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How to Rebuild Your Marriage During a Separation [10 Working Tips]

Anna Khmara

Anna is a certified life transformation and relationship coach with an in-depth focus on positive psychology and transactional analysis. Using her 3+ years of experience, she helps her clients understand the essence of the problem, build self-esteem, establish healthy relationships, find harmony, and manifest their dreams into reality.

Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that nearly 80% of separated couples ultimately get divorced. Furthermore, they mostly do it within three years after separation.

Scholars also found that the average marriage separation lasts about a year, while the reunion usually happens within the first two years.

Once this period is over, the likelihood of successfully rebuilding a marriage after separation drops rapidly.

If you and your partner separate, but you don’t want to terminate your marriage at the end of the day, you can use separation to your advantage.

But considering the statistics, you have limited time.

Read our article to find out how to rebuild a marriage after separation. Perhaps our tips will help you succeed on your path to a harmonious and happy marriage.

What Is Marriage Separation?

If spouses don’t want to stay together, but at the same time they don’t want to get divorced, they can get separated, either short-term or long-term. It won’t end their marriage, but the spouses will be able to live separate lives.

Sometimes, they can do it even while living in the same house.

In case of separation, spouses need to separate their budgets, debts, assets, and responsibilities. In addition, if they have children, separation provides for custody, child support, visitation, etc.

There are different types of marriage separation:

  • Trial separation, also known as healing or therapeutic separation, is when married spouses spend time apart;
  • Permanent separation is when spouses separate permanently and have no intention to rebuild their marriage;
  • Legal separation is when a married couple files with the court to get officially separated. But this option is only available in certain states.

If you wonder how to fix a marriage after separation, you most likely don’t see divorce as the final solution.

Although, in theory, it’s possible to restore a marriage after any type of separation, when there’s a will to do so, healing separation has a higher chance of turning into a revived marital relationship.

Why Do Some Married Couples Choose Separation?

To understand how to save your marriage after separation, you need to figure out why you and your spouse decided to live separately. Of course, such reasons are purely individual for each family, but you can find some of the most common ones below.

Why Do Some Married Couples Choose Separation?

Spouses want to keep having access to the financial benefits of their marriage.

Some couples have joint health insurance, tax returns, social security, etc. Separation allows them to continue to receive these benefits, which they may lose if they get divorced.

Spouses want to get prepared for divorce properly.

If divorce is just a matter of time, the separation can help make the preparation process less stressful and more organized. Spouses can use this time to resolve various aspects of the divorce process more calmly.

Spouses have certain religious beliefs that don’t allow them to get divorced.

The Pew Research Center conducted a Religious Landscape Study showing that 57% of separated or divorced adults consider religion very important to them. Therefore, regardless of denomination, religious beliefs can have a significant impact on issues related to marriage.

Spouses don’t want to get divorced legally because of their kids.

Sometimes spouses choose separation instead of divorce when there are minor children in the marriage. Various studies show that 1 in 4 married couples remain married only “for the kids.”

Perhaps, the reason behind separation in your case is to keep family until your children reach an older age.

Spouses want to take a break in their relationship to figure out what to do next.

Spouses may choose to separate if they are in the middle of a marriage crisis and are unsure whether they want to stay married or proceed with the divorce. They use this time to make a decision about the future of their marriage.

All these reasons can be grouped into 3 main types:

  • Separation as a step towards the divorce;
  • Separation as an opportunity to understand your marriage;
  • Separation as a way to strengthen your marriage.

If spouses separate and one or both clearly understand that it’s only a step on their path to divorce, they should voice it. Both sides need to be honest in their intentions. They shouldn’t give false hope if they don’t want to work on their relationship.

Separation also makes sense if spouses want to take a detached view of their marriage and sort out their feelings. They can visit a marriage counselor, family therapist, or licensed professional counselor together or individually to find out where they are in this relationship and whether they want to work on their broken marriage.

Some married couples use separation as an opportunity to strengthen their marriage. In this case, the spouses make a conscious decision to get separated, but they are 100% sure they want to stay together in the future.

Separation helps them understand what they need to improve in their relationship to bring their marriage to a new level of happiness.

10 Tips for Saving a Marriage After Separation

Spouses can restore their marriage after separation if both of them are willing to work hard and do it positively.

