TO SEPARATE OR NOT – That is the Question!

Separate Separation divorce AdobeStock_102819041 copyTo separate, or not to separate… THAT is the question! That question was settled when one of you left and took up residence at a separate location. Clothes and personal belongings may not have been moved, but you are living apart. The very word may bring fear to your heart, and you may not like it, but you are separated. And you may as well say it: “I am separated.”

Separation is not death, although it is most certainly the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). It is so near death that you may feel the same grief and pain experienced by those who release a loved one to death. But the shadow of death is not to be equated with death itself.

Restoration Process

Separation may be the valley of restoration. The pain you feel may be the labor pains that will give rebirth to your marriage. On the other hand, separation may be the beginning of the end. The fruit of your separation will be determined by what you and your spouse say and do in the next few weeks and months.

In a very real sense, separation calls for intensive care, much like that given to one in grave physical danger. The condition of your marriage is “critical.” Things can go either way at any moment. Proper medication is essential, and surgery may be required. That will call for the services of a counselor or pastor. What you do in the next few weeks will determine the quality of your life for years to come. Be assured, God is concerned about the outcome. You can count on Him for supernatural help.

Separation is not the time to capitulate. The battle for marital unity is not over until the death certificate is signed. The dream and hopes you shared when you got married are still worth fighting for. You married each other because you were in love (or thought you were at the time). You dreamed of the perfect marriage in which each made the other supremely happy. What happened to that dream? What went wrong? And what can you do to correct it?

Restoration of a Dream

The dream can live again, but not without work. It will demand listening, understanding, discipline, and change. It will require work that can result in the joy of a dream come true.

I know some of you are saying, “It sounds good, but it won’t work. We’ve tried before. Besides, I don’t think my spouse will even try again.”

Perhaps you are right, but don’t assume that the hostile attitude of your spouse will remain forever. One of the gifts of God to all men and women is the gift of choice. We can change, and that change can be for the better. Your spouse may be saying, “I’m through. It is finished. I don’t want to talk about it!” Two weeks or two months from now, however, your mate may be willing to talk. Much depends on what you do in the meantime, and much depends on his or her response to the Spirit of God.

Others of you are saying, “I’m not sure that I want to work on this marriage. I’ve tried. I’ve given and given. It won’t work, and I may as well get out now!” I am deeply sympathetic with those feelings. I know that when we’ve tried again and again without success, we may lose our desire to try once more. We see no hope, so we conclude that we have no alternative but to give up.

Losing Our “Want To”

Our emotions no longer encourage us to work on the marriage. That is why I never ask people, “Do you want to work on your marriage? I always ask, “Will you work on your marriage?” At the point of separation, we have lost much of our “want to.” We must now rely upon our will and not our emotions. We must remember our values, our commitments, our dreams, and we must choose to do what must be done to be true to them.

Where shall we go for help? For those who are Christians there is one stable source to which we turn when we need guidance —that source to which we turn when we need guidance. That source is the Bible. Non-Christians may or may not turn to the Bible. But the Christian is drawn by the Spirit of God to the Scriptures. In the Bible we find not only what we ought to do but also the encouragement to do it.

Even the non-Christian who sincerely seeks help in the Bible can find meaning in Paul’s statement, I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). When we come to Christ, we find the outside help we need to do what our own resources are inadequate to accomplish.

Renewed Determination

Sometimes separation brings a sense of emotional peace to the individual. That peace is mistakenly interpreted as an indication that separation and divorce must be right. One husband said, “This is the first week of peace I’ve had in years.” Such peace is the result of removing yourself from the scene of battle. Naturally you have peace; you have left the conflict! Retreat, however, is never the road to victory. You must come from that retreat with renewed determination to defeat the enemy of your marriage.

Separation removes you from some of the constant pressure of conflict. It allows time for you to examine biblical principles for building a meaningful marriage. It permits self-examination in which emotions can be separated from behavior. Separating may stimulate a depth of openness in your communication that was not present before. In short, it places you in an arena where you can develop a new understanding of yourself and your spouse. Separation is not necessarily the beginning of the end. It may be only the beginning.

This article comes from the book, Hope For the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed, written by Dr Gary Chapman, published by Moody Publishers. It deals with the question of dating while separated, how to relate to your children during this time, and ways to improve communication. Assignments are given to encourage growth both as individuals and as a couple. The ultimate value comes not in reading but in applying truth. It’s a practical book for both the separated husband and wife.

