Monday, 6 August 2012

Trial Separations - Do They Work?

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1Corinthians 10:31 

Most of my posts attempt to focus on how to have a marriage that brings glory to God.  Occasionally I am asked about the wisdom of separating for a period of time with the inference being that there is an intention of reconciling.  A study done by Ohio State University reported that 79% of the time couples who separate eventually divorce.

Numerous reasons are given for separating.  Often those with children want to give their children time to adjust to the change.  Under certain circumstances there are financial benefits to separation over divorce.  The provision of healthcare can be a huge consideration.  Some are in hopes that separation will serve as a wakeup call for their partner.

The reality is that children will suffer. Period!  There may be some financial justifications but under those circumstances reconciliation is rarely the ultimate outcome.  And according to the research separation doesn’t provide a wakeup call.

However all that said, I believe there are times when a separation may be in order.  Absolutely separation is called for in the case of spousal abuse, specifically physical abuse.  In addition there are instances when it is the only way to stop enabling someone with an addictive behavior.  Having tried numerous approaches to helping the addict gain victory over their addiction, separation may get the addicts attention.

In the case of abuse and/or addiction it is essential that the abuser or addict seek professional help which may include rehab, counseling and/or group therapy.

Separating is not an effective way of dealing with communication issues, or helping to learn a process for resolving conflict in a healthy manner.  Separating is not the solution to feelings of loneliness or feeling unloved.  Separating will not bring happiness to a spouse who is feeling less than fulfilled.  The bottom line is that most all of these issues are heart issues.  Something or someone has become more important than God.  James 4:1-2 says we quarrel because our desires are not met.  In which case, we should be taking our desires to God to see if they are desires that bring honor to Him.  If one is feeling unfulfilled it may  be God asking that person what gifts, talents and abilities they could be using for the Kingdom, etc.

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