It can be challenging because separation is a stressful and insecure period when negative emotions can go off the charts. But a commitment to a joint goal can help them grow to reconciliation.

If you are looking for an answer to the “how to fight for your marriage during separation” question, you can find some of the most effective tips below.

When used sincerely, they can help you avoid divorce and create a relationship that will satisfy you and your partner for many years to come.

Communicate Your Desire to Reconcile

One of the most critical steps towards rebuilding a relationship after separation is conversation. If you perceive separation as a break in your relationship and don’t plan to ultimately file for divorce, you need to communicate it to your spouse.

Talk about how you see your future and get your spouse’s opinion. This way, you can be in tune with your partner. But remember that you can rekindle a relationship only if both spouses sincerely want it.

Communicate Your Desire to Reconcile

It’s great if your spouse also perceives this situation as an opportunity to improve your relationship. It means you have a good chance of saving a marriage after separation, and our following tips can help you achieve this goal.

However, if your spouse has not yet figured out their feelings and is not ready to draw any conclusions, don’t pressure them as it can only aggravate the situation.

Pay attention to how you and your spouse talk to each other. Licenced Clinical Social Worker and therapist Denise Ambre also noted the importance of using a respectful and gentle tone in communication.

She says, “I think that the one piece of advice I would give to a couple working toward saving a marriage is to start paying attention to the tone with which they say things to each other.

Someone can say all the right words, but if their tone is condescending or flippant or disrespectful in some way, the words won't mean a thing.”

Imagine the Marriage You Want

Surely you once imagined your ideal marriage. Then, when you got married, you thought that your ideas would come true. Perhaps they did, but at some point, something went wrong.

Ask yourself:

  • At what point did your perfect marriage turn into a desire to spend some time away from your spouse?
  • What did you and your partner do wrong?
  • What do you want your marriage to be like?
  • What kind of husband or wife do you want to be?
  • How do you want to make it different this time?

To save a marriage, you need to analyze the situation and understand what you expect from this relationship. Think about all the ups and downs in your marriage and reflect on how it has changed you.

Discuss everything with your spouse and think together about your new perfect marriage.

Control Your Emotions

If you are trying to save a marriage after separation, you should learn to control your emotions, especially anger.

When people are angry, they can say a lot of things they might later regret. Conflicts caused by such negative emotions can only intensify the hostility and make the process of working on marriage during separation more complicated.

Therefore, learn to curb your anger and stop mutual accusations. Remember that your task is to minimize the damage done to your relationship. Constantly blaming each other for all family troubles will not help you do it.

Stay Involved with Your Spouse

When both spouses are determined to rebuild their broken marriage, it’s crucial to continue doing things as a family, even during the separation.

Try to solve family and household issues together. If you have children, decide together which parenting model to choose. You can even go to children’s parties together, if appropriate.

Involve your spouse in your personal life when possible. It will help you maintain the marriage relationship and the bond that exists between you. Otherwise, your spouse may start feeling unimportant to you and rejected.

Set Up Healthy Boundaries

Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of “Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend” and “Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly,” explains what boundaries are.

She says, “Boundaries are the separations that humans need—mentally, emotionally, and physically—to feel safe, valued, and respected.”

By talking to your spouse about the ground rules of separation and setting healthy boundaries considering each party’s needs and wishes, you can focus more on what really matters - working on your marriage during separation.

For example, having once discussed how you’ll manage your finances, you no longer need to talk about it every time you meet your spouse. Accordingly, you will have more time for solving real problems in your relationship.

So, discuss:

  • How you would like to communicate;
  • How you would like to handle your budget;
  • How and when you will spend time with your children;
  • Whether you will abstain from sexual intimacy during marital separation;
  • How you can demonstrate physical affection (for example, through non-sexual touch), etc.

Talk over every aspect that may affect your marriage to create a picture of your near future.

Create Healthy Habits Together

It’s not so much about healthy lifestyle habits, although it’s important too, but rather about healthy relationship habits.

If earlier you and your spouse avoided talking about family problems, create a habit of discussing everything and looking for ways to fix the situation together before it gets worse.

If you were constantly playing with your phone when your partner was talking to you, make it a rule to put aside any gadgets during conversations.

Make spending quality time together with your spouse a new habit. Try to surprise each other with something pleasant. Do something new with your partner once a week.