— ALSO —

The following are links to additional web site articles that could give you further insights when you read them:

SEPARATED BUT HEALING

SCRIPTURE SUPPORTS FOR SEPARATION FROM A DESTRUCTIVE SPOUSE

WHEN SHOULD A MARRIED COUPLE SEPARATE?

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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43 responses to “TO SEPARATE OR NOT – That is the Question!

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  What do you do if you’re both still living in the same house…one wants to get divorced and the other doesn’t …the one who wants a divorce doesn’t even want to try? (We also have a 3 year old and we’re 7 months pregnant with our second.)

    My husband is the one wanting to divorce. We have been together for 11 years and married for 4 years. My husband feels that I haven’t dealt with my parents divorce and this in turn is influencing my communication in my marriage. I do admit that i haven’t been able to communicate my feelings for a while now… but I really am working on it.

    11 years ago, I commited my life to the Lord and was baptized. But I also admit that I have dwelled so far from that path, that I’m not even sure if there’s a way to get back… but I pray everyday,

    Its been 3 weeks now that my husband told me that he wants to get divorced… and I feel like my life is turned upside down. I’ve prayed so much in this last 3 weeks that I actually feel guilty. I feel guilty because when times are now troubled, I seek the Lord… but before I wasn’t bothered… and I ask the Lord everyday to forgive for that.

    I just don’t know what I can do or say… my husband says that I need to sort out my issues but he wants a divorce and that’s final. Any help will be appreciated… I just don’t know what to do anymore.

  2. (NAMIBIA)  I have been married for 23 years. I loved my wife as if there was no tommorrow, until she told me she could not handle the love and respect I am giving her. At home I started getting the cold treatment. This broke my heart. I did not discuss this with anybody. I thought I was strong. I thought I could handle it. How wrong have I been!

    Sooner than later I started using alcohol. My wife noticed my alcohol use and on four occasions she asked for a divorce. I explained why I was drinking. It was because of her taking away what treasured the most, LOVING and RESPECTING her. I agreed on her terms. She later withdrew her plans but her attitude never changed.

    I stopped using alcohol and I tried to find out why the treatment. She kept quiet. I planned to leave the house because of her attitude. She is saying that if I plan to leave the house, I have to file for divorce. We have children and I hoped for the best in my marriage and our children. BUT I AM STRESSED BY THE WHOLE ISSUE. What should I DO?

  3. (UK)  I am 21 and married. My husband left Australia and came to live with me in the UK. Things haven’t been great with us. We have been arguing a lot these days. We have tried so many things but nothing is enough for him. He puts me down and started showing his temper by pushing me around and hitting on the chest. I have never seen him like this before. He asked me to give him a chance but I am yet not convinced. I don’t trust him and feel like he’s cheating on me with his female friend who texts him all the time and who gives him money in hard times.

    So many things have gone on; I feel like giving up. He did as well, and felt like separating, then divorcing, then he changed his mind by saying he still loves me and we should make things work as this is a marriage and not a normal relationship. I am just fed up.

    I don’t think I want to be with him right now, even though I see myself with him in the future. But I am scared I will end up getting hurt like I did in my past relationship. I am so confused right now and don’t know what to do.

  4. (USA)  I am a Christian and I thoroughly believe the Bible. I’ve been in a marriage with a man who unfortunately like so many other men, display the characteristics of the men in II Timothy 3:1-8. What I have found out from this type of man is that he does not display the characteristics of love because he doesn’t love anyone because he is without the natural tendency to love. He’s a deceiver, a lot of times a cheater, a user, a manipulator and basically a waste of time.

    Can GOD change him? Yes, if he wants to be changed, but I can’t change him and you can’t change yours either nor can we make them want to change. Will GOD change him? Yes, if when he gets ready to change he comes to GOD with his “FREE WILL” and asks GOD in sincerity to change him and works with GOD in effecting that change. But GOD is not going to change his “FREE WILL” just because he’s sinning, mistreating you and you’re hurting. Will he suffer consequences for his behavior? Absolutely, and it may include you leaving him, him catching a disease, him losing his job, house and friends among other things. But all your praying, fasting and hanging in there year after year for his change is not going to change his will, heart or behavior.

