your relationship on a more solid foundation.
Keep in mind that the journey may be difficult, but with dedication and the right approach, there is hope for a renewed and stronger marriage.
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