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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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Francis .S. Daniyan May 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

May the good Lord continue to up hold you and your family in Jesus mighty name Amen. I cover you and your family with the Precious Blood of Jesus Amen. Wishing you all the very best. God bless us all Amen.


Daryl May 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm



Ochule Ene Rhoda July 20, 2019 at 2:17 am

Thanks so much for the insight! I’m bless


David May 24, 2014 at 3:24 am

Please pray for G and her daughter. G is an alcoholic, and her b f has a problem too with alcohol, as well as anger, rage and many other issues,
Thank you.
David, Central Europe


Jeff October 17, 2016 at 7:52 pm

I thought I hit rock bottom tonight. My wife and me have been separated for three months now. I let satin coach me into walking out, breaking our vows. I’ve ask God and my wife to forgive me. I made a mistake and realize it. She has hardened her heart to were we are heading for divorce. Tonight I met her on the road and she would not even speak. It breaks my heart to a degree of ending it all. I stumbled onto your site and praise God, you helped me find peace in my Savior. Thank you God. Please pray for my wife and me


Jack Wellman October 17, 2016 at 10:01 pm

I am praying for your wife Jeff that God would soften her heart, but also to comfort you in the very difficult time. I am so sorry for such heartache my brother. I will also pray for you sir.


Les February 26, 2017 at 2:27 am

Please pray for my wife C and I regarding our marriage. God is at work and I face resistance because of historic incidents which led to unforgiveness and hardening of heart. One of our key areas has been control and I need to have the hand of the Lord move in our marriage. I feel he has called me to serve the body by teaching. I need to have the freedom to do His will and this seems to have brought a divide in our home. We have been married for nearly 35 years.
Thank you. I know my Redeemer Lives.


Brian April 4, 2018 at 11:54 pm

I started feeling distant from my wife n on asking her why, she said av let her down since i lost my job n all.she felt i wasnt working hard to find a job.. i prayed about it n my spirit was not settlet coz i felt yjeres more than meets the eye. I decided to investigate n later found out sh was cheating. I confronted her n later admitted she was but she dint wnt us to expose it to her mom who was willing to help. She is using my past mistakes to insinuate how i hav invaded her privacy, how i hav made her scared n how selfish i have been. All the while she is still seing the other guy. I hav intimated to her that i would liv for us to work on repairing our marriage n that i jav forgiven her n went further to ask for forgiveness but she wants a separation. I am devastated, we hav a 5 yr old son n i cnt stop crying n wondering watll happen to him. Please pray that God will restore my marriage. I love her so much n losing her will really kill me.


Oma January 29, 2020 at 5:51 pm

God bless you for this notes


Lizeth October 24, 2020 at 11:51 am

Please pray for my husband and me. We’re going through a separation but he says it’s too late to save our marriage. I say it’s never too late. His heart has hardened and only sees me in a negative light when I really tried my best to be a good wife.


Jack Wellman October 24, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Praying now Lizeth. I am so sorry for this heartache.


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