    You might want to start asking GOD for something else like: GOD, what do you have to say about this matter? Do you want me to continue to be a door mat for this person? Should I continue to put myself at risk for obtaining a condition out of stress or catching a disease that may affect my quality of life or end it too soon? GOD, I’ve heard what this one had to say and what that one had to say but LORD what is YOUR WILL in the is matter and for my life?

    After you pray please be sure to listen for a response from the Holy Spirit (remember James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him).

    In closing, our love for GOD was founded on a reciprocal basis meaning HE first loved us but we came to love HIM back. As humans we are created in GOD’s image and in HIS likeness but with far less tolerance, mercy and patience than HE. Therefore wouldn’t we also have the expectation of our love to and for our spouses being reciprocated or returned? This love that I’m referring to is not just the words it’s the actions as explained in I Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Also, doesn’t GOD have a plan for how husbands and wives are supposed to treat each other as stated in Ephesians 5:22-29? Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

    Doesn’t your spouse know these verses just as well as you and if so, then why don’t they love you this way? Even if they don’t know them love is a natural affection, it’s natural, either it’s there or it’s not and you can’t make someone love you. Why do you think the Bible says in II Corinthians 7:15-16, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

    I’m not quite sure why those scriptures are not on more of the message boards but I read something the other day that talked about the divorce rate in the church is just as bad as the divorce rate in the world so I’m not sure if the church tries to prevent divorce so we won’t look as bad as the world. But tell me who looks worse the divorced happy Christian that serves GOD freely or the sad, burdened, depressed and miserable Christian married to a spouse that doesn’t love them, doesn’t want them, is unfaithful to them and their still miserable but still holding on for GOD to change that person. What testimony does it bring to the world when that person that doesn’t love you anyway leaves you, divorces you and flaunts their new thing in your face or marries them or you hold on until you die and miss out on so much more joy and abundant life and before they can get you in the ground that person that don’t love you is openly seeing someone else. IJS

  5. (USA)  It’s not how we look to the world that matters. It’s how we look to God. We look our best to God when we demonstrate our love for him by obeying His Word.

    This world is temporary. God is eternal. Focus on looking good to God, not this world.

    1. (USA)  Tony, I stated what testimony does it bring to the world, not how does it look. You do understand what a testimony is and that you are the only Jesus that some people will see, right? Does the Jesus they see in you need to be weak and broken and praying to GOD for something over and over but never getting the answer your asking for? What about that is going to draw them to your Jesus? Also what about the rest of the post? Why didn’t you comment on that? IJS

  6. (USA)  Actually I did say look, twice, once in regards to the Christian message board so obviously the church cares and also in regards to people looking at our lives as a witness of what Christianity is like. If we’re the only Jesus they ever see and the picture they see is of nothing but pain and suffering all the time then why would they want what we have?

    Unfortunately what we’ve been going through is hard bondage and unnecessary bondage alot of the times and the world sees it and it can cause them to want no part of what we have. Didn’t Jesus come to set the captives free? Isn’t that what we tell the unsaved? Don’t we also tell them Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly? When do they see the abundant living in our lives as we’re going through this misery or are we faking/making like we’re not hurting in front of other people? If we are faking it the truth is bound to come out and when it does the world is going to be right there watching because they are curious about this Jesus and this salvation that people are talking about.

    So it matters, our witness matters, it matters to the world. They want to know that if they do come to this Jesus and accept this salvation and then run into problems that our GOD is going to answer their prayers and not be like the idols that can’t answer a prayer or bring about deliverance. At any rate the short synopsis of my post above “GOD is not going to change our spouses because we want HIM to, they have to be willing vessels so we need to rethink our priorities, what we want, can and will not deal with, pray and seek GOD’s guidance, listen and be prepared to move on if necessary. IJS

    1. (AUSTRALIA)  I don’t see how anyone can obey the God of the Bible and stay with evil. God hates evil, God hates wickedness, God hates violence. As for divorce, my Bible says “The man who hates and divorces does violence to the one he should protect” Malachi 2:16 (NIV 2011).

      Yes, of course, God condemned the mindless, cruel practice of Jewish priests and leaders divorcing their wives for trivial reasons, sometimes simply so they could get pagan wives. Women were treated as property, and God’s divorce laws were written to protect them in that society where they were so disempowered they could not initiate divorce, but if they were abused, they could ask the rabbi to grant them a divorce and if the husband refused, he could be whipped.

