Does Marriage Separation Help?

Sometimes, married life can be extremely stressful. The weights and concerns of everyday life can overwhelm even the most passionate love affair, and turn what was once a burning romance into little more than an ember. When this happens, some couples choose to have a trial marriage separation period to help them decide whether or not they are able to work through their differences. For other couples, religious or cultural rules might prohibit them from getting divorced from one another, and they may choose to live apart while legally remaining married.

Marriage separation is generally not the first step in trying to save a marriage. Many couples choose first to participate in marital counseling to try to work through their differences. Others seek out advice from religious leaders, or from family and friends. Many people have had success when participating in marriage seminars or couples retreats. Sometimes, a weekend alone without the kids and the stressors of everyday life are enough to help a troubled marriage begin on the road to recovery.

A legal marriage separation can be the first step toward a divorce. It can include rules about the custody of children, as well as child visitation and/or child support. It generally will cover the question of where the married people will live, who is responsible for debt, and whether or not there are divisions of property. Other couples may come to a less formal type of separation, with only verbal agreements between them that will address the issues.

There are no solid statistics that demonstrate how often a marriage separation ultimately leads to a divorce, especially in the case of informal marriage separations. Some couples have said that living apart on a trial basis has helped them to realize how much they truly miss and love the other person; other couples, after a trial separation, have gone ahead and filed for divorce. Marriage separation does not seem to be a cure-all solution to marital problems; however, it can in some circumstances help a couple to realize that they indeed do want to stay married to the other person.

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