How Will I Know When It's Time To Reconcile With My Husband During Separation: Average Length Of Separation Before Reconciliation

When marriage trial separations are in order, there is no question about it - you are about to embark on a journey that will be painful, bitter, and will affect the rest of your life. Couples tend to think in the short-term and thus only see a part of the big picture. They'll tell themselves that they can move on from this and start fresh. However, contrary to this thinking, separating from someone you have married and loved and (for some) have had a family with can truly affect your life in the long-term, as well as the lives of your children, if any.

The truth of the matter is that the effect of marriage trial separations will not just be felt for the next few months following the separation, but onwards and throughout the rest of your life. How so?

- It affects your children's lives - No matter how many times you promise your kids that they will get to see the both of you even though one of you will be living in a different house, it does not take away the fact that your kids will have to get used to living in two different places, without their parents being together. You may not see this most of the time, but kids and teenagers will feel the pain of your separation as a couple, and this will be evident in their performance in school, as well as the way they will treat their friendships and relationships.

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- It affects your relationship with the children - You will also have to adjust in the way that you treat your children, no matter who gets custody of them. It is hard enough for them to try to see life the same way, and it will be just as hard for you to make them feel that they are not missing out on a normal family life. You will spend the rest of your life trying to prove to your children that true love and a happy marriage can and should co-exist without them trying to prove you wrong by using your failed marriage as an example.

Marriage trial separations are so incredibly stressful and upsetting on your part and your children's. Therefore, the best thing to do would not be to make any rash decisions when you feel like your marriage is going into shambles. Do what you can to save your marriage today, because you, your spouse, and your children will benefit from it later.

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To many of us, the struggle for intimacy may seem just as paradoxical. Most of us want to be intimate, to feel emotionally connected with another. At the same time, we want to be independent and self-sufficient. This conflict and tension is at the core of what it means to be human. To emphasize either need too much over the other is to tilt a person into a dehumanizing disequilibrium. If one only seeks a sense of closeness, one loses a sense of oneself as being loveable in one's own right. If one is totally independent of others, he or she is probably best put behind bars for being a psychopath. I remember a patient who once impregnated the receptionist at the hospital in which I worked and then blew out-of-town after stealing a friend's car. He was quite independent.

One of the biggest myths about relationships is that most break-ups occur because partners can't get close enough or because they can't communicate. This makes about as much sense as saying that most people die because their brains stop working. The coincidence is accurate, the causality is not. The paradox is that most break-downs in intimacy occur because partners are not sufficiently separate. By "separate" I do not mean giving each other the cold shoulder or ignoring each other. I am referring to keeping one's identity separate, valid, valuable, and whole without requiring the other partner to provide the missing pieces. If you feel unlovable and are too ashamed to admit it even to yourself, then you are likely to claw at your partner to restore your sense of worth. You will probably try to obligate your partner as if he or she were a parent, at the same time trying to change that parent. "If you loved me... " is a classic manipulation of guilt in this fashion. Such intrusiveness, arising from enmeshed personal identities, is far more responsible for break-ups than mere communication problems. In fact, most communication problems in intimacy derive from what's called "enmeshment" by therapists.

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While enmeshment is the most serious threat to intimacy, a total emphasis on independence is stunting. For example, you cannot have a good sexual relationship without losing your boundaries and merging with the other. The French have an expression for orgasm: "la petite morte" which translates as "the little death." Without the death of ego or self-awareness, sex is much less fulfilling. Also, if there are no occasions when you can lean on the other person, you will miss a lot of the good stuff: the back rubs at night, the shared sorrow that helps reassure that you're "OK", and other affirming reminders that you really are worth being cared for by another. Yes, it is important to learn to do it yourself. But it's also important to be able to choose when to let another do it for you. The key word here is "choice". Without choice, you will lose the balancing skills required to maintain a healthy intimate relationship.

