The concept of married living apart is being brought to light by a number of well known publications and we feel the need to respond to such an arrangement.
To us it seems a bit like a breakup in marriage.
The following article excerpts appeared in the Real Estate section of the NY Times and was about the concept of married living apart.
Excerpted from a NY Times Article entitled “Living Apart Together” “Some who go this route contend that separate spaces not only reduce friction in a relationship but keep it lively, even sizzly, freed from such mundane concerns as whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher and by the way, did anyone pay the rent?…
“The arrangement has surprising appeal, perhaps because it protects against the constant churning in people’s domestic lives,” said Mr. Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University. “Many people who live alone are in relationships that are quite meaningful. And the arrangement is especially attractive in New York, which has such a thriving public culture and little stigma about how people live their lives.” The idea of a couple living under separate roofs can still raise eyebrows, which is why many two-roof couples remain skittish about going public about their situation. They worry about losing a killer apartment or simply jinxing a good thing. Some are loath to admit to being party to such an arrangement, afraid that it might signal that a relationship isn’t serious..
“Early on, I might have wanted us to move in together,” Ms. Kelleher said. “But I’m not sure the relationship would have been so good if we’d lived in the same place. I always say, we need a river between us.” Still, she suspects they might opt for a single roof if one of them became seriously ill. “Even with something like the flu,” she said, “it’s hard to pick up everything and go to comfort the person. When you’re sick, it’s nice to have someone near you.”
Here’s why, in our professional opinion, living apart while married seems like a break up in marriage.
While I don’t wish to pass judgment on such an arrangement and can see how it could help avoid a lot of the challenges that some couples have, especially those who get married later in life, I don’t see it as an ideal arrangement for a married couple. To us, this arrangement seems like a break up in marriage.
Even the couples that I have worked with who had such an arrangement, their ultimate goal was that they should be living together if possible.
Marriage is an exercise in “otherhood”.
Part of what makes a marriage so challenging is that it compels us to move beyond self-absorption and focus on the other.
That means not always getting what you want or having it your way.
It’s hard and it calls us to stretch and grow, yet it makes us more complete people.
The issues our spouse has with us will usually be just what we need to become more well-balanced.
We talk at length about how marriage’s purpose is necessary to us becoming whole in Step 1 and Step 4 of our 5 Step Plan to fixing your marriage self guided marriage counseling program, called Marriage School.
By living apart we avoid a lot of the day-to-day issues that couples have which can plague a relationship, but when worked through can be mutually beneficial.
Sure these couples spend time together, but they don’t truly become one unit because they live their separate lives.
There is also something comforting about having someone to come home to.
I don’t think such arrangements promote the time of closeness a couple that lives together has.
With all of that said, it is definitely is easier to live apart, especially if no children our involved and it makes sense why many people would prefer such an arrangement.
I just think it gives in to our comfort zone and removes some of the growth opportunities experienced by couples that truly have to make it work out.
Reassure your “comfort zone” if you find yourself tempted by this arrangement of married living apart and let it know that while the comforts of living apart seem attractive, the benefits of a married life together, when given the tools to remove and work through conflict that arises, is fully fulfilling, even moreso than that of living apart.
If you need further assistance with working on yourself so that you can feel more comfortable with your spouse living at home with you, we strongly suggest you enroll in our Total Marriage Transformation Program entitled “Marriage School”. You can’t escape your issues and what you bring to the table even if you choose to live apart so might as well get it right!
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