      Dr Instone-Brewer, professor of rabbinics at Tyndale House, has written a lot about this, especially in his book “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible”. That we continue to believe lies when we serve a God of truth must be a work of the father of lies , who loves to keep people in bondage. God, on the other hand, sets captives free.

  7. (CANADA) My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years but have been living separately for the last year. We’ve got a 3 year old but during the first 15 months of our marriage. I found out he’d cheated on me and was still in contact with the other woman and “wedding” talk was going on between them. It was a very difficult time for me and by difficult I mean DIFFICULT. I couldn’t eat or sleep and yet I was breastfeeding (my child refused to take formula and whole milk) but anyway to this day I still thank God this happened when I was still on maternity leave.

    So he played all sorts of tricks on me trying to hide the affair but with my hard work I found out the truth. I was forced to investigate a lot of things about this man and days later I discovered he’d lied to me about his family too. At this point I took my child to a friend’s house and went to the police to alert them about the possibility of a bad fight in our household. When he came back home from work that day, I told him about my findings and he dismissed them. I immediately phoned the police to come take him and shredded his all travel documents (I felt like I married a con man who was only using me to get legal documents & stay in the country). He wasn’t arrested but went to live with friends. They called me a few days later to have peaceful talks with him and have him return home. We did talk but there was never a heartfelt apology from him.

    I took him back but then all of a sudden my gut feeling told me to investigate his previous marriage. While we were dating he voluntarily told me he was in a “marriage” of convenience with a friend to get off student visa status in the U.S. The lady was a friend of his at work and that she was to do this for him for $1500. He also told me she had a boyfriend with whom they had a child. This child was born during the course of “their marriage” and so the mother chose not to have a father’s name on the baby’s birth certificate. I believed him when he told me all this. So when the time came to file for his immigration documents in Canada I watched him fight so hard to “erase” this child from his records. He beat immigration to it and the child was removed from his file.

    I was forced to look up his ex-wife and luckily I did get her and she gave me the full details of their marriage and what led to the divorce. It was never a marriage of convenience on her side and when she got pregnant he cut off from her/them. This was the reason she chose not have a father’s name on her baby’s birth certificate and filed for divorce. He was informed about the baby’s birth but lied he was out of the country. He never visited them even once and tried to deny paternity of the baby. In the end, she got full custody of their son and my husband was to pay child support, which he never did. Once again I was very heart broken and was in disbelief that he could treat his own child like this.

    He came back home and we talked about it. In his defense he claims all she ever wanted was money. I never got an apology from him concerning this child. It was a very difficult time for us, I suggested we go for counseling but he refused to listen to me. I could tell he was guilty for his actions but I just couldn’t trust him anymore and was always questioning his motives for everything he had done in the past. These events totally changed the way I felt about this man. I totally failed to see in him the man he pretends to be around people.

    So, he went back to school and during his first semester, I found out he’d been seeing another girl at the university. I confronted him about it and he tried to make a fool out of me. I was a little at ease this time, because I spoke to the lady herself and she told me she shrugged him off but he became a problem and tried to force himself onto her (not physically). I made sure I spoke to her in his presence on speakerphone. I never got an apology from him, other than it wasn’t serious. We stayed together. In August last year, he told me he had intentions to travel to the U.S. and meet up with ex and see how he can make amends for his son. I was ok with it because I always felt the earlier he made things right, the better for him. I asked him to reconcile first before suggesting financial assistance. He ignored my advice and went on about the re-union like he was proposing a business deal to his ex-wife and her current husband.

    When he returned home from the U.S. we got into a bitter argument and he hit me in front of our 2 year old. I called the police and they took him away. Since then we’ve been separated. I found out from phone statements that he was constantly calling another woman he’d probably met on that same trip. At this point I felt like there was no point getting back together. So he got a restraining order and hired a lawyer and managed to get away with assaulting me. The case dragged on for a very long time so it cost him a good $10k, which of course is an expense he blames me for. The crown prosecutor told me he’d reported I shredded his passport in the past and that there would be no hearing.

    In the meantime, his ex-wife and her husband served him adoption papers and he immediately hired another lawyer in the U.S. to fight them back. He lied to his lawyer that he made many attempts to see the child and that they were all denied. He forged many email addresses in the past sending them to his ex-wife pretending to be his sister checking on her and the child. She always thought he had a sister not knowing it was him sending her emails. Also during his immigration filing he forged email addresses pretending to be his ex-wife and sent them to himself firing back insults just so he could have his child’s records erased.

