When a Trial Separation Is the Best Thing for Your Marriage

A couple going through a trial separation letting go of each other's hands.

Relationships aren’t easy, which is a huge understatement. It can be extremely difficult to maintain a loving, trustworthy relationship throughout your entire life. When two people choose to marry one another, it adds an entirely new layer of commitment. Marriage is exciting, special, and ideally forever, but from time to time, space is necessary. If you’ve reached the point where your marriage may need a trial separation, try to head into it with a clear head and an open mind.

Trial separations aren’t the best thing for every single marriage, but there are a few reasons you may want to consider it.

Do you feel stuck?
Complacency is an unsettling feeling. If you and your partner are both starting to feel stuck in your relationship, it may be worth having a conversation. Regardless if you’ve been together for 10 years or 40, that feeling of stiffness, boredom, or a lack of passion is not fair to either of you. If these feelings are ones you can relate to, a trial separation may help boost your relationship. You may be feeling stuck because you’re ready to move on from this marriage, or you may be feeling stuck because you simply need the chance to go experience something on your own, without your partner. A trial separation will provide you with at least a slight amount of clarity.

Are you arguing constantly?
When is the last time you and your spouse went a week or two without fighting? What about a whole day? There’s so much to argue about—finances, errands, the kids, weekend plans—that there’s certainly nothing unnatural about arguing from time to time with your spouse. (Everyone does it.) But if it’s starting to grate on you that you and your husband or wife are always fighting, it may be time to allow yourself some space from one another. It’s okay to ask for time if you can’t stop bickering over every little thing. It’s not healthy for either of you, nor for your relationship, to feel like you’re walking on eggshells.

A trial separation may allow each of you to see the bigger picture and realize that arguing about the little things shouldn’t matter. Or you may realize that what you argue about is irreconcilable. Either way, space to figure things out can give you some perspective.

Do you have time for yourself?
A loss of identity is something so many of us experience throughout our lives, at various times. Within the terms of your marriage, however, losing sight of who you are and what’s important to you is an issue. It’s easy to lose yourself in a marriage, especially if you have children, but as the dust settles, it’s important for you to look inward and find yourself all over again. If you feel like your marriage is one of the reasons you’re experiencing a loss of identity, it may benefit you to look into a trial separation. During the trial separation, you may realize that you can easily make time for yourself in your marriage. Or you may discover that your marriage is holding you back from who you truly are. Either way, it’s important for you to get to the root of the issue.

Do you make time for each other?
It may seem backward to try a trial separation if your main issue is spending time together, but it really can give you perspective. If you and your husband or wife haven’t been spending quality time with one another, it may be part of a bigger issue within your relationship. Everyone’s lives can get too busy to carve out time for their loved ones, but if neither of you is bothered by the lack of time together, that’s a real problem. If your relationship has turned into something you’re not an active participant in, it’s worth taking some time to evaluate what you are and are not missing. A trial separation may provide you with the chance to actively miss your spouse—something that may be hard to do while you are sharing a home and a bed. 

A trial separation sounds scary, and it honestly can be. But it can save your marriage and potentially the rest of your life. If you and your spouse have been together for a very long time, you may need to hit the refresh button or look at things from a different angle, without the charge of emotions involved when you live with someone day in and day out.

By taking some time apart, you’ll learn new things about yourself, your partner, and your priorities. Before you head into your separation, set boundaries, guidelines, and a game plan to come back together and talk about what each of you have learned and experienced. Your trial separation may end in a permanent split, but it may also end in a marriage that’s stronger than ever. Whatever the result, it will give you peace in the long run.

Jessica Tholmer

Freelance Writer

Jess Tholmer has been writing on the internet for what feels like most of her life. After studying English Literature in school, she has leaned into her degree and is a full-time content writer, social media manager, and freelance contributor to websites like HelloGiggles.com. You can find her @tholmz on Twitter and Instagram!

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