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If you have already made mistakes in your marriage – or you are simply not trying to do it – it is essential to set boundaries. The will is not enough. Any limit is worth it for your wedding.
We are married with two super kids. Bryan is a pastor and Tracy is a counselor, and our goal is to enable better conversations for couples and families watching our videos. Find more conversations about pursuGOD.org and FLEXTALK.org, online conversation libraries for families, groups and mentors.
SUMMARY OF THE SUBJECT:
The old adage, "distance makes the heart more loving" may be true. A separation can be a fruitful time to make the marriage healthy again.
Making a separation choice does not mean that divorce is inevitable. Separation can actually be a useful tool to get you back on track. But, you must set clear rules for this period if you want to settle for reconciliation. Use these tips to make your separation time productive.
John 10:10 The thief's aim is to steal, kill and destroy. My goal is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Tip # 1: Agree on your final destination
The only way the separation will be useful is if you agree on where you are trying to go. As a couple, you have to decide what you hope to get from a moment of separation. I hope you are in agreement that the ultimate goal is to save the marriage. So, the moment of separation is meant to give yourself space to work on individual things, so you're ready to talk about marriage all the way.
[Related Topic: Hope for reconciliation]
Tip # 2: Tell your spouse how they can earn your trust back
Trust must be the foundation of a healthy marriage. Whatever the reasons why your marriage is in trouble, you need to identify where the trust has been broken and tell your spouse what he has to do to get it back. So, if your spouse has had an affair, talk about specific things that you need to see from them to know that they are done with the other relationship. If your spouse was emotionally absent from the wedding, tell them what they need to do to show you that they care about it. The more precise you can be, the better. Trust is a measurable thing. You will know if you can trust your spouse when you see him doing things you asked him to do.
[Related Series: How to earn trust back]
Tip # 3: Agree on the appropriate terms
This can be difficult, but it is very important to establish the rules of engagement during separation. Probably, you both feel vulnerable and hurt, so one or the other is not ready to act as if everything could return to normal. Discuss how often you feel comfortable speaking to you. Is it by phone, email, or can you go to dinner once a week? Will you be affectionate with each other or is it totally off the table for the moment. The boundaries are unique to each couple and situation that led to separation. It 's about hearing about the limits with which you can both feel comfortable and not putting yourself in a compromising position.
Tip 4: Ask for individual advice
Separation is a good time to work on yourself. Identify things in your own life that have contributed to marital problems and work to become healthy in these areas. By becoming healthy, individually, you will have a better perspective on how to return to marriage productively. Forcing marriage counseling too soon will only make the situation worse. Take the time to work on individual things, first, and get together for marriage counseling when you both feel ready.
Watch and discuss:
1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with all this? What did you jump at?
3. Why do you envisage separation or why did you decide to separate?
4. Read John 10:10. Identify the areas where your marriage is totally broken. How can these areas be redeemed with the help of God?
5. Which of the 4 tips is most important to you now? Explain.
6. What problems do you need to work with in individual counseling? What would you say to your spouse?
7. Write a personal action based on this conversation.
Video credits to Bryan & Tracy Dwyer YouTube channel