When couples decide to separate, intense emotions including sadness, loneliness, disappointment and resentment are likely to arise. After two years, it’s likely that you both had time to process your feelings, appreciate the positives of the relationship and determine what you want from your marriage. When renewing a marriage after a long-term separation, it’s important to set expectations, foster open communication and show your spouse how much you care.
Work with a Marriage Counselor
To effectively restore your marriage bond, it helps to seek the advice of a professional marriage counselor. Professional therapists can help you and your spouse discuss any barriers that led to the separation, as well as discuss conflicts that you may encounter when renewing your marriage, according to Mark Dombeck, clinical psychologist and former director of MentalHelp.net. Although marriage counseling is often a draining process, it forces you both to evaluate your wants and needs while renewing the love you have for each other after a two-year separation.
Accept Your Differences
A successful marriage involves patience and understanding. Know that you may not have the same interests or likes as your spouse, but it is important to support his choices. Instead of picking apart what you don’t like about your partner, instead, find a way to support his interests. Recognize that the two of you may not function in the same way but that it's possible to find common ground when renewing your marriage. Learn to accept what you can’t change, recommends Maud Purcell, a family therapist on PsychCentral.com. For example, if your spouse is an early riser while you prefer to sleep in, work out a compromise so you both can get adequate sleep. Compromises help minimize the disagreements and disappointments you experienced earlier in your marriage.
Foster Open Communication
Marriages often break down due to lack of communication. Find time to express your feelings, thoughts and needs to your spouse on a daily basis. Designate one-on-one time with each other to reconnect, share tidbits about your day and discuss dreams and goals, recommends Purcell. Even if you take a brief walk together, share a cup of coffee in the morning or treat yourselves to a date night, this reserved time together can help the two of you connect and bond to ensure that your marriage is healthy after a long-term separation.
Work on Yourself
Your marriage is a partnership, but to have a healthy, successful marriage, it’s important that you each build your own confidence and maintain optimal physical and emotional health. Once your confidence soars, you can often see the value in your relationship a little more clearly. Treat yourself to weekly pampering sessions, ensure that your diet is healthy, and exercise regularly. If you take care of your own physical and mental health, it’s likely that your spouse will follow suit. Physical health directly affects mental health, according to Purcell. With a clear head, you will then be able to focus on fostering a healthy marriage following a separation.