Should Christians Separate: Part 3 of 3
Is it an Alternative to Divorce?
(0:00) Welcome to the third part in the “Should Christians Separate?” series. In section one, we talked about one of the first reasons behind the question, “Should Christians Separate?” That is, you’re looking for approval in a decision you already made. To watch the first video, and read the article, be sure to go to section one.
In section two, we discussed looking for reasons in the Bible, or from other people to tell your spouse who is trying to leave. You don’t want them to leave, so you want Scripture/other advice to show them they should not leave. If you want to hear what we say about that, go to section two, watch video two, and read the article.
In this final section, we’ll discuss what I believe people might be asking (and really looking for) when they’re asking the question, “Should Christians separate?” Which is: “Maybe this is a good alternative to divorce?”
People Look for “Loopholes” in Scripture
(1:02) The Bible says God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16). Because of this, we’ve seen people attempt to find a “loophole.”
For example: “In order to not divorce, so God won’t be mad at us, let’s just separate. We can make it a clean cut. We can still be friends, maybe it’ll be what’s best for the kids.”
Separation is as Harmful as Divorce
In fact, there’s a new psychological phenomenon going on, so to say, of this concept of “separation” and not divorcing anymore because of “the kids.”
Still, research shows time and time again that when parents separate, it hurts the kids. Going back and forth between houses is very difficult for them. It’s hard to become resilient in that kind of environment. Many people viewed that research and responded by saying, “Okay, well if the kids going back and forth is what is unsettling to them, the change of environment and needing consistency, then let’s separate but leave the kids in one house, and us parents will just go back and forth between the two.”
Parents switching houses is sometimes called “nesting”, and it’s something that’s starting to occur more and more.
What’s fascinating is, even in separation there’s no legal divorce, but there’s also no stipulations the couple has with each other about them dating or pursuing other relationships– even though they’re still married! They’re just not “legally divorced” because “legally” if they divorce they’ve done something harmful for the kids…
If that’s the way you look at this kind of situation:
“Divorce is bad for the kids. Divorce is bad for our finances. Whatever that might be, so therefore the loophole is separation.”
Then I don’t know if you’re ever going to be happy in life. Because if you’re always looking for loopholes so that you can be a rule follower- “following the letter of the law” and you can be doing the “right thing” in terms of what Scripture literally says (or what research says or what whatever says) loopholes will never be fully satisfying. You’re always going to be looking for more loopholes.
If you just want to look at the heart of it, it’s the separation that causes hurt. It’s the separation that causes dysfunctions in the family. You might be thinking, “How can you say words that strong? Dysfunction, and this, that, or the other?” Because if you look at research, it’s true.
Ramifications of Separation/Divorce
(3:35) If you want to divorce or separate, no one’s going to stop you. It is your right and it is your choice. But if you’re going to do it, at least look at the ramifications it can cause and know how you’re going to overcome those.
- If you know you’re going to separate, start looking at how you can make it okay for the kids.
Start looking at how you can come through it, not in a loophole kind of way, but in a: “Here’s what’s going to happen. Here’s what we’ve chosen to do. Therefore, since we want our kids to have a good future, here is what we’re going to do to make sure we can do the best of that.”
Maybe, it’s co-parenting. Maybe you say, “We’re going to separate. Ultimately, we’re going to divorce. We need to be sure that we’re good co-parents for our kids.” Then do it.
Our Marriage Helper Workshop can help you with co-parenting. It can help you learn how to have communication skills to:
- Stop fighting
- Start being able to have a conversation together. A cooperative conversation.
- Learn how to have a good relationship in front of the children. (Because even though the marriage might end, the family never ends.)
If you’re looking at separation as an alternative for divorce, then I would encourage you to look further into your reasons behind that.
(4:50) Is it that you’re trying to overcome a loophole? And if that’s true then maybe you should start looking at the real heart of the matter. Why do you want to separate? Why do you want to divorce?
Can it be transformed? Can your marriage be fixed?
You might be thinking, “it can’t be” because you’ve tried a counselor, you’ve read a book, you’ve tried some online courses, and maybe you have tried really hard. Unfortunately, in today’s society most people go to one counseling session, call it quits, sign the divorce papers, and move on. But that’s not trying hard.
…If you’re looking for this kind of help, if you’re looking for these answers, then I believe you’re different than everyone else. You’re someone who actually wants to do what is right. You’re thinking about the best way to do what’s right. So I encourage you to fight as hard as you can to make your marriage work.
Don’t look for alternatives right now. Please, don’t follow any recommendations to do a “controlled separation” that many counselors are doing right now where they tell you to separate and they’ll control when you come back together. I would highly encourage you to RUN from those kinds of situations.
Why? Because typically when people separate and find the peace they’re looking for away from each other, it is very hard to bring them back together. They don’t want to go back into pain, turmoil, and fighting that existed before.
They don’t believe they can have a different marriage when they’re back together.
But I believe you can. I know you can.
Because at Marriage Helper we have seen thousands and thousands and thousands of people transform the worst of marriages into an amazing marriages that they never thought possible.
(6:51) We can help you do that as well. I don’t know what your situation might be. Maybe an affair happened. Maybe there’s an addiction. Maybe there’s just been complete misery and unhappiness.
But I believe that it can be changed. And I hope that you can believe a shred of that too. Enough to at least look into: “Could things be different?”
If we can do anything to help, we have a team here at Marriage Helper that will work with you, talk to you, hear your situation, and see if there’s a way we can help. You can give us a call at (866) 903-0990. We’d love to help you with that.
This is our third and final section. Be sure to search for section one and two. But if you have any thoughts about this, comment below [on YouTube]. We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to like our channel, follow our videos, and until then, “see” you next time.