A legal separation is a option that can help save your marriage--if you go about it the right way. During a separation, a couple often lives apart and usually divides finances for however long the separation lasts. This can give you and your partner ample time to rectify problems that led to the separation. After a separation, you can come back together wiser and stronger, but you still need a few tips for a brighter future.
It's often a good idea for a couple having a separation to attend counseling. This may mean going to individual therapists, talking to a marriage counselor, or both. If this is something you've been doing all along, don't stop going after the separation ends. You will likely need additional professional assistance to adjust to living together again and to help you with new and old marital issues.
Stop Old Patterns
An important part of making a marriage work after ending a separation is to stop old patterns from re-forming. Identify unproductive patterns. Work with your spouse to devise a plan to deal with unproductive patterns when they arise. Stop these patterns as soon as they start, and follow your plan to cope with them.
Practice New Skills
Another important part of thriving after separation ends is to practice new skills and ways of relating to your spouse. These may be skills that you learned on your own, while you were separated, or ones that you identified with a therapist. Regardless, share them with your spouse, and have your spouse share his skills with you. When an old problem or issue comes up, use these skills to solve it.
Commit to Your Marriage
Finally, the most crucial thing that you can do to fix a marriage after a separation is to commit to your relationship. It helps if you solidify this commitment with your spouse in a written way. It doesn't have to be a legal document, but having witnesses might help so that you can both be held accountable for your actions. List the specific things that you will do to change your marriage for the better, such as listening more to your spouse, attending counseling, or working on your own emotional issues. Sign and date the document. Look back on it if your dedication to your marriage is fading.
- "Taking Space: How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship"; Robert Buchicchio; 2006
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