You can develop many new habits, and they can be the foundation of your new healthy marriage.

Improve Yourselves Together

You and your spouse should get ready to change things about yourself, especially those that contributed to separation.

For instance, if a husband or wife had an addiction and it became the reason for separation, they should do their best to overcome it.

The lack of attention that one of the partners felt in the marriage is another example. If the other partner really wants to reconnect with their spouse and rebuild their broken marriage, they should change their attitude and find balance.

You shouldn’t change yourselves completely. Instead, focus on improving yourselves together with your spouse to make your marriage functional. It can help you create a union where everyone thrives.

Start Dating Again

Dating is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. It allows partners to spend time together in a non-standard setting, talk about their marriage, forget about their problems, and discuss critical issues in a pleasant atmosphere.

When spouses are separated for some time, they can start occasional dating once both partners feel ready. It can bring back the romance of the first dates.

Dating Again

Try to remember the place where you and your spouse had your first date, walk around, talk about some happy memories, and share fun moments.

However, family therapist Payal Patel advises reflecting on your relationship before you start dating your spouse again.

She notes, “Unfortunately, people don't often take time to focus on the things they did or didn't like about themselves and their partner in the relationship.

I would reflect on why things would work this time, as well as what’s different about you or them that would potentially make this reconciliation work differently.”

Treat Your Marriage Like a New Relationship

To succeed in marriage recovery after separation, you and your spouse need to let go of the past and the pain you live with.

You need to talk it over. Otherwise, the hidden resentment will sooner or later remind of itself. Something can trigger a relapse, and you’ll find yourself a few steps back.

Restoring marriage after separation requires reawakening the partners’ feelings for each other. Then, based on all the good feelings from your joint past, you’ll build a new relationship.

Get Marriage Counseling

If you find it challenging to deal with all the tips mentioned above on your own, it’s better to seek professional help. You can go for couples therapy or consult a marriage counselor separately. It can help you find a way to take your relationship to the next level and fix your broken marriage.

At the same time, the willingness to go into therapy must resonate with both partners. What’s more, you shouldn’t turn these meetings into a battle of accusations from the past.

When you feel like you’re about to break down and go negative, remind yourself that your job here is to fight for your marriage and build trust, not fight your spouse.

Critical Don’ts That Can Turn Your Separation into Divorce

You can do whatever you can to keep the relationship alive, but don’t become too desperate. In such a state, you can make mistakes that can cause achieving your goal, if not impossible, more difficult.

Don’t Argue

Constant arguing is ineffective communication. Quarrels show that spouses don’t want to hear each other and can’t look at the situation through a partner’s eyes.

Your life was probably already full of quarrels before you decided to separate. If you continue to do it, most likely, your separation will end in divorce.

Instead of constantly proving you are right or criticizing your partner, practice saying, “I understand how you feel about this. I can put myself in your shoes. Let’s try to find a solution together.” And most importantly, do it sincerely.

Don’t Beg

When one spouse initiates separation, the first thing that the other one may want to do is beg them not to leave.

By continuously saying, “I love you so much! I can’t live without you! You are the one person that makes me happy! I want to be with you!” you won’t make them stay. Instead, you will simply demonstrate how low your self-esteem is.

It is better to show your spouse that you accept separation and want to use it as an opportunity to save and improve your marriage.

Don’t Try to Reassure Your Spouse

Instead of telling your spouse, “I will change. I will not be like this anymore. I will become a different person,” show it in practice. Your spouse may believe your actions more than your words.

Remember, separation doesn’t necessarily mean divorce. You can use this period as an opportunity to show your spouse that you are truly working on yourself and growing.

Don’t Rush

Give yourself and your spouse time to figure out what happened and where you want to go. Don’t push them if they’re not ready to spend time together often. Let them miss you and the happy moments you had in your marriage.

Don’t Rush

What’s more, if you reunite too quickly without working through the marriage problems, you may find yourself in a situation even worse than you are now. So remember the main rule - take your time.

Final Words

Separation can become a new beginning for your relationship if you and your partner do your homework and commit yourselves to repairing your marriage. Only in this case can you expect a positive outcome.

Use our advice wisely and get inspired about bringing your happy marriage back. Believe in the result you want to achieve, but be prepared that it will take time. It’s impossible to go from separation to reconciliation in one day.


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