    Since our separation I feel happier and healthier. I do talk to him for the sake of our child. He turned the child adoption into a big scandal and that too he’s putting the blame on me. From what I’ve heard, he’s likely to lose this case and his lawyer abandoned him for telling lies and so did his all witnesses. My husband is a very nice guy on the surface, very people friendly and calm but deep down under his skin, he’s not alone. And that’s what scares me the most about him. He has tried so hard to make me believe that I’m a very ugly hearted woman. Sometimes it hurts me. I know he has tarnished my name in the community but I’ve started to think more about myself and not pay any attention to the negative remarks he makes. I wanted to divorce him earlier but the legal fees were too high, I couldn’t afford it. I also wanted some more time to reflect and think think think.

    I took a friend’s advice about divorce leaving people bitter and broke, which is what I didn’t want for myself. We’ve both talked about settling for the uncontested divorce, which is free after one year of separation and proof that all outstanding issues will be resolved. We’re left with only a month to go but I’m now getting nervous and anxious. As of last week I was getting emotional over reality versus ideal. My biggest worry though is the child custody battle. He claims he wants 50-50 yet during our separation he hasn’t had our daughter for more than 15 hours a week. Prior to our separation he was not paying a single dime towards her day care fees, because he was a student and wasn’t making much. But, he had all these loans from the bank that he was using to invest for himself and in all his investment deals, I wasn’t involved. That got us fighting a couple of times but he never got the point till we separated. Also he never disclosed his address to me until I asked him for the nth time.

    Currently he moved from the previous address but still hasn’t told me his new place of residence. Such things worry me about him and my daughter’s safety. I also have plans of re-locating to the U.S. sometime next year but I’m scared he might turn my plans upside down because I want to move with our daughter. A few friends have also warned me about the possibility of that happening. Sometimes I call him to talk and once we get into an argument he just hangs up on me. He’s the most selfish human being I’ve ever known. I strongly believe he’s a sociopath. His background is really tacky. I empathize with him; he was abandoned by his birth mum and his father gave him up for adoption. I hate to make excuses for him but that is huge. As a mom I can’t even imagine doing that to my child.

    I have gone through so much. I remember the times I cried and cried and cried and failed to eat, but I still had to get up and go to work and act like I have no major problems going on. I was drowning but I refused to sink and when I look back I can only thank GOD. It was GOD that kept us all on our feet. I prayed to GOD to help me and my child and my husband individually, and also to help us as a family. This whole experience has taught me that adult life was indeed never meant to be easy. I’m not yet where I want to be but the worst part is certainly over. The reality has finally sunk in that I cannot stay married to this man. Please pray for me if you’ve read my story. Pray for me that God protects me this kind of evil, that God helps me move on with my child and that I become a better and not bitter person from this whole experience. But most especially please pray for my husband. I don’t know if there might be another victim but I pray there’s an end to his behavior. I trust in God’s power to change people (including me). Please pray for us. Thank you and GOD BLESS YOU.

  8. (USA) My husband has asked for a separation via text message while I was at work. I’m hurt and relieved. We have been married for 5 years and together for 8. We have 3 kids 3, 4, and 5. Although I don’t want a divorce I believe that marriage can be more fulfilling than ours has been. He is emotionally distant and sometimes down right mean. He works night and I work days so his time with the children and I are very limited. On his days off when I want to spend time with him he says I don’t get a say in what he does on his days off. They are his. I have asked him why he wanted to get married and have kids at all when this is how he has treated us.

    And now his mind is made up. He will not talk about reconciling, only his exit strategy. I guess that I have to respect that he is willing to make sure that all the bills are caught up and that me and the kids will be ok when he leaves but dag this hurts. I feel guilty for looking forward to getting my home back in the condition it was in before we got together. I’m excited about the possobilities of what life could be like without him. I feel bad for feeling like a burden is being lifted off my shoulders because the kids love him and there is no such thing as an easy divorce with kids. I’m hurt, relieved and feeling guilty for both. Please pray for us.

  9. (USA) I have been married for 16 years. My wife has been thru a lot. I feel that she has not been healed from her past and I’m being abused. She allows her two children from previous marriages to disrespect me. She starts arguments and makes it look like I start it so that the children think bad about me.

