While many couples experience marital separation as a bridge to transition between marriage and eventual divorce, that is not the case with everyone. Some reunite, using the time apart to pray and process, sorting out soul wounds and seeking healing.
It is a time when we are vulnerable, suspended between the hopes we held for our vows and our lives, and the unknown future of a life that may look nothing like what we prayed or planned.
In significant ways, legal marital separation allows us to examine our hearts alongside those elements that contributed to our marital distress. Here, we can experience an altar of sorts, where we encounter a rebirth and a personal rebuild in this period of stillness with the Holy Spirit.
For those of us who choose to restore marriage following a marital separation, we need the care that the Holy Spirit administers through comfort and counsel. Deciding to rebuild with our spouse begins with our own heart’s need to reset with God. We may experience a range of emotions and entertain endless questions, but we do not have to navigate it alone.
Spiritually, we have the backing of a Father who loves us and longs to care for the needs we cannot tend. Practically, He connects us with counsel and community to walk us through the nuances of in-between seasons, with the confidence that He completes what He begins (Philippians 1:6; 1 John 3:2).
The Word of God is not a magic wand that waves away the challenges that marked our history with our spouse. It is significantly more powerful, working from the inside, to bind hope to our despair, joy to our discontent, and peace to our confusion.
Although we desire to reconnect and reunite with our spouse following a time of legal separation, we must remember that we cannot control another human being. Only God shapes hearts, as humans respond to the Holy Spirit’s touch. While he or she chooses out of free will, we can act with godly influence, while keeping our hearts open to the wonder of God’s glory revealed in and through us.
We know that some situations will not change without supernatural intervention, but our commitment to work with God and our mate causes us to recognize and refocus our attention. We can inquire with the Holy Spirit, asking where He wants to redirect our gaze and reset our vision. Here, the Holy Spirit transforms us, manifesting change from within and allowing that to flow into our marriages.
When we choose to speak words of life, we make use of the living word of God. We demonstrate confidence in Scripture and in who Christ has made us to be, as His ambassadors and ministers of reconciliation.
Seek the Spirit of God.
Asking for His wisdom and insight welcomes the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in restoring our homes and marriages. We’re responsible for following Him. He takes responsibility for bringing to fruition what He wants to do and how He wants to do it. What we do know is that He changes the atmosphere and our attitudes with life-giving Truth and words that come out of our mouths.
Shift the atmosphere.
Practical preparation is the evidence of our faith. Believing God for our reunion means that we make our lives ready to receive the anticipated restoration. God is doing the same in our hearts. We learn to partner with Him, clearing out the clutter that would push Him and our mate out. A marriage and family reunion may require edits we hadn’t expected.
As we prepare our homes and our habits, the Holy Spirit may nudge us to shift certain behaviors and adapt our environment to create a welcoming space in our hearts where our new, yet existing marriage can thrive. It might look like nonsense to those who have witnessed the evolving narrative of our marriage, separation, and now the beginning of restoration. We have nothing to prove or validate to anyone.
Believing God for the impossible may draw us out of what used to seem ordinary and normal. When we restructure our lives, schedules, and activities to accommodate what we expect from God, we behave as if the Word of God is not only certain but is true for us.
Though our positive words and affirmation will encourage and affirm our mates, speaking life shifts our mindset. When we commit to honoring the Lord’s Word more than rehearsing the temporary difficulty of our situation, we release faith to work on our behalf.
While we do not always see changes immediately, speaking in alignment with God’s Heart changes ours. We can reflect Him more readily. Our hope persists, and we build our thoughts, words, and actions around our expectancy.
Fostering the habit of speaking life emboldens our faith, patterning us after our Father, not just in identity, but also in action. Even when we would be tempted to complain or rush through the process, we can cultivate a delightful discipline that continually resets our confidence in the Lord, despite the obvious challenges along the way.
The process of rebuilding after separation is not easy, but we can learn to glorify God and edify our spouse by selecting the words and the focus that positively shifts our world.
Surrender the outcome.
It does not mean that we deny reality when we choose to believe in difficult situations. Transferring faith from our limited knowledge to His Omniscience deepens our hope in Jesus. We follow the process and surrender the outcome.
Christ is our confidence, who fills our contentment, but that is not limited to resuming life as the couple we once were. The reunion may not look like the honeymoon at first, but our willingness to begin again with the One who makes all things new resets our hearts in hope.
It may be awkward as we sort out how to navigate the practical elements of household responsibilities in addition to building a friendship, learning to date one another again, and navigating the dynamics of emotional and physical intimacy. The road ahead may seem long, considering what we have already endured.
We can take comfort and courage that the Holy Spirit is at work in the details and the grander landscape. He is bringing the unseen realm of our faith into the visible and tangible environment. Asserting our faith through ongoing prayer and affirmation underscores our belief that He is working for our good, even in the messy middle (Romans 8:28).
Surround with support.
We may experience a surge of emotion in anticipation of reuniting with our spouse. While there may be some excitement, there may also be some fear of the unknown and even concerns about sabotaging the process.
Although the nature of our marital challenges may be personal, we need to surround ourselves with a community of people who will not judge or betray our confidence. We don’t have to unveil everything unfolding in our marital restoration, but God will connect us with trustworthy confidants.
Having a fellowship circle can support us through prayer, encouragement, and recreation. The wisdom and joy of friendship ease the weariness and angst that tends to settle in when we’ve been in an extended fight for family and a test of faith.
Next steps for rebuilding after marital separation.
Christian couples counseling allows separated couples to work through the transition of reuniting and rebuilding after marital separation. It provides space to enhance your connections in all the places that matter: with the Lord, yourselves, and each other.
In committing to the next steps that God invites you to take in your relationship with Him and your spouse, help is available. Schedule an appointment to meet with me or another Christian counselor in our online directory. We will help you gather the tools and techniques needed to navigate this time of transition where you and your spouse seek to come home, restoring God’s vision of marriage in your life.
“Overwhelmed”, Courtesy of Nik Shuliahin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Prayer”, Courtesy of Ben White, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Dependence”, Courtesy of Milan Popovic, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Love”, Courtesy of Mahkeo, Unsplash.com; CC0 License
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