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4 min read

Can You Fix a Marriage After a Separation? Advice, Tips, and Strategies

A couple in therapy after separation


A marriage crisis can come into almost any relationship, even a happy marriage. People grow and change and sometimes finding ourselves can lead to a marriage separation, or even a legal separation.

The question for many people is: does a separation agreement necessarily lead to divorce, or can a marriage be saved? The short answer is: it depends. In this article, we'll explore why some couples choose to separate, some scenarios when a broken marriage should NOT be healed, and some do's and don'ts of fixing a marriage.

What is a legal separation?

A separation can be a valuable wake up call for change and personal growth in one spouse or both. Sometimes known as a healing separation or a trial separation, a short time apart may be a way to address the challenges of a marriage crisis.

A legal separation takes this a step further; it is an agreement in which both parties formalize separation through a court order, while remaining legally married. A separation agreement may include things like child support, child custody and visitation, or financial specifications.

Why do some couples choose separation over divorce?

There are several reasons why couples may decide on separation rather than divorce.

  • Religious reasons or stigma for a broken marriage.
  • Spouses don't want to get divorced legally because of their kids
  • Spouses want to keep having access to the financial benefits of their marriage
  • Spouses want to take a break in their relationship to figure out what to do next

Does separation help a marriage?

In certain cases, a separation can help rebuild trust and communication. Marriage after separation is not a given thing, but if both parties are committed to the process of healing, then it is possible.

When NOT to Choose Marriage After Separation

In specific cases, taking a marriage separation to divorce is the best choice. These cases include physical, sexual, or mental abuse. Your spouse may claim that they can change, but in cases of abuse, it is typically not a good idea to count on this. It is more important to protect yourself and your children then to try to establish a connection with a husband or wife, which is abusive. You may require professional help to do this in some cases.

Rekindling a Marriage After Separation: Some Ground Rules

If you are looking to establish a new beginning for your relationship, and avoid divorce, there are some strategies you can use to keep the process smooth and avoid hurt feelings as much as possible.

Be very honest with yourself right from the beginning.

Ultimately, it's important to be completely honest about the idea of saving your marriage. Working with a family therapist can help, as can clear communication and healthy boundaries. However, the initial question to ask yourself is "can this marriage crisis be overcome?" If you or your spouse is not fully invested in the personal growth and communication necessary for marriage separation to be healed, it may be better not to waste your time and energy.

Allow your spouse to talk.

It is normal to want to speak your piece, and vent frustration But for a positive outcome, you will also have to commit to listening to your partner.

Control your anger and blame.

Self-reflection can be key in rebuilding a marriage. No matter what the underlying issues, your own actions may have played a part. Try to steer away from blaming your partner, and work on your own growth and development.

Create healthy, clear boundaries.

It can be difficult to protect your marriage in the future without first deciding on appropriate boundaries. Let each other know what is off-limits, and decide on your own personal red flags before moving forward.

Start with occasional dates.

Whether you are still living in the same house or not, treat your marriage as a new relationship. Start by dating each other, playing "getting to know you" in a pleasant atmosphere like a restaurant or park. Let it build slowly, and give each other plenty of time to talk and share while spending quality time together.

Identify and work on root issues.

There can be one or several underlying root causes for your marital separation. Healing won't commence until you realize and deal with what brought you to this point in the first place. This is a valuable opportunity to talk with your spouse about any underlying issues that led to your separation.

What should I do if my spouse is not interested in rekindling the marriage?

The idea of a permanent separation can be scary to some, and a spouse may want to reconcile from a separation while the other spouse has no interest at all. If you want to save your marriage but your husband or wife is not interested, there are a few things to know.

Don't Beg

Begging to reconcile your marriage after separation will not help your cause, and may actually create more strife.

Respect Boundaries

“No” can constitute the entire answer. If during separation, your spouse requests no contact, or sets ground rules, do not attempt to get around them (unless it is harmful to your children or family in some way).

Share Fun Moments With Friends and Family Members

Distract yourself from thoughts of your spouse by spending quality time with your friends and family members. Marriage separation can be traumatizing, and cultivating other social connections can improve your mental health.

Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy

A professional counselor or family therapist can mediate and facilitate different challenges that may be causing trouble and leading to your becoming legally separated. These can include difficulties with sexual intimacy or physical affection, underlying issues with other relationships, rebuilding trust, self esteem issues, and many more. It makes sense to get an objective third party to help you navigate your issues if you are interested in preserving marriage after separation.

If one spouse refuses to participate in couples therapy, then you can attend individual therapy on your own for a sense of direction and healing.

Marriage and Relationship Therapy in Brooklyn

When you are experiencing separation from your marriage in Brooklyn, it can be a stressful time of change and uncertainty. Working with a family therapist can help you get your bearings, and make tough decisions about what to do next.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our team of doctoral-level psychotherapists offers both online and in-person appointments to accommodate both spouses, work through reconciliation, or offer support through divorce.

Give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the right marriage and separation therapist in Brooklyn to share the tools required to improve communication, rebuild trust, and put your relationship back on track. 

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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