Dr. Gary Chapman never asks troubled couples, “Do you want to work on your marriage?” Wanting something is a function of the emotions, and emotions rely on desire to get things moving.
Instead, he asks, “Will you work on your marriage?” The will involves a commitment and a decision to act. If a couple can say “yes” to that question, then good things can happen with the right guidance.
Some couples are headed for a divorce because they don’t know how to resolve their conflict. No one has ever explained to them how a structured time of separation can be a positive step in the right direction. Or if the idea has crossed their minds, they don’t know how to make it work on a practical level.
Another obstacle is fear that their mate will interpret the suggestion to separate as abandonment. In truth, a structured separation is an act of tough love that can lead to restoration. It’s a wake-up call to say, “Our marriage isn’t healthy, and we’ve got to do better.”
Properly handled, separation communicates to your spouse, “I love you too much to let you destroy yourself, me, and the kids. I’m not abandoning you. I’m telling you that I can’t be a part of what’s happening to our family. If you’ll get some counseling with me, we can work toward becoming what we hoped our marriage could be all along. Until you’re ready to do that, we can’t live together.”
You don’t have to let your marriage struggles go unchecked or endure a bad marriage for 5, 10, or 20 years only to give up and say, “I’ve had enough.” Our Focus on the Family Broadcast, “Holding on to Hope During Separation,” will show you how to intervene in your marriage to bring about healing and new life to your relationship.
I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book One More Try as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. You’ll also receive member-exclusive benefits. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).