Balancing is a good metaphor for relationships. Paradoxically, each of us wants to move in opposing directions at the same time. We want to be independent yet we want to merge. We want to rely on ourselves yet we want to be nurtured and affirmed by others. This balancing act needs a lot of skill. Just as the high acrobat must keep his mass in motion to approximate balance, we also must stay in motion by constantly choosing our priorities among opposing needs. If we freeze into rigid roles, our intimacy is lost to the nets below. If we ignore either our need for separateness or our need for dependence, we lurch into disequilibrium. And so, we must keep on choosing, never quite settled, never permanently satisfied with the status of things. We can never finally resolve our paradox. But if we accept it and dare to keep choosing, we probably can negotiate the tightrope of intimacy.

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I have been married for the past three years now and I have to admit that I don't have full authority over this matter as compared to those who have been married for 10, 20, 30, or more years. Yet, in these three years I have learned so much that my FATHER, our God the Father, didn't reveal to me.

I know why God didn't show me everything. I understand that He wanted me to discover it for myself. He knew that had He shown me, I would have backed out. Or maybe, even if He showed me, I still wouldn't have seen it for what it is. I was so overwhelmed with the love story that He created for me that I was just blinded from seeing what lies ahead of me.

My FATHER never told me that marriage is not just for happiness but for holiness. All I saw was a fairy tale. I have been waiting for my prince charming and so when God finally sent him to me, it was all I saw. What I am realizing now more than ever is that God uses marriage to purify us and make us holy. Others will probably say, "My marriage is just bringing the worst in me". Well, it is when we experience the worst that we know that God is exposing something from within us.

My FATHER also didn't tell me that submission is not going to be easy. I thought I knew everything about it until I got married. I am realizing now that if submission is easy, then it wouldn't be "as unto the Lord". Ephesians 5:22 (Amplified version) says... Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. Our submission to our husbands is done as a "service" to the Lord. It is not for the husband but for God. If it is so easy to submit to husbands, then it won't be an act of service anymore.

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I am also realizing more than ever that submitting to my husband is submitting to God's order. 1 Peter 3:1 says...

IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them].

This surely makes it easier for me to submit.

Another thing my FATHER never told me is that respecting my husband will be one big issue that I will battle with. I thought that because I married a bold and deep man of God, I will have very high respect for him. What I didn't realize is that my being a minister and deep woman of God will make me feel like I know more than he knows, or that I am more intimate with Jesus than he is. What I am realizing now, other than my pride issues that God keeps exposing through my marriage, is that "respecting" my husband is an order from God. It is not how I feel but what God says. And this is what He says in Ephesians 5:33...

Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly).

When I began to realize this and obeyed God's Word, I started having not only respect for my husband but high respect for him. I started seeing him from God's perspective. All it took was total obedience to God's Word. Now I know why my FATHER didn't reveal that to me previously. He wanted to test how much I will obey Him. Had it been so easy to respect my husband, then there won't be any need to obey God's Word with regards to that.

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My FATHER also never told me that the best way to instill change in my husband is not even by telling him about it but by being submissive to him. I have always been a very talkative girl. And God is so wise for giving me a husband who is equally, if not more than talkative. I was getting so frustrated trying to tell my husband what I want to see more in him. Then one day, as I was crying out to God, He led me to 1 Peter 3...

IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives.

When my FATHER finally revealed this to me, I cried all the more. It was a great realization. From then on I learned to keep quiet and lift up all my petitions to the Lord. Not too long ago my husband told me... If there is one thing you have to exercise more faith on, it is the fact that God talks to me about you.

Lastly, my FATHER never told me that in this marriage, I have to keep my mouth shut most of the time. This was a difficult realization for me. I have always fought for my rights... defended myself... and explained my side. Shutting my mouth when I believe I am right was such a struggle. This actually brought about a lot of our marital fights. It was during a tough time one night when I was complaining to God about my husband and He told me... I know what you're going through. I was mocked, insulted, spat at... That's when I realized that Jesus was making me more and more like Him. When I saw things from His perspective, I learned to shut up. Sometimes I still slip but I am getting better in this area. As a result, I am experiencing more peace in my marriage.

There are so many other things which my FATHER never told me and which He is beginning to reveal to me one by one as I walk this journey of marriage. I will be sharing more with you in the next issues to come.

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Divorce does not have to be your only option. Even if it feels as though your relationship can't be saved because of the ongoing conflicts between you and your spouse, it can be. There are techniques that you can begin using today that will not only stop a divorce, but will help also you build a stronger and more loving marriage.

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