I have to give J credit for how he handled the choice I set before him.

It wasn't easy for him. Of course, it wasn't easy for either of us-- but while I enjoyed the benefit of feeling peace and guidance about our situation, he did not experience the same. For him, it felt that separation was just the slow road to divorce. He made it clear to me that it was not what he wanted, it was not what would be healthy for him, and that he felt I was pushing him away.

"Does a couple ever really benefit from separation?" he asked, "Doesn't it make more sense for us to heal together rather than apart?" He sited scripture {"It is not good for man to be alone"}; reported that our Bishop only knew one couple who had reconciled after a separation; and proclaimed that various friends and family were shocked and appalled at the course I was taking.

Nevertheless, he agreed to move out.

I couldn't fault him for his fears. I had experienced them all myself. We both wanted the same things-- to stay together, to be happy and whole, to experience healing and forgiveness-- but I'd only found serenity once I let go of the outcome and trusted God. I could see him struggling to figure out how to do that as well.

We told the children as gently as we could. We tried to be honest yet positive, saying that marriage is a lot of work but that it's worth fighting for. That we loved them. That we loved each other. That we did not plan on divorce and wanted to dispel that fear right off the bat. That this would be hard, but that Heavenly Father helps us to do hard things.

They listened quietly, then asked if they could have ice cream.

J and I worked out some guidelines for separation. We would continue to go to church together. He would join us for Family Home Evening on Monday nights. We would attend counseling. We would have weekly dates on Friday nights.

We would be a family.


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