How taking a ‘gap year’ saved this woman’s marriage

Nov 02, 2023
Marriage not working? Turns out, counselling and divorce aren't your only options. Source: Getty

It’s no secret that marriage is no walk in the park, and continuous arguments and fights often end in divorce, no matter how much you love the person. But one woman believes she’s found the solution, and says that you don’t necessarily need to invest in expensive counselling to get your relationship back on track.

Writing for online publishing platform Medium, Michelle Elizabeth said that taking a gap year from her relationship actually saved her marriage in the long term.

“A gap year is typically used to describe the year high school students take to find themselves,” she began. “During that time, they work or travel in an effort not only to discover themselves but to figure out what they want to do with their lives. But when we inadvertently applied that same logic to our marriage, it brought us back from almost getting divorced.”

Michelle went on to explain why her marriage wasn’t working, saying the usual marital problems such as blended families and financial difficulties were the culprits for their relationship breakdown.

“Our marriage wasn’t working,” she revealed. “And if I’m honest about it, we hadn’t been us for years. Our relationship was plagued from the beginning with every issue that people go to marriage counsellors for.”

She went on to say that they tried counselling, but it only seemed to make matters worse, so Michelle decided to move out in order to save their marriage.

“At first, the kids were happy,” she said. “The arguing had stopped, at least around them. It only resumed through text messages and phone calls out of earshot. But over time, that stopped as well.

“Not being around each other stopped all of those petty squabbles we had over unimportant things. All of those stupid arguments ensued because neither of us wanted to talk about the more significant issues.

“We [decided we] wouldn’t talk about them until we were halfway through a year of living apart. We only saw each other briefly — a quick visit with the kids or a run-in at the local supermarket.”

Michelle said she spent the next few months working on herself, as did her husband. She took up weight lifting to help with her frustrations and also took up journalling again. She even reconnected with old friends. “I stopped being this moon that orbited my spouse, and instead became my own planet again,” Michelle said.

Michelle and her husband reconnected six months later, and by this point, they were missing each other deeply. “We both missed each other but not in the way where you’re just lonely and want to be around whoever is willing to suffer your presence,” she explained. “It was that longing for the other person’s company because they bring something to your life that you can’t find anywhere else.”

She said that while it was looking promising after six months, they continued to live apart and work on themselves. Now, a year later, the pair are ready to move back in together.

“Our gap year helped us become better people so that we can be great together,” Michelle said. “I’m looking forward to the future in ways that I never have before, and all it took was a year apart to gain a little perspective.”


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