Marriage separation – can it be good news?

Our marriage separation is not something I’ve spoken about much here. Yes I’ve alluded to issues but I’ve never been completely open about it in this little online space of mine.

In the spirit of being more honest in my writing this year it’s something I feel I want to write about it. (Though I have to admit I’m a little terrified about hitting publish.)

marriage separation
There were many times during our separation where I thought about it – to reach out to this online community  for support. But I couldn’t find the words that both expressed the pain I was feeling whilst still respecting our marriage, what we were going through and what Eamon would be okay reading in the future.
 
More than anything I didn’t want to write anything that would hurt anyone, myself included.
 
 
Now it seems we’ve mostly made it through the shit storm that is a marriage break down and I’m ready to share.
 
I feel like the last 6 months have probably been the steepest learning curve of my adult life and I feel that is worth acknowledging. 
 

Marriage separation – can it save your marriage?

I’d love to tell you – absolutely. It most definitely will. Unfortunately though, I can’t pretend to be an expert on your marriage (or my own for that matter).  
 
I can only share with you our experience of separating and for us, yes it did save our marriage. 
 
It also taught us a whole lot of lessons that I want to share with you here. 

 

A strong relationship takes daily effort from both of you.

More to the point your efforts need to be in the right ‘language’.    We weren’t completely neglectful of each other prior to the issues that bubbled up for us. But looking back we were both trying to give each other what we personally needed in terms of loving behaviour. Being apart forced us to learn what the other person needed to feel loved and respected rather than just giving what we ourselves needed. (SIDE NOTE – Love Languages  – do yourself a favour and go read it). 

 
 

I am responsible for looking after myself.

I am responsible for making sure I get the time I need to look after myself and for making sure I am physically and emotionally healthy.  

It probably sounds bloody obvious to some of you but I swear prior to this I really did wait for Andrew to step in and say “I think you need a break, I’ll take the kid for a while”.

Or to step up and help with things that are seen as my ‘jobs’. Whilst yes he occasionally will now say that or surprise me with help, I have learnt that life gets too busy and (to be blunt) their brains don’t seem to notice thins the same way ours do. And that’s ok.

We are different for a reason. I just need to speak up when I need something and it is always given when I ask.

 

During your marriage separation try not to fall into the trap of thinking everything they do has negative intentions. 

 
In the thick of any relationship tension we tend to get caught up in the trap of thinking the worst. We hear the messages we want to hear, rather than what was intended.
 
Many times our arguments have escalated purely out of misunderstanding and when we take the time to clarify what the other person is saying rather than jumping to conclusions the outcome is always 1000 times better.  (And we can usually find our way to a resolution much faster.)

 

Just because we’re married does not mean we have to agree on everything.

 
I used to take disagreements personally and as someone who is particularly fond of words I would happily go round and round on an argument for far too long.
 
In some ways I think Andrew learnt to not disagree with me, to save creating unnecessary tension. But this only built resentment.
 
Why did I think I had the right to put my opinion first? I’m still not sure, but it’s something I am working on this year; treading a little softer, looking at things from other angles and letting things go when I don’t necessarily agree.
 
 

Babies wedge themselves right between you as a couple.

 
Even the easiest of babies make relationships hard.  Because of their all-consuming nature,  you MUST to find the time to reach across the divide to maintain your connection.
 
Probably enough said here right? It’s really flipping hard to do but it’s SO IMPORTANT.
 
Date nights, social events and shared interests are all great but more importantly it’s about finding a connection within these moments; an in-joke, a knowing look, a belly laugh;  whatever it may be.

 

Time apart is absolutely essential.

 
Again, probably something I should have already known.
 
We both have always had plenty of interests outside of ‘us’, it’s just the way we managed them that became problematic.
 
I tended to plan my hobbies and social events around his work so that when he was home we had maximum time together (probably as a reaction to watching my Dad work the same shift work hours and knowing how little time this left for my parents to spend together).
 
The only problem with that is I started to view his hobbies (which obviously encroached on ‘our’ time) as a choice over me and the resentment creeped in.
 
At the same time my over planning meant he never had to, and made me feel even less important. Stepping back from each other forced us both to look at how we plan for and spend our time. Now he does more and I do less, and within that we have found a better balance.
 

 

Listening more is always a good thing.

