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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

MARRIAGE: Husband Wants a Separation
Letter #: 384654
Category: Marriage

Original Letter

My husband wants a biblical separation, but he's wanting to go all the way to Florida while my daughter and I are in Arkansas. He's saying he'll be there for over a month and doesn't know when he'll come back. I don't know what to do. I respect a separation, but how can we start to grow back together if he's so far away? Isn't part of a healthy seperation having frequent visits with the child/children and being able to come together now and then for a healthy date? Isn't it about slowly coming back together rather than being completely out of reach until my husband feels like coming home? 

I'm hurting so much. I want to be strong for God and my daughter, but my family is hateful and controlling. His family doesn't like me. My only form of income is through my husband's cousin, who has been flirting with me since all of this has happened. That's super stressful. I can't stand it, but I have no other job I can get. I can't even drive. I don't know how I'm gonna go get groceries unless it's getting a ride through my husband's cousin. 

I just don't know what to do. I feel like I'm being abandoned more than a separation is happening. I know I messed up. I know we both messed up, but I want to make things right for the Lord and my family, and I just don't know how I can when he's going to be so cut off from us. I want to give him his time, but I don't want him to be physically away from me for over a month. It feels like too much to bare. I even really wanted to try the Love Dare out, but I can't now. It doesn't come with a long distance guide. My husband says this is the best way for God and us, but I just don't see how that much distance for that long could help us grow closer to God and grow closer to each other...

Elder Response

I'm not familiar with the term "biblical separation," so I hope I'm not misunderstanding your situation, Windy. It sounds like your husband wants a time of complete no-contact with you; he doesn't want to have even infrequent visits, and he's not willing to put a time limit on his absence.

I think, given all of that, there's a very strong possibility that he has decided that he doesn't want to be in the marriage any more, and this "biblical separation" is a first step in the direction of a more permanent break-up.

Of course, I could be wrong -- I hope I am. But you need to take care of yourself and your child, and that means preparing for the worst. It's not okay for you to be so dependent on your husband's cousin, especially since he  may have romantic expectations about you. For that matter, I don't think it's healthy for you (or anyone) to be so completely dependent on any other person. The best way to be in a relationship is because you choose to, not because you need to.

So, instead of focusing on how much you want your husband to be with you, and how bad you feel about what he's doing, you need to look at what must happen in order for you to stand on your own two feet and take care of yourself -- and what steps you can take to get there. First, learn to drive. That's part of being a grown-up person in our culture. Second, get a job -- you say that you "can't" do that, but what's preventing you? Third, find out what kinds of resources are available if it does turn out that you are going to be a single parent. What sorts of agencies might be able to help you? Even though your family is "hateful and controlling," can they give you a hand until you get on your feet?

I'm sure that, as a Christian, you know the saying "the Lord helps those who help themselves." Time to pull up your socks, Windy, and ask God to guide you as you become self-sufficient and independent. Then, if your husband does come back, you can re-build your marriage as a union between two competent, healthy adults.

I'm glad you wrote to us, and I hope what I've said makes some kind of sense. Do feel free to write back any time. Good luck!

Best Regards,



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