Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? – Amos 3:3 NLT
Does your marriage feel like an emotional roller coaster? Do you feel like you keep running up against a brick wall in your marriage, afraid that staying may cause irreparable damage? You may be wondering what you should do, but please don’t do anything hasty. Every marriage relationship faces conflict and change, but the question of separation comes into view when you have attempted to communicate and confront the offense and your efforts have not been productive. Sometimes allowing space for reflection, individual growth, and healing is a good idea. My heart goes out to you if you’re in this difficult situation and need guidance regarding when it’s a good idea to separate.
If you are considering a purposeful time of healing separation, remember that it’s not a “practice divorce”. It is an opportunity for resting from the toxic home environment to reflect and refocus on the necessary changes that need to be made to bring about restoration in the marriage. This is definitely not a time to date other people or entertain another relationship. Both parties need to be committed to reconciling the marriage for this to work. If necessary, a healing separation can be accomplished in the home, with each individual staying in separate bedrooms with clear boundaries. Here are some reasons to consider a time of healing separation.
1. Adultery – Infidelity or betrayal due to an extra-marital affair.
2. Abandonment – Patterns of neglect or abandonment where one spouse abandons the relational responsibilities and repeatedly leaves for extended periods to avoid resolving important issues.
3. Abuse – This can be sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, or physical. This can also include uncontrolled acts of violence, aggression, repeated deception, manipulation, or control.
4. Addiction – This includes sexual promiscuity, porn, chemical, or behavioral addictions.
Remember, the goal is to put things in place so you can come back together in an atmosphere of understanding and agreement. Remember that God desires to heal and restore you and your spouse. It will take a daily commitment to pray, study God’s word, and submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit to see His will accomplished in your relationship. So if you think it would be beneficial for both parties to move forward with a healing time of separation, then this should be your roadmap toward restoration:
1. Don’t waste your time. Use the time to establish and communicate temporary boundaries and the purpose behind them.
2. Ask for assistance. Engage the help of a Pastor or professional Christian counselor.
3. Recovery. Active participation in recovery efforts (especially in abuse or addiction scenarios).
4. Set practical goals. Pursue interactions that move you toward healthy connection.
1. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. List three reasons why two are better than one and that marriage is God’s good idea. Write out a prayer to the Lord and ask for His help and wisdom on how you can move toward partnership with your spouse in those areas.
2. Read Romans 15:5-6. How can you promote unity in your marriage even during a time of separation? How can you take ownership of your issues in the relationship?