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A Healing Separation is a structured time apart that can help a couple to heal a relationship that isn’t working. It can also help revitalize and renew the relationship so it is working. The intent of this time of separation is to move it from neediness to health. A successful Healing Separation requires that both partners be committed to personal growth. They’re also committed to creating a healthier relationship with each other. This framework will allow them the opportunity to carve out a more fulfilling relationship with each other.

Trial Separation

The Healing Separation is like the old-style “trial separation,” which involved living apart from each other for a while. Unlike unplanned unstructured separations, however, the Healing Separation is a working separation. This is a time where you and your partner dedicate yourselves to investing in your own personal growth.

The Healing Separation is a creative way to strengthen both partners. It also helps to build together a new relationship without dissolving the partnership.

Each partner agrees to the following goals for this separation:

1. I will provide time and emotional space outside of the love relationship. This is so I can enhance my personal, spiritual, and emotional growth.

2. This is a time to better identify my needs, wants, and expectations of the relationship.

3. It is to help me explore my basic relationship needs.

4. I realize I will experience the social, economic, and parental stresses, which can occur when I have separated from my partner.

5. This time allows me to work through my process better apart than I can within the relationship.

6. It helps me to experience enough emotional distance so I can separate out my issues that have become convoluted and mixed up together with my partner’s issues.

7. It provides an environment to help our relationship heal, transform, and evolve into a more loving and healthy relationship.

Some structure and awareness can help improve the chances of success of the healing separation. Unplanned and unstructured separations will most likely contribute to the ending of the relationship. This healing separation agreement attempts to provide structure and guidelines to enhance the growth of the relationship rather than contributing to its demise.

Key Elements of the Healing Separation Agreement:

1. Length of separation:

Most couples have a sense of how long of a separation they’ll need or want. It may vary from a few weeks to six months or longer.

2. Time to Be Spent Together:

A healing separation ideally should include some quality time together on a regular basis. This allows the opportunity to create a new relationship with each other.

3. Personal Growth Experiences:

Ideally a healing separation would include as many personal growth experiences as feasible, practical, and helpful.

4. Living Arrangements:

Experience has shown that the in-house separation, with both parties continuing to live in the family home, results in a less creative experience. It may not give enough emotional space to the person who needs it.

5. Financial Decisions:

Some couples will decide to continue joint checking accounts, savings accounts, and payment of bills. Other couples will completely separate financial aspects of the relationship.

6. Motor Vehicles:

It has been suggested that ownership and titles are not to be changed until a decision has been made about the future of the relationship.

7. Children:

When a couple does a Healing Separation, the goal is to minimize the emotional trauma for the children involved.

This article contains excerpts from the article, “Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends,” written by Bruce Fisher, Ed.D. The original copy article was sent to us from: Smartmarriages® Smartmarriages.com Subject: Time/Healing Separation/Way We Love/Village.


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Filed under: Separation and Divorce

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112 responses to “A HEALING SEPARATION With Goals

  1. I have reluctantly agreed to a constructive separation, have now become fully invested. Can anyone tell me if this will work?

  2. Have been separated now for 4 months but it has been a constant fight. Can you recommend any Bible studies or work books to help? I feel the article about healing separation is wonderful but need help carrying it out.

  3. I have recently separated from my husband for, I think now, the 8th time. :( I was so angry when I first left that I never wanted to be with him again…then as the dust settled from my anger, I began, very carefully considering the possibility of hope, again…but this time I know the 1 thing I can not do is lie to myself that everything is fixed and just agree to get back together without really any work or “healing separation” involved. I realize this is a horrible, dysfunctional, unhealthy cycle…for both of us, plus the kids. As of now we are both working on getting help.

    I like the guidelines in this article…he is the 1 that actually shared the link with me. I think the key to a successful reconciliation is one where both spouses are still committed to making it work but they have both reached a point to honestly take a look at themselves (not just the other) and be truly repentant and truly honest with themselves. For me, I can’t give in unless and until I can truly trust him again; I tend to live in denial…if there are any signs I see that lead me to believe otherwise and I overlook them (as I have done before) for myself or our kids, then I am not being honest and I know God can’t bless a lie, so again I have to speak up (in love) and be committed to working on it until trust is truly rebuilt…which would mean he has truly changed. It won’t be anything he says, it will be what I see, the unspoken observations. I just pray to the good Lord for His Will to be done. ♡