5 Ways Separation Can Help to Save a Struggling Marriage

by Crystal McDowell · Print Print · Email Email

Rather than make a rush judgment towards divorce, Christian couples may choose to separate for a period of time. In serious cases of verbal, physical, or emotional abuse where the victim is under severe stress—a separation gives time for healing. However before considering separation, both parties should seek out godly counsel from a pastor, respected family and/or friends, or counselors. A temporary separation can allow:

Time for Reflection

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19).

A short-term separation allows the couple time to reflect on their situation and ask the question “What went wrong?” It’s not a time for finger-pointing, but rather a chance to step back and as objectively as possible look at their situation. By seeking God’s guidance with times of prayer and fasting, a couple can gain insight from the Holy Spirit on the real issues and how to deal with them without a divorce. Journaling one’s feelings or writing letters to their spouse (that aren’t necessarily sent) helps a couple think freely about their marital issues without the drama of conflict, arguing, or under threat.

Time to Remember

“I remember the days of long ago” (Psalm 143:5).

When there is a testing in the marriage relationship, couples tend to focus on each other’s faults rather than what their spouse did that was right. A couple can use this time apart to seek God’s enlightment of what drew them together in the beginning of their relationship. The first step towards remembering the good about a spouse is to begin and end every day giving thanks to God for something about the other person. After giving thanks, begin to pray for God’s wisdom and direction on the next steps in the relationship. Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s will for you and your spouse.

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19)

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19)

Time to Meditate

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:27).

During times of intense conflicts, there are many opinions offered to couples. While godly counsel will be necessary at times—it’s also a good time to silence all the voices and listen to God’s voice through the Holy Scriptures. When both the husband and wife submit their hearts to God through His word, they will hear truth that can bring conviction and heal their marriage. By diligently and specifically seeking out the Scriptures about marriage, the fruit of the Spirit, and the unconditional love of Christ—many couples will find their way back to each other.

Time to Reconnect

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

A marital vow between believers is more than a covenant between two people—it’s also a promise to God that they would honor His will in their marriage. It’s said that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Many couples discover after a short period of time how much they’ve grown to depend on each other and are more motivated to work out their differences. A dual submission to God and to each other in the Spirit of Christ will always bring reconciliation. The triple thread of the Lord, a godly husband, and godly wife isn’t easily broken by the testing and trials of this life.

Time to Heal

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

When a marriage gets to the point of nearly falling apart, it’s usually preceded by hurtful words and actions that need time for healing. Just as our physical wounds don’t heal right away even when treated, wounds of the heart don’t always heal as quickly as desired. A patient and repentant spouse will trust in the Lord to bring healing at the right time. Anyone who’s been forgiven by Christ (while they were yet sinners) knows that they have the power to forgive their spouse in obedience to His word. Forgiveness precludes true and lasting healing in a godly marriage.

There is a time for everything

For the married couple, there is “a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing” (Ecclecsiastes 3:5). Ultimately it’s the Lord’s will that spouses work out their differences and come to a place of reconciliation. Unfortunately there are times when a husband or wife refuse to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirt and use a temporary separation for planning a divorce. In those situations, it’s important to trust in God and know that He’s in control even in the heartbreak.

Yet when both husband and wife are willing to trust in God through the difficult days—He will make all grace abound towards them and work all things for their good. Marriage isn’t for the faint-hearted, but for those who love God and want to please Him more than pleasing himself or herself. A godly, temporary separation may bring a couple closer together than what they ever would’ve imagined before.

Related reading: Reasons for Divorce

Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.





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