Many of the inquiries that I get are questions like "how to survive a trial separation." Or "how to overcome a separated marriage." It is very clear that most wives see the separation as something which must be endured. I completely understand this because this is how I viewed it during my own separation. To be honest, I almost saw my separation as a game. In pushing for a separation, my husband had laid down a challenge. And I was determined to save my marriage and emerge victorious from that game no matter the cost.

You can probably imagine how this plan backfired. Once I saw it as a game, my husband did also. And he also wanted to win. So as determined as I was to save my marriage, he became equally as determined to thwart me. It was only when I realized that my attitude might cost me my marriage that I forced a change which made a big difference in my ability to save my marriage. Below, I will outline how such a change can actually help you "overcome" your separation.

Don't See The Separation As Adversarial: When you see anything as something which must be "overcome" or "endured," you have already attached a very negative connotation to that thing. Once you do this, you are going to approach your separation as something that you must tackle or beat into submission. This is understandable, but it will often put on opposing sides with your spouse, which is EXACTLY the place that you don't want to be when you want to save your marriage.

In order for your spouse to willingly work with you, he will need to see you as his ally or someone with whom he can work toward a common goal. It's very important that you frame your separation as an opportunity to work TOGETHER. That is why the term "overcome" is misplaced. To get in the right mindset, we'll need to replace that phrase with something else. Let's try to substitute the word "grow" for the word "overcome."

Switch To A Growth Mindset: From my own experience, my attitude and my actions changed dramatically when I stopped thinking that I must conquer the separation and started to ask myself how I could grow from the separation so that it worked for me rather than against me. Also, moving toward a growth mindset allowed me to think kindly about my spouse. When I was able to see the separation as an opportunity to improve things so that we would both emerge happier, then I could also drop my resentment and anger toward my husband. As you can imagine, this change in attitude was welcome and, as a result, my husband became more receptive to me. Believe me when I say that you will eventually need a receptive spouse in order to save (and then maintain) your marriage for the long haul.

Understand That You Don't Need An Immediate Resolution: There is a real danger in wanting the separation to be over before it has accomplished any real growth or change. I understand this desire because it is exactly what I wanted. I hoped to just put a bandaid on my marriage and go on my merry way. However, now that I have a bit of hindsight, I realize that if I had been successful with this, I would likely be divorced today. That is why it is important to tell yourself that this a process, not a quick destination. Thinking long term allows you to take the time you need to bring about real change. Authentic, sustainable change is what saves a marriage. Quick fixes do not.

Believe That You Will Be Okay: When you believe that you have to overcome the separation, you take on a desperate mindset and are more likely to partake in unbecoming behaviors that will make you seem less attractive to your husband. It's very important that you believe in yourself during this process. Build yourself up in whatever way is necessary so that you can honestly say that even if this process does not get resolved in a timely or orderly fashion, you are still going to be okay. You are strong. And this process may mean that you'll learn the lessons to make you a better version of yourself.

Flipping the script in this way allows you to come from a place of strength rather than a place of weakness. It allows you to use a situation that you did not choose for your own advantage. It allows you to squeeze positivity out of a situation that, at first glance, looks very negative.

Demand Eventual Transformation: Make this separation work for you. I understand that you did not choose it. And believe me, I know that it is a very lonely and scary place to be. But if you dwell on those things, you make a permanent separation or divorce more likely. So you may as well embrace this process since it might actually improve your marriage if you learn from it. You may as well not suffer the uncertainty and loneliness for nothing. Consider it the price that you will pay for improvement and growth.

In short, you don't survive or overcome a separation, you work it until you squeeze transformation out of it. You flip the switch so that you triumph rather than merely survive.  I know that my pep talk may sound like a tall order, but I needed this mindset to save my marriage.  Without it, I would have gotten a divorce.  The whole story is here:

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