How To Work On Yourself During A Separation: Getting Your Life Back When You're Separated And Trying To Save Your Marriage

I often hear from wives who are discouraged while they are waiting for their husband to determine what he wants to do about their marriage. Often, there isn't a lot of certainty about the future of the marriage or whether it can be saved. And while the wife may hang onto her husband's every word or analyze the situation endlessly in those early weeks, sometimes it's clear that a resolution isn't going to be right around the corner. When this happens, many wives intuitively understand that they need to concentrate on themselves and on their own lives while they are waiting. But many do not know exactly how to do this.

I heard from a wife who said: "my husband and I are separated. Things are up and down with us. Sometimes, we do a little better and it looks like we might reconcile. But then whenever I try to move forward, my husband will stall and say he's not sure if he's ready to move back home. There are times when I wonder if he even knows what he wants. When we first separated, I thought that things would be resolved in a few weeks. I see now that this is clearly is not going to happen. I know that I should get my own life back and focus on myself, but I'm not sure how to go about this. I worry that focusing on myself might mean that I'm giving up on my marriage. How do I move on without letting go?" I will try to address these questions below.

Focusing On Your Own Life Doesn't Mean That You're Giving Up On Your Marriage: I know that this is a difficult time. You are often torn because you know that sitting around and waiting isn't really doing you any good, but you worry that focusing on yourself might imply that you are moving on when your intention is anything but that.

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It's my opinion that focusing on yourself does not mean that you are throwing in the towel on your marriage. Frankly, I find that it often helps wives to save their marriage because it takes away that sense of panic and urgency that often hurts the reconciliation process more than it helps it.

In order for this to work well, you have to balance your focus on your own life with your efforts to save your marriage. In this situation, the husband had moved out. The wife had an awful lot of time on her hands where she wasn't even interacting with her husband. So, there was no reason that focusing on herself needed to interfere with her reconciliation efforts. She was concerned about if (or how) she could discuss this topic with her husband. Some wives choose not to say anything and to just change their behaviors. Sometimes, their husbands can't help but notice the change and they will ask about it. At that time, the wives will usually respond with something like: "I've just decided that while I'm waiting to see what happens with our marriage, I'm going to focus on improving myself and my own level of happiness. Maybe doing so will even help our marriage, but I figure it can't hurt to try to do some self work on my own." In this way, you're reassuring him that by no means are you giving up on your marriage, but you're also showing him that you care enough about yourself to make your own needs a priority.

Believe it or not, many wives are pleasantly surprised to find that this actually improves their situation. The husband will usually feel a little more compelled to move a bit more quickly because it's clear that the wife is no longer sitting at home and idly waiting on him to make up his mind.

Ways to Get Your Own Life Back While You're Waiting To See What Is Going To Happen With Your Marriage: It's my opinion and experience that while you're getting your own life, you shouldn't do anything that is going to put your own marriage in jeopardy. I certainly don't advocate dating other people (if you're still invested in your marriage,) although I see no problem with going out with your female friends. It's also a good idea to pursue your hobbies and passions. Some people decide to take a class, join a group, or pick up a hobby that they've long abandoned but have always missed.

You want to focus on things that bring you happiness, stimulate you, and make you excited to get out of bed in the morning. It helps to have other things on which to place your focus instead of only the frustration of your marriage. This will usually lift your spirits. And when you are happier, you will often have more successful interactions with your husband which in turn could improve your marriage. Take constant inventory of what you do have to be grateful for and place your focus there. I think you might be very happy with the results.

Finally, you want to identify yourself as an individual instead of as a married person who isn't sure what her marriage holds. And I don't mean this in a negative way. Many people tell me that they worry that beginning to live apart from their husband puts their marriage in jeopardy. I don't look at it that way. I look at it as focusing on yourself so that you are no longer living your life on hold. Honestly, once I did this, not only did it make my situation more bearable because my happiness level went up, but my husband became more interested in me again and this was the catalyst that eventually helped us to save our marriage.

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Marriage is an adventure. A successful marriage is like an adventurer going on a hike through the Arctic or trekking to a mountain peak in Nepal. Just as adventurers need the proper tools and equipment to achieve the desired goal, so do marriage partners. Some tools that an adventurer to a victorious marriage need are love and commitment, as well as hope or self-confidence through wise decision-making. Men and women who desire a marriage that last into eternity are challenged to make the adventure of their marriage, successful.

Sport enthusiasts can compare a successful marriage to their respective sports. Although plans are carefully made, often they do not go the way planned. However, love and commitment for the sport keeps the adventurer going when the terrain is rough, the water is choppy or the weather is stormy. It is the same in marriage; love and commitment to the marriage will keep the couple from divorce when times are difficult. Just as an adventurer shows his/her love for sports in different ways, so does a marriage partner. Some sport enthusiasts have only a short time to spend on their sports, so they spend every moment that they have wisely. Men and women who want to achieve the goal of a successful marriage should share quality time together.

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When adventurers go rock climbing or white water rafting, they hope that their plans will enable them to complete the task. The adventurer places his/her faith in the necessary tools that will ensure safety. You have the confidence that wise decision-making will help your adventure be successful. That is the way it is in the adventure of marriage; you need the tools of hope and faith to achieve a successful union. A wrong decision can take you into the deepest valley and into rapids of turmoil that can challenge a marriage. Couples who turn to God in their time of mayhem and distress find hope and self-confidence through their wise decisions.

