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Can a Separation Save Your Marriage

Can a Separation Save Your Marriage?

Sharmen Kimbrough and Dr. Lenne’ Hunt of the Marriage Recovery Center are joined by the center’s Program Manager and Director of Operations for a Q&A on Separation – what is it, who needs it and how it can help or hurt a marriage. They address the most common questions and concerns that they hear from women, including Can a separation save your marriage?,

Don’t most separations end in divorce? How do I know if a separation is what my marriage needs? How do I broach the subject with my husband? What if a separation is not financially or logistically feasible, or I don’t want to put my children through that’ and other fears that keep many women feeling paralyzed and trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage.

Life coach Lee Kaufman and licensed therapist Dr. John Hudson speak candidly about divorce, separation and why so many couples stay stuck in abusive relationships. They talk about why a separation is often needed to propel the relationship in a new direction, and what sets apart the couples who end up divorcing versus the ones who end up reconciling.

Can a Separation Save Your Marriage? A Pathway to Healing

Marriage is a complex journey, often filled with challenges, and sometimes, couples find themselves at a crossroads where they contemplate separation. However, before viewing separation as a precursor to divorce, it’s essential to consider it as a therapeutic tool that can lead to healing and growth in a relationship.

In a conversation between experts they delve into the statistics surrounding divorce, the reasons behind the high divorce rates, and how therapeutic separations can offer a viable alternative. Their insights shed light on the importance of personal growth, effective communication, and professional guidance in navigating the complexities of marriage.

Understanding Divorce Statistics

We begin by acknowledging the reality of divorce statistics, recognizing that many marriages end in divorce. We discuss some key statistics, including:

  1. The U.S. has the sixth-highest divorce rate globally.
  2. The current divorce rate is nearly double that of the 1960s, though it has decreased from its peak in the 1980s.
  3. 41% of all first marriages end in divorce.
  4. 60% of second marriages end in divorce.
  5. A staggering 73% of third marriages end in divorce.

These statistics highlight a recurring theme: people who believe divorce is a reasonable solution may continue to experience it, often without fully addressing the underlying issues in their relationships.

Challenges in Christian Communities

Interestingly, the experts discuss how even within Christian communities, where there are strong faith-based reasons to maintain marriages, divorce rates are comparable to those among atheists or agnostics. This raises questions about why some individuals within these communities are not working to preserve their marriages.

Addressing the Issue

The experts emphasize that the statistics should not discourage people but rather motivate them to explore alternatives that can lead to healthier relationships. They discuss the importance of understanding why divorces occur and how therapeutic separations can be a pivotal part of the solution.

The Role of Therapeutic Separations

The conversation shifts towards exploring the role of therapeutic separations in addressing marital issues. Therapeutic separations are not about giving up on a marriage but creating a structured space where couples can focus on individual growth and healing. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Personal Growth: Before working on the relationship, individuals need to address their personal issues and unhealthy behavior patterns. Separation provides an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.
  2. Target Behavior: Couples often engage in negative patterns of behavior. Separation allows them to step back and learn to respond, rather than react, to their partner’s actions.
  3. Individual and Couples Counseling: Effective therapeutic separations incorporate both individual and couples counseling. This ensures that personal growth and relationship improvement happen concurrently.
  4. Fluid Timeline: The timeline for a therapeutic separation is fluid and depends on the couple’s progress. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as it’s essential to focus on the quality of the work rather than rushing through it.

The Four-Part Process

To achieve success with therapeutic separations, the experts outline a four-part process:

  1. Outside Perspective: Seek guidance from professionals who can provide an objective view of your relationship and highlight areas that need improvement.
  2. Work: Understand that change requires effort. Commit to putting in the work, both individually and as a couple, to address issues constructively.
  3. Planning: Create a clear plan with specific goals for personal growth and relationship improvement. Be prepared to revise the plan as needed.
  4. Forgiveness: Let go of past wounds and approach your partner with forgiveness. This allows for a fresh start and enables couples to embrace positive change.


Navigating a therapeutic separation in a marriage can be challenging, but it offers a pathway to healing and revitalizing a relationship that might otherwise end in divorce. By understanding the statistics, acknowledging the need for personal growth, and following a structured process, couples can increase their chances of success in rekindling their love and creating a healthier, more fulfilling partnership. Remember, the journey to a better marriage begins with a single step towards understanding and positive change.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: What is DARVO in Narcissism?

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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