Many couples, when going through a tough time in their marriage, look for a way to save it. They don’t want to give up on the marriage yet and are looking for a strategy they can use to improve the situation for their family. One strategy that is often discussed is a trial separation. Trial separations have worked for a lot of couples, but that doesn’t mean they are the perfect solution for everyone. Before you dive into this new strategy, below are some things to consider.
What is a Trial Separation?
If you have not heard of a trial separation before, it’s pretty simple. In a trial separation, you and your spouse agree to take some time apart from one another. This typically involves one partner moving out of the home for a period of a few months. This gives both you and your partner a little bit of space so that you can attempt to work things out peaceably.
When is a Trial Separation Helpful?
A trial separation is helpful if you find you and your partner are arguing all the time. When you spend all your time arguing, you don’t have much time for yourself to think. This can lead to making poor decisions or saying things in anger that you later regret.
With a trial separation, you also get a taste for what life might be like if you were to get a divorce. In some cases, this can make you appreciate your marriage more and be willing to work harder for it. In other cases, you may finally realize that a divorce is the best option for your family.
Of course, a trial separation isn’t a magical solution. According to Jacobson, Julius & Harshberger, divorce attorneys at ljacobonlaw divorce attorney Harrisburg, “In our experience, the things people need during this difficult time are support, people they can lean on, answers they can understand and advice they can trust.”
Tips for a Successful Trial Separation
If you think a trial separation might be good for both you and your spouse, there are a few tips you can use to improve the chances of success. To start, you should work out the details of the separation with your spouse before you start it. Talk about who will be leaving the home, how spending time with your kids will work, and anything else you need to talk about.
Next, you should set a goal. What do you want to accomplish by the end of this separation? Both you and your spouse need to be on the same page about what the purpose of this separation is. For example, if one of you wants to reconcile after the separation, but the other one doesn’t see it happening, then a trial separation won’t work.
Once you agree to the separation and its goal, you should then set some ground rules. How often will you communicate? Who will get to use the family car? Will you be allowed to see other people? If the person leaving the home needs to return for something, should they call ahead? Setting ground rules from the beginning will help to eliminate arguments during the separation. Spend some time in open communication with your spouse and set the rules you’d both like to follow going forward.
Finally, use a trial separation in conjunction with other strategies. Simply separating from one another for a period of a few months often won’t do the trick. For example, during your separation, you could both be attending a weekly marriage counseling session. This would allow you to continue to dialogue and communicate during the separation.
How Not to Use a Trial Separation?
One fatal mistake that many couples make is using a trial separation to avoid their problems. If you and your spouse are arguing about something, simply leaving the home will not solve it for you. Using a trial separation in this way will only put off the problem and make it harder to deal with. This is why it’s important to continue to work on your marriage issues, even when you are living in separate locations.
Is a Trial Separation Right for Your Marriage?
A trial separation isn’t right for everyone. Some couples find that it does not help their problems, while others find it really helps them gain some new perspective. You will need to consider your own circumstances and decide what is best for your marriage. If you do decide to try it out, be sure you use the tips mentioned above and continue to have a dialogue with your spouse. In this way, you can hopefully rescue your marriage and go forward with a healthier relationship.
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