Adventurers never want failure. Marriage partners should not always have failure or divorce in the back of their minds. Like sport adventurers, marriage adventurers can achieve their goal of success through commitment, wise decision-making, open communication and seeking protection from the storms of life. Men and women who seek and read God's word can find guidelines for a successful marriage adventure.

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Are you looking for guidance on how to be a good Christian wife? If so, here are seven things you simply must do.

1. Pray for your husband. The world is a difficult place for a man. They are competing in the marketplace for jobs, feeling the weight of the financial burden of providing for a family, and having to deal with many stressors beyond their control. They are also in a world that increasingly assaults their masculinity.

2. Speak clearly and directly to your husband. Men use fewer words than women do. They want to get to the bottom line of the message quickly and they also process one aspect of an issue at a time. Women like to explore all aspects of a subject at the same time as well as give hints about what they really want. Give your husband the gift of direct and short messages he doesn't have to work at interpreting.

3. Have your own support system. Too many women expect their husbands to handle all their emotional needs. Men aren't equipped to do that. They don't understand their wives emotional ups and downs and they don't understand how to respond to them. They want to solve the problem and don't get it when we just want empathy. Men aren't capable of being girlfriends.

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4. Accept his relationship with his mom. There's something about the two women in the kitchen that transfers to the two women most important to a man. It is hard for us to accept that there is something between our husbands and their moms that we don't share with them. Our mother-in-laws will always see them as their little boys. We will feel the same way about our sons. Unless their relationship is really dysfunctional and ruining yours, let it be.

5. Be his partner. The two of you joined together to have a life together. Figure out how to take care of your needs and goals while prioritizing filling in the gaps that your husband can't fill. This way you are his helpmate and you are a valuable team member. Also make time for being with him doing things he likes.

6. Be an independent woman. He was attracted to you as a single woman. He saw you as a person he respected and admired. You need to continue to have interests separate from your husband and to have different opinions. He needs to see you as a person and not just his wife.

7. Accept him as a spiritual leader. Not all men lead their families spiritually by having sit down devotions. Some lead by example through hard work and good character. Some lead by their strength and desire to protect. Others lead by teaching life lessons. Accept whatever form of spiritual leadership your husband offers rather than making him feel like he is a failure as a spiritual leader.

You simply must do these seven things to be a good Christian wife. Your husband will absolutely love the new you and you will love your new man!

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The have heard that old saying...'you can choose your friends, you can't choose your family' and never has this been more aptly applied than with your son's wife, the mother of your grandchildren, it's too bad to, there have been times you wish you could have picked out 'the girl', however, your son found her, fell for her, and married her - because he could!

You've heard or known of those daughter-in-law(s) from hell ~ the too young, snotty, mean, unforgiving, awful, selfish little snits that somehow managed to latch onto those people you love most, your sons.

All too often, you give and give and they never seem to be glad they got and got and turn all of your good intentions into acts of ugliness for whatever reason.

What always comes to my mind when hearing of these selfish little ninnies is how on gods earth did he choose her in the first place? You thought you raised him with keener 'pick the right girl' skills, we all did you know.

Should you be one of those very unfortunate mothers that have inherited 'the wrong daughter-in-law', please keep in mind that you are not to blame, you are not the one that has to live with her (thank god), and try to keep in mind 'what goes around comes around', for your own peace of mind.

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Try to keep an open line of communication between you and your son, always try to keep in touch with your grandchildren, they're the ones that stand to lose the most when they can't see grandparents who love them, and pray that someday the daughter-in-law will grow up and come to see the folly of her ways. Don't hold your breath...

Perhaps the most important person to work with here is your son - he isn't going to choose sides and leave his wife (yet) just because you wish he would or could. His knowing that you are there is perhaps the most essential thing he needs to know.

Life choices and experience will usually win the day. If you've always been close to your son and he soon finds that 'the wife' has made him lose all contact with members of his family and he is buried under hers, he will eventually come to wonder - 'what the heck happened?' In the event the situation is severe - with total alienation and little or no contact - you could talk with a family therapist about an intervention with families, yours and hers. Especially if there are grandchildren who are being kept from knowing you - intervention allows a safe place to calmly talk over real issues, her insecurities, his inability to control who his children can see and when.

If an intervention is totally out of the question, you may have to give your son time to come to grips with the ugliness of his choices and move on with your life, if they refused and you've been trying and trying to keep up a brave front, cry again and move on...if you've helped them financially in the past, not contact them or make any attempt to keep connected at this time.

Serious marital discord usually leads to severe problems down the road - when that happens your son will have no place to turn when the proverbial 'sh__ hits the fan' and it will if he has any backbone at all, it always does, though it could take years. Oftentimes there are just too many things going on - your son is being yanked in too many directions and his judgments are cloudy and confused at best.

One suggestion for in-the-mean-time would be to keep a scrapbook with entries of your sense of loss and frustration with your situation, write a monthly entry expressing your love and prayers for a future relationship with him and his children (with or without his wife). Insert photos that chronicle events of your family enjoying time with relatives and siblings that will be heartfelt when and if he comes to his senses.

Once you've done everything in your power to have a peaceful, loving relationship with your daughter-in-law, back away, let your son come to you, he will if you had a close relationship before she came along. Forgive her in your heart and pray for your son and grandchildren.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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