Can separation heal a troubled marriage?


One of our listeners asks some questions that deal with some real and troubling things.  Is a separation a good thing for a troubled marriage?  How do you handle a spouse who’s been diagnosed with a personality disorder?  Can divorce actually help create a clean slate for your relationship to reboot or start over again?  Answers to these questions are coming up next.

If you are wanting immediate help with your relationship, please check out our online library of marriage and parenting courses!

  • Hours of powerful, relationship changing video content
  • In-depth study content, questions, and more
  • An online experience based on our best relationship series like Keys to Loving Lasting Relationships, DNA of Relationships, Smalley Marriage Intensive, Homes of Honor, and so much more



  1. “Michael and Seth,

    After a year of separation where I thought we were working on ourselves (because she said she couldn’t work on us yet), my wife has filed for divorce. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and says that the divorce will allow us to start with the cleanest slate possible.

    She seems to think this will be healthy for us and our 3-year-old. I disagree. I think it will breed more bad feelings and resentment that will be unhealthy to all three members of our family. I fear that this “solution” will lead to her attempting suicide again. I certainly don’t want to cause her more pain. I don’t want to be in pain. I don’t want our daughter to be in pain or have a troubled relationship with either parent.

    What do I do?”

    1. Can separation work to repair a marriage?
      1. Yes, but it has to be purposeful and a specific length of time
      2. Both going to individual counseling
      3. Both getting mentored by someone in your church
      4. Usually start couples counseling together within a month or so.
    2. If your spouse has a personality disorder
      1. Things are not going to be easy
      2. They need to be diagnosed by a professional and then need to stick with the treatment plan.
        1. But you need to allow God and others to help them.  Your job is to be supportive and loving.
      3. Hang in there, but set appropriate boundaries
        1. Abuse is not ok
        2. Have a boundary of keeping on the treatment plan
    3. Divorce is definitely not the way to go to be healthy, or create a clean slate
    4. Your responsibility is to do the right thing, you can’t base your actions on what she may or may not do.
      1. Tell her you don’t want a divorce, but don’t refuse to allow her to divorce you
      2. Never speak negatively about her to your daughter
      3. Be kind and patient.  Don’t force her to drop the divorce or move back in with you…let that happen as a result of loving her.
      4. Be the light of love for your daughter, she will be drawn to the light, and you can’t control what your wife does…but you can control what you do.

Download the Reignite Your Marriage app and make your love list today!

Reignite Your Marriage app on:


Google Play

Windows Phone

Amazon App Store

Smalley Institute Online Courses

Also, don’t forget…

If you haven’t left a review yet in iTunes, don’t be shy, it’s easy to do and it really lets me know you’re listening (and others too). Click here.