And so in that vein I asked Andrew what was the most important lesson he learnt from our marriage separation.

His answer?

The good things are really worth working hard for.


Amen to that hey?

 

27 Responses to “Marriage separation – can it be good news?

  • Lila Wolff
    8 years ago

    I think it’s wonderful that you’ve shared this. It’s such an important thing to share the hard times as well as the good. Each and every thing you wrote is a good reminder no matter where we are in our relationships/

  • Tracy Fullagar
    8 years ago

    Amen! Nice Blog Bettina, great advice / life lessons here xo

  • Bec | Mumma Tells
    8 years ago

    Brave post. Looking back on things and knowing that they’ve passed is a great place to be. I think there is something in this that we can all take on board. And good things are really worth working hard for. Absolutely. X

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Tracy. Xx

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Bec. I hope others can get something from it. But mainly it is for me to remember and not forget these important lessons. X

  • beautiful, brave words. Thanks for the food for thought, a lot of what you have written here has been floating in my brain lately 🙂 It really is an ongoing effort, isn’t it? Ever-changing, too, as we all are. Have a gorgeous day, Sarah.

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Sarah. I really appreciate you saying that. On-going and ever-changing definitely. x

  • Great post! Thank you for sharing your lessons. I’ve definitely learned that marriage can be A LOT of work… But it’s definitely worth it. 🙂

  • MotherDownUnder
    8 years ago

    I somehow missed this post before…so glad that you did hit publish.
    I have so much I want to say! Marriage is hard. And combining marriage and parenthood whist still nurturing yourself is even harder. But I agree…it is so worth working hard for!

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    We definitely need a catch up. Let me know when suits, I’d love to come down and you’re always welcome up here. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Erica. I’m really glad that I shared, despite my hesitations. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Lila. Yes I need to stop thinking that I can only share the good. Its a new year and a new change for me. x

  • Oh! Wow. I agree with Caitlin. Marriage is hard! Very hard. And yeah, babies are all consuming! I am with you on the often being hurt by my husband disagreeing with me. I feel like it is some sort of personal slight! Thanks so much for sharing this. I think we almost all go through times like this and whether we actually separate or almost do or whatever, it is so true that it is worth working at.

  • Maryandlil
    8 years ago

    It is so very hard but so rewarding when u stick it through the hard times. Thanks for sharing xx

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    It’s funny that we feel that way isn’t it? We don’t expect everyone else to agree with us but we feel that they should. I guess it’s just about recognising that as individuals it is unrealistic to expect them to agree all the time, and us with them. Thanks for your support. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    And thank you for stopping by. x

  • I personally think too much and bottle too much up inside. I agree with every point you have made. Your words echo so many of my own actions

  • I couldn’t agree more – introducing children into your relationship sure does change things. It is stressful at times when the men go to to work and have no concept of what it takes to look after a child. Even though it may not be physically demanding, it sure is emotionally. Good on you for being so brave and hitting publish.

  • Maxabella
    8 years ago

    Amen to that! This list is good for all couples, Bettina. Happy and not-so-happy.

    I hope it all works out well for you. x

  • Jordan | Berlin by the Bay
    8 years ago

    I just discovered your blog, what a great post to read first. Adding kids to any marriage is so stressful, its something we struggle with all the time!

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks for stopping by Jordan, and thanks for the compliment. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Maxabella, I do too. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks Peta, I’m really pleased I did, everyone has been so supportive. Yes they don’t understand but that’s ok, we have lots of other Mama friends who do. x

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    I’m a definite ‘bottle-er’ for sure. Slowly learning its best to just get it out and move on. x

  • Ingrid Krisann
    8 years ago

    Only just got to read this and so well written We read it together and it was like you had taken the words right out of Rod’s mouth. He recognised every point you made and I think that I too have to take a leaf out of your book and approach things differently. Thank you 😉

  • littleoldsouls
    8 years ago

    Thanks so much for this comment Ingrid. I really appreciate it. I’m so glad it is helping others and it certainly helps me to know that a lot of others feel and think the same way. xx

  • I loved this. especially after my post 🙂 I think the one about the words hurting but not being intended is so true. I have to remind myself that I know chris wouldn’t say things to purposely hurt my feelings and that a lot of times it is just miscommunication!
    forlaurenandlauren.blogspot.com

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