    We have two children together, a 16 year old and also a 9 year old. I’m tired of her abusive behavior. One day she loves me and the next she doesn’t. What can I do? We tried counseling with pastors and professionals.

  10. (USA) My wife of 10 years says she wants out. There has been infidelity and trust issues. I have a business and have to travel. We have 2 children (11yr girl and 7 yr boy). Some very horrific things happened to her while she was younger. She has low self-esteem.

    I have control issues and trust issues. We are both both Christian but have moved away from Gods plan. First she asked for a separation and threatened if I did not give it to her the marriage was over. Then we agreed to go to separate counseling because she said she was not in love with me any more and she needed to fix herself. She went to one session. We agreed to take it day-by-day. I am so conflicted because even though she is so convinced that this is over she has internal conflict. She says things like “give me one more week” and we need to be apart so I can miss you.

    She is a stay at home mom and is the best mother in the world. But her parents are 6 hrs away. She says she wants to go back home and start her life over. We are 36. I don’t want my children 6 hours away. And God has told me to STAY. Everyone around me says it is over and I need to protect myself. I know I am 50% of the reason we are going through this. I understand that showing love and grace to someone who has turned from God may make them lose respect for me but I treasure my children, wife and our family. I just am conflicted on what path to take.

  11. Separation is a bad path. How can being apart lead to anything good? Enough time is spent apart going to work and other things people do. Instead of separating, why not take the opposite approach and create more together time to strengthen the bond? I had to learn this the hard way and hope others do not. What could be better than a solid loving marriage? Nothing! Together is good. Separate is not.

    1. I agree with you Mark, in about 98 per cent of the cases. But there are some instances where separating is better than not. For instance, if there is abuse happening and the abusing spouse is going through therapy to stop, it can help for them to be separate for a time. Sometimes they can’t stop the abusive behavior without a great deal of help. By living together, sometimes their anger is triggered and goes in a horrible direction. A time out, along with counseling and can help, if they are determined to do what is needed.

      Also, I’ve seen where the husband or wife is close to the end of being done, where no matter WHAT the other spouse would do, it wouldn’t matter. The offended spouse is done with the marriage. Before they get to that point, we’ve sometimes told them to back up a bit and allow the other spouse work on their issues and that spouse works on his or hers (we ALL have them) in a controlled separation setting, and then work to get back together again. I’d much rather see them separate for a time (no dating others) than divorce forever. But the purpose is to work to grow their relationship (through learning different skills, and unlearning some things, etc) towards reconciliation. It’s not ideal –it would be best if they could stay together and work together on their marriage. But if that can’t seem to happen, then a controlled separation is a better choice. But that should be a rare choice, rather than a common one.

      1. Cindy, thank you for your response. It is so unfortunate when abuse invades a relationship making separation a necessity. Of all the problems I’ve had in my marriage (all from external sources), abuse in any form was never an issue. If someone who has abusive tendencies can learn to take a deep relaxing breath before going at their partner, perhaps some separations could be avoided. I realize this is probably wishful thinking, but sometimes simple solutions do work. My hope is that what we post on here reaches people in such circumstances and opens a path to healing.

  12. Hello, I’m going through a difficult time right now. My husband and I have been married for 22 years and we’ve been Christians since we’ve been married. But two years ago we both decided to move to Fort Worth, TX. And so I moved first because he still had some work to finish where we used to live. He does construction work and thats what our plan was – to move his company to Fort Worth. And here we are on our two years and he still has not moved with me to Fort Worth; he keeps taking more jobs and tells me that when he’s finished with that job that he is going to move, but for some reason he keeps taking jobs one after another and every time I bring it up about him moving he gets mad. And here I am still waiting not knowing what his intentions are.

    It makes me feel that he does not want to move and be with me; I even mention to him that we would move back because I didnt want us to be separated it but he said no that we have our house in Fort Worth and when I asked him again when is he moving for sure to here and he gave me the same excuse he’s been giving me for the past two years. So, I have a feeling for sure now that he likes his single life since he’s been over there for about two years. He does not give me an acount of anything that he does or how he spends his spend money like crazy; and he does not want to put me in his personal checking account or his business account. I have to ask him for money to spend and I’m tired of living like this so I don’t know what to do. It hurts me when he comes to see me amd then he leaves again and he does not want me asking him questions in how much he makes or where he spends his money or what he does with his business, so I feel like he just doesn’t want or need a wife.

