Separation – What Do You Tell The Kids?

Whether it was long expected or suddenly faced, the reality is your struggling marriage has come to an impassable fork in the road. You've decided to separate. You're struggling to find the right words to tell your children. Your fears and failures race through your mind, "Will this help us reconcile in the end? Will the the kids be able to understand? Will it cause them to fall away from the Lord?" Through all this uncertainty there are some things you CAN assure them of.

Finding the Right Key

Have you ever found yourself singing next to someone in church that completely throws you off key? Or how about that ONE church lady who sings so loud, she drowns out everyone else? Despite, desperately trying to block them out, you realize it's IMPOSSIBLE to sing with them!? Sometimes this is what marriage can be like.  Spouses can have tremendous potential to influence for good or bad… to create either a blissful sound together or a ear piercing one. Instead of harmony of the souls, it begins to sound very dissonant. This all metaphorically of course, relates to how easily one can throw each other's emotional, spiritual and physical well being completely off.

Because marriage requires you to live in such close proximity it can be very hard to find your part in the harmony when one is off key.  The Bible calls us to live in "harmony" with all people including our spouse -with an important caveat: as much as it depends on us..

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:16-18)

You've Got Options

You can choose to either sing louder than your bellowing nightingale spouse, fight to out-sing them, so yours becomes the controlling voice. Practically speaking this looks like arguing, yelling, domineering and campaigning against them.

Others will go to the opposite extreme and clam up and resign to never sing again, which may look like the silent treatment (death of a thousand unsaid words) huge impassable walls of years of anger, resentment and bitterness.

Then there is the dreaded "D" word, where the relationship seems irrevocably broken, toxic and destructive, and one or both give up.

Can I submit to you that none of the above options offer any chance of harmony! 

Separation is Creating Space to Find Your Voice

Chances are, you are not going to get better together, unless you become more confident of your own voice and who you are in Christ ….alone.

Sometimes "Living at peace" with someone requires distance

In order to be able sing properly you have to physically relocate yourself from the one that makes it so difficult to hear yourself.

When one partner forces the other to sing in a way that is not their natural voice, it is destructive not only to the vocal chords but in this analogy to the relationship.  One may try to sing in a lower pitch out of their comfort range, inevitably their voice quivers and drops off to nothing. Others may struggle to reach an octave never intended for them and let out ear piercing screeches. Leaving their audience with certainly nothing to commend or applaud…

This is the last thing you want your children to witness, and repeat like a broken marriage record

With Space – Should Come Humility

Distance for the sake of repaying evil for evil should never be the goal. Separation can provide a time-out for each spouse to evaluate their own actions. We make space to hear what the Lord might be saying or teaching without distraction. Only then you can evaluate how your own thoughts, words, actions and heart, line up to God's in His Word- The True Key. Restoration is always the goal.

I recommend finding trusted singing coaches. By that I mean close friends, counselors, and pastors. Tell them your perspectives, let them hear your thoughts, feelings, beliefs about the situation…. And be ready to receive correction where to their listening ear you are not harmonized with God's Word, which may lend explanation as to why you are unable to harmonize well with your spouse. Then as much as it depends on you, admit where you have been singing off key, repent and keep practicing.

Harmony takes two people. Don't blame the other and claim he or she is the one who is tone def, and it's all their fault. Rarely, if ever is that true! Consider, that your OWN voice is the only one you have control over, to train, modify or change. A preoccupation with the failures of anyone else is fruitless. You have no ability to make the other sing or act any better or differently. That is God's job.

You can't make another harmonize with you no matter how hard you try!

What To Tell Them

Tell your children using this anaology that during this time apart, the goal is that you each learn to sing better, and possibly if both Mommy and Daddy learn their parts really well and draw nearer to God they may someday learn to harmonize better with each other.

This can relieve so much fear in a child's heart as your not promising things you can't, yet creating a positive environment for expected progress not only for the marriage's sake but individual growth. You must brace them with the reality that one spouse may continue to sing out of tune. That's okay, that you still love them, but it just makes it hard to live/sing together. Assure them they are not responsible for the lack of harmonization.

Be Willing to Play the Background

We all sing the background weather we realize it or not. There is only One Lead in this song we call Life – That is God. All of us must follow His Direction, His Chords, His Notes, Commands and answer to Him alone. Whether husband or wife, we’re all simply playing the background to God.

Maybe Paul included these short pithy statements, "Do not be proud… do not be conceited," because nothing is more effective in throwing off harmony in marriage or any relationship, than when someone is arrogant, conceited, prideful or demeaning.

If you're spouse has asked for separation, ask yourself……. "Could it be your singing?"

Harmony is the rewarding result of living at peace with your spouse.

Originally posted at Superfruitful.com