Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster. 2012 came to an end and my husband admitted something I already knew: he was not ready for marriage. I’ve made this speculation from his actions, but for it to come from him, I felt a myriad of emotions: relief, disappointment, frustration, fear, hope. We talked some more, as I tried to get him to open up more and see what else he was feeling. He said at times he feels uncomfortable around me. He did, however, tell me that he doesn’t want to get a divorce, so that was a relief.

So yesterday, I spent hours reading a book by Dr. Gary Chapman. It’s called Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed. I finished the book about 30 minutes before midnight. We’ve been physically separated for almost a year now, but I didn’t want to think of it as separation. However it was, and the mounting stress and reoccurring arguments just made it more clear. But this book gave me lots of hope.

The very word may bring fear to your heart, and you may not like it, but you are separated. You may as well say it: “I am separated.”

So I was strong enough to say it: I am separated. Sort of like any other recovery, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Not in a negative way. Saying this brings me one step closer to reconciliation.

When God instituted marriage, divorce was not an option.

During our back and forth, my husband said “I didn’t mention divorce, you did.” It’s true; I’m the first one who said the D word. Assumptions are what led to this (it’s true about the whole “ass” thing). Because my husband was saying he was “not sure” and “wasn’t ready”, I took that as he didn’t want to do this anymore. Divorce is not an option.

Guard your attitudes and actions; keep them positive. We cannot determine our emotions, but we can choose our attitudes and actions.

This is my first step: keeping my attitudes and actions positive. I admit I’ve struggled with this, as was pointed out by a reader, Lola. I plan on leaving the negativity in 2012 and pursuing positivity in 2013. There’s hope for us!

Allow time for your spouse to think, pray, and decide for himself or herself. You cannot force reconciliation— you can only make the prospects look bright.

I hated when my husband would ask for time to himself. It irritated me to no end. But I do have to allow him the time and space to think and pray and decide if he wants to do this without me forcing his hand.

Separation should be used as a time to rediscover your own assets and liabilities as a person and to take positive steps in personal growth.

This is the plan! It’s time to rediscover who I am, what I like to do. I’m excited about the idea of falling in love with myself. My body, my mind, my spirit will all be re-cooperating.

If we look to a marriage partner to give us a sense of worth and to bring happiness, we are looking in the wrong direction.

I can’t look to my husband for things I have to find in myself or find in God. It’s like punishing him for something he didn’t do. That’s not fair.

You must be willing to wait, pray, and love, even if at a distance.

Yes, it’s hard, but the benefit is worth it. I’m patient in some ways but can’t stand to wait in others. I don’t have to be in his face to love him. Loving from a distance is necessary and possible.

You are living in an abnormal state. Husband and wife were not made to live separated.

Many of you told me that when I announced we were moving back home separately. That message fell on deaf ears at first, but it’s loud and clear now. As we grow to reconcile, moving under one roof will be a high priority.

Much of our sense of worth comes from what we are doing with our lives.

People would kill to have my job, and I am very grateful to have it. I would love a career in which I get to truly help people though, and that is the goal.

It is not a choice to go back to the kind of relationship you had when you separated, but to work toward establishing something far more meaningful.

It’s not enough to want to go back to how we were. I want to work on a better, stronger marriage, one built on the proper foundation.

Remember, your objective is not to “get back together.” The objective is to give rebirth to your marriage.

That’s the goal! Married life doesn’t have to be miserable or extremely difficult. It’s work, but the benefits that go with it are so worthwhile. Even through a separation, a time of healing, we’re still technically newlyweds. We’re blessed to not be dealing with things like infidelity, a chronic illness, or a blended family. We’ve just got some growing up to do.

All quotes credited to: Chapman, Gary D (2005-01-01). Hope For the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed (Chapman, Gary) Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.