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Opinion | Sexuality

Taking a Break from Your Spouse

Research and experience confirm that time away from one's spouse actually strengthens the marital bond.

If the mathematics of marriage is two becoming one, how do you factor in couples that have decided that some temporary division improves the odds of their relationship's longevity?

A recent Slate piece highlighted one of the findings from Iris Krasnow's recent book, The Secret Lives of Women: Women Share What It Really Take to Stay Married: Strategic absences can make spouse's hearts grow fonder.

Krasnow discovered that spending the month of July apart from her husband of 23 years so each could pursue their own interests strengthened their relationship. This was not a Hall Pass-style break, but rather an intentional choice by both partners to devote time and resources to personal growth. Krasnow currently uses her July marriage sabbatical for writing time on one coast, while her husband focuses on building his furniture business on the other. Krasnow notes that when August rolls around, the two are "hot to see each other, high on our personal accomplishments, and purged of the inevitable resentments that arise in the grind of the ordinary that long marriage becomes."

Krasnow interviewed more than 200 women who'd been married 15 years or more. Wives who were married to spouses who were gone for extended periods of time, such as fisherman and truckers, reported that the separations honed their communication skills, matured their sense of self, and encouraged them to develop their own toolkit of practical skills. A broken toilet in a busy household can't wait for a husband away on ...

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