I work with many spouses who are currently separated. They are reaching out for support and guidance during a turbulent and emotional time. For clients who are Christians and desire their faith incorporated into counseling, we discuss culture's view of separation and what the Bible says about marriage. Our culture says that if you are separated, the marriage is basically over. Don't work on the marriage, start dating and "live your life." However, separation isn't fully the same as divorce. In NC, divorce happens officially after 1 year of separation. The marriage hasn't been fully ended even if there is a separation agreement present. So for clients who desire Christian counseling, we discuss how to appropriately pursue one's spouse during a time of separation. We discuss what faithfulness looks like though they are living separate. We discuss ways they contributed to the marital breakdown and explore unhealthy communication patterns that have been existent in the marriage and ways those things can change. We explore things they knew they could have done to love fuller during their marriage. We identify things their spouse said they desired of them during the marriage and explore ways they can begin to do those things now out of love and faithfulness. This is done from a place of obedience to Christ and the vows the spouse took before God to their spouse and from a place of love and hope. With time and active love, the marriage can be restored and reconciliation can happen. What a model of love and obedience to have pursued fully through the time of separation regardless of the outcome. And when reconciliation does occur, it's truly a beautiful thing and couples report feeling deeper love than ever and having a stronger relationship that ever. Our culture is one of toss-away, replace and upgrade. How powerful it would be if we started living counter-culture and not tossing each other away even when unhappiness or stark differences are present. What if instead, we resolved to find our joy in the Lord and work through differences; that's what covenant love truly is all about!