Help! My Spouse wants to Separate
- Get counseling- go alone if necessary. Find a good pro-marriage counselor and start working on yourself.
- Use a mediator rather than a lawyer to work out your separation agreement. (Then be sure to have a lawyer ok it). Mediation is much more amicable!
- Learn everything you can on good communication and try to keep the lines of communication open. Listen, listen, listen.
- Read Dobson’s “Love Must be Tough”- at least twice! Also read other books and articles on marriage, anything you can find particularly on the issues you are facing.
- Build yourself a support network of affirming friends and family who can be objective, DO NOT TAKE SIDES, and who support your efforts at reconciliation.
· If there is The Third Option near you, come!
Early Warning Signs
*You fight constantly or hardly speak.
*You spend more and more time away from each other.
*There are more and more subjects “off limits”.
*Either of you have threatened to leave or have done so.
*You fear you are growing further apart.
*You or your spouse has lost interest in sex or even touching.
*You suspect an affair or entertain fantasies of an affair yourself.
*You feel trapped, misunderstood, taken for granted, angry all the time.
If you have any of these warning signs, GET HELP NOW!
Marriage is a tremendous investment in time, emotions,
memories, even your whole way of life. It is a lot to lose.
Suffering confusion, doubts, strong emotions? Perhaps
you feel out of control. Working things through will help.
To Relieve Pain:
Reconciliation is hard work, but no more work than any unhappy
marriage. Reconciliation is painful, but not as painful as divorce.
Divorce is expensive and never really ends.
You can’t run away from yourself:
If you divorce, your problems will follow you. Whether or not you
stay together, it is important to understand what is happening
and how to avoid it in the future.
For Your Health:
Discord often brings stress-related symptoms. Reconciliation is
healthier for both of you.
For Your Children:
Children are a good reason for working on your relationship.
“If children had a vote, there would be no divorce.” (NMC White
Papers) Besides, reconciliation teaches them how to live. Family is
worth fighting for.
To Avoid Repeating the Past:
You can’t run away from yourself. If you divorce, your problems will follow you. It is important to understand what caused the problems and how to avoid them. Many second marriages fail because couples haven’t developed the skills needed to make their marriages work.
For Your Faith:
Reconciliation is a central theme of all faiths. It enables you to keep your wedding promises.
If there’s been an affair…
There are two popular, but incorrect myths about affairs:
Myth 1- An affair marks the end of the marriage. The parties should divorce quickly and “build a new life”. This fails to take into account the power of forgiveness and healing.
Myth 2- Affairs are very common these days so don’t take it too seriously. Try to start over again, “dating” and getting reacquainted. This is like saying “cancer is common, so don’t take it too seriously”!
Friends, family and even counselors tend to make these false assumptions.
True, an affair is devastating. It is difficult to overstate the pain it causes. It kills trust and creates overwhelming emotions. It is extremely difficult to heal following an affair, but it is not impossible.
If your partner has an affair:
- Take your time deciding what you want
- Read books
- Talk to trusted friends who can be objective
- If you are a person of faith, pray
- Find a good counselor who neither over or underestimates an affair
Book- The Monogamy Myth- by Peggy Vaughan
Website: www.vaughan-vaughan.com- offers “BAN” Beyond Affairs Network with a wealth of information and a secure bulletin board.
Telephone counseling: Steven Harley, M.S. (credentialed counselor) Specializing in affairs- (651) 639-1639
If you have had an affair and want to reconcile:
- Cut off the affair/ relationship completely
- Take full responsibility for the affair (no excuses)
- Apologize from the heart; acknowledging that receiving your spouse’s forgiveness would be a gift. You have no “right” to expect it.
- Be totally open & honest in answering your partner’s questions about when, where and how many times you hid it, etc. This may be painful but it’s the only way to move beyond it.
- Listen, Listen, Listen to your spouse’s pain, anger, mistrust, etc. acknowledging your part in causing it.
- Be patient. Pushing your partner to heal is denying the magnitude of the pain they feel.
- If you are a person of faith, pray.
- Find a good counselor with expertise in marriage and affairs. One who will be realistic and not fall into either false assumption.
There are no guarantees that a particular marriage can be healed of an affair. It takes courage, honesty, forgiveness and humility. It cannot be rushed or faked but couples have recovered from affairs and gone on to have even stronger marriages.