Separation for the Purpose of Reconcliliation

Aug 29, 2022

Fifty percent of all marriages in this country end in divorce. Christian marriages are no different than non-Christian marriage when it comes to this statistic. 65% of all divorces are due to infidelity. Sexual sin and brokenness bring hurt and devastation to many marriages.

Restoration is possible. Many couples don’t find the restoration they desire because the thing they need most is the thing that feels the most counter-intuitive…separation.

While every situation is different; every person is different; every marriage is different; we almost always advise couples navigating infidelity to separate.

Separation after an affair is the opposite of what you think should happen. Shouldn’t you beg them to come home? Shouldn’t you promise you will do anything if they will just choose you? Shouldn’t you try to prove how much you love them? Shouldn’t you overlook their infidelity and just hope you can convince them to love you again?

Separation was something that Trisha would have never chose on her own…in fact she begged me to come home. But our marriage is restored today because she listened to a counselor from Focus on the Family when they advised her to kick me out.

We believe in restoration. We believe God can bring any marriage back from the dead. We believe that there is no one, and no marriage beyond the radical redemptive power of Christ. But separation gives each person the time and space to pursue what only Christ can give.

Here are the benefits of separation for the purpose of reconciliation:

1. Separation prevents more damage being done because of proximity.

Separation sets boundaries. Separation creates ground rules. Separation allows each person to heal without having to share space when one or both aren’t emotionally ready for a conversation or confrontation.

2. Separation can help foster brokenness and repentance.

 For me personally, separation broke me. Separation caused me to realize the severe consequences of my choices. Separation brought a huge dose of reality to what my life would be like seeing my kids on Wednesday and every other weekend. Separation allowed me to seek God and find desperation for Him even above my desire to be married.

3. Separation brings a sense of appreciation and anticipation back into the relationship. 

 When a husband and wife choose separation, it gives that relationship a chance to hit the reset button. They begin to appreciate each other again. They miss one another. They don’t take each other for granted as easily, because they get a front row seat to what life could be like without the other. Separation can bring both spouses to a place of gratitude. Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement.

Separation works when both people are committed to restoration. Separation works when both spouses are willing to own the dysfunction they brought into their marriage. Separation works when both husband and wife are committed to allowing God to change them and heal them as they work toward living together again. (Separation also only works if both are committed to marriage counseling.)

Should everyone who has experienced an affair separate? No. Should everyone consider it and talk about it with a counselor? Yes.

Not separating appears easier. Not separating saves others perception of you. Not separating allows you to pretend like things are okay even though they aren’t. Our experience is that not separating often cuts short the healing process.

There are no shortcuts to recovering from an affair. The path is long and it hurts like hell. There are times that you will have to choose the exact opposite of what you feel, so you can have the opposite of an affair…restoration.