    I love him so much that I was willing to move back but he said no and he still has me on hold about when is he moving with us. I’ve tried to understand him and work with him and I just can’t take it anymore for us to be separated. It’s like that anymore I want us to be together. Sometimes I feel like a prostitute – he just comes and sleeps with me a few days, then he gives me money for my expenses, then he leaves again.? So, please help. I need to know what to do.

    1. Lorie, I’m going to be blunt with you. Your husband continues to do this because he knows he can. You are enabling his bad behavior. And he will continue to do this until you make it impossible for him to do so. He does not want accountability. He likes his “freedom” to make bad choices without any possibility of negative repercussions from you. You didn’t mention any concerns about him having another relationship going on with you being far away, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he is being faithful – at least not engaged in a physical affair. But is there a possibility that he has a porn addiction? The reason I ask is that if he does that would be another reason he keeps you at a distance.

      You say you are both Christians; have you sought any type of Christian advice/counsel from maybe a pastor in Fort Worth as to what he would recommend? You also didn’t say what your marriage was like before you moved to Fort Worth two years ago. Was it a close relationship where you spent time together as a couple – or was he too busy with his business to be really involved in your life even back then? Did you know more about his business and your finances when you were together…or has he always be secretive about money issues in your marriage. There is something about this whole situation that just doesn’t pass the “smell test” with me. I know if Cindy and I had to be separated for any length of time for me to complete a business deal before I could move to be with her, I would do everything in my power to get it done as fast as possible and then I would never take on another “job” that would keep me from moving to be with her.

      Lorie, no one can “tell you what to do,” but from your post it’s obvious you aren’t happy with this situation and you’ve made it clear to your husband you aren’t, so what can you do to make it 100% clear that this will not continue indefinitely? This is where you may need some help putting a plan together to present to him. This wouldn’t be a “suggestion” but a plan that you would put into place if he is not in Fort Worth by a certain date. For example, if he is not 100% moved to Fort Worth by __________, then you will either rent the house you are in or put it on the market to sell and you will return to your other home on____________________.

      You never said if you have gone back to be with your husband at any time during this long absence. Have you ever considered making a surprise (I mean unannounced) visit home just to spend time with him there because you’ve missed him so much?

      You have given him grace and patience for two years and now it is time for a plan of action – one that can’t change unless you BOTH agree it is for the best. There’s no doubt this is not an easy situation to “fix,” but it can be done. At the very least you need to find some Christian fellowship where you are right now so you aren’t all alone.

      We pray you can get your husband to see the light and have a change of heart.

  13. I have been married for 25 years next month. 5 weeks ago my 17 yr old son found out that my wife and best friend were having an emotional affair and came to me with the news. I am devastated. I have had severe depression for about 3 years due to financial strains. This put a tremendous strain on our marriage and I accept my responsibility for the grief and heartache I have caused. We went the next 3 weeks barely talking; she does not know what she wants and blamed me for her betrayal. I want to work on our marriage but she will not talk about anything. I am not sleeping or eating, lost 35 lbs in 4 weeks.

    Our marriage I thought was going to get better. I did not know she had mentally already left it. I moved out and have had so much guilt over it. I just thought she needed space without me clouding it up with my grieving. I have spoken briefly with her about my feelings but get only coldness in return, surface comments, the I love you’s but I don’t know. I have thrown myself into God’s word, read “one more try” by Gary Chapman, gave the book to her, got no response other than thank you. I know we could turn things around but it seems like she just does not want to try.

    I’m also under strain at work. My boss is the best friend she betrayed me with. I’m looking for another job but cannot just quit without income. I’ve left our business with her because it makes much more money than I do individually. My friend and I have made our peace, he is not leaving his family and they are trying to work on things. I don’t know that I should completely trust them, they are still liking each other’s pins on pinterest, which I have not mentioned to either of them that I know. I am going to a support group at church and have received a lot of encouragement from them, but it is still so painful. I finally realized I cannot make her love me if she does not want to. I have just put it in God’s hands. I’m praying for her, trying to send her encouragement to seek out God’s guidance. I don’t know what else to do. This article gives me some hope, I just pray separation was not a mistake.