Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is There Hope For My Marriage After Long Separation?

Like I have mentioned before on this site, I gathered a lot of examples of how not to run a marriage from my parents. One of the insights I got from them was the realities of separation.

There are several scenarios that might lead to a couple or one half of a couple to choose separation. If a husband or wife feels that they are living in intolerable and miserable conditions eg one spouse us verbally or physically abusive and all attempts to get counselling to improve the relationship have proved futile.

The other scenario is where there is a massive argument between a couple which might or might not have become physical and one spouse chooses to leave maybe as an attempt to let the dust settle and avoid further harm. Couples in this situation should use the separation interval as a time to reflect and prioritise and consider their duties and expectations of their spouse and not plan on the how to put an axe to the marriage finally.

If a separation is planned it can save the marriage. If both spouses agree not too see anyone else and converse occasionally it doesn't have to be the final warning before a divorce. If handled correctly, and prayerfully, a separation can actually be a wake-up call for both parties, with opportunities to come back together healthier and happier than ever before.

Living in the chasm between marriage and divorce is a troubling place, filled with uncertainty, fear and loneliness. Impulsive actions are often driven by emotion, and usually end in disaster. A harshly spoken word drives a deeper wedge between you. A passive-aggressive act aimed getting even only adds fuel to the already raging flames. 

If there is any hope for such a marriage the spouses must decide to be thoughtful, careful and deliberate in EVERYTHING they say and do.

Second, meet your mate at their point of need. In other words, try to give your spouse what they are asking for. If they want space, give it to them. If they want solitude to reflect on the marriage, help them get it. If they want tenderness, show it to them. 

Set Healthy boundaries. Being kind does not equate to being foolish. Being sensitive doesn’t mean you tolerate everything. For example, strongly request on there being no romantic alliances during this time. Make clear agreements on how finances will be handled. Set and adhere to clear boundaries regarding the children.

Find Solutions: It took serious problems to lead to a separation. Instead of pointing fingers, seek to remedy those problems. Listen to what your mate is saying about why these problems occur. Seek information that will help. Though extremely difficult, embrace this opportunity to change and grow because that is what it is.

Say No to Anger and blame: It does no good to spew hostility on one another. Anger is divisive and leads not only to increased resentment and problems, but propels you toward the divorce courts. It doesn't help to rehearse all your mate has done to you over and over in your head. Seek peace and reconciliation. You once loved this person, look for those things try to build upon the positive. Look for opportunities to interact, if not pleasantly but at least amicably. Find opportunities to treat your mate with respect and kindness. Help them remember why they fell in love with you in the beginning.

Pray! :I know the pray and endure advise has almost cost some people their lives but during a separation it will make a difference if you sincerely commit your marriage to God and allow him to direct you. If there are kids then this is certainly going to affect them no matter how much you try to put their needs first. My advise is that you pray with them too.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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