- Take the Focus off Your Wife (and put it on yourself)
You do not control your wife. She may have all "the problems" but she is likely not interested in hearing your opinion on the matter. All you truly have control over are your own thoughts and attitudes. This one is the hardest thing for most separated guys to do. Why? Because the last thing we want to do is to confront our own issues.
- Get out of your Comfort Zone
It's easier to stay home, eat cheeseburgers and sleep, but growth requires that we sometimes must do things that are frightening or uncomfortable. As the saying goes, If you want to get something different, you have to do something different.
- Fearlessly Face my Issues (Come out of Denial)
It's really, really hard to face the truth about ourselves. Men face the truth, boys run from it. The truth can be deeply painful. Sometimes the truth about me is not obvious to me. Then, I try to listen to the (safe) guys that I trust. "Wounds from a friend can be trusted." Accepting really painful truths can take time. Give yourself lots of grace.
- See this Crisis as an Opportunity to Transform you.
You may not understand this, but you have been handed a huge gift. Pain is God's way of getting our attention. We have a saying, "Don't waste the pain." Let the pain lead you to personal transformation, one day at a time. What would you like to change about you?
- Don't Isolate.
Don't try to do this alone. Find an excuse to call someone, and go out for a cup of coffee, dinner, a movie, go to church together, take a walk, whatever. Find a way to connect with someone. Isolation can stifle growth, or worse, it can lead pain-killing addictions.
- Seek Wise Counsel.
If you are seriously depressed or experiencing feelings or thoughts that are out of control, or beyond what you can deal with. Get a counselor now. Don't wait. Don't make any big decisions without consulting friends (someone who is not currently in a crisis). They can also help you with communications with your wife and kids.
- Get into a Men's Weekly Support Group or Bible Study
You cannot go through this alone. Talk to your church to find a men's group. The other men in your group will become your "go to" guys when you need support, advice or just someone to listen. Connect with them, hang out with them, and do stuff together.
- Embrace Pain and Sadness... it's the path to joy
Grief is good. Grief is God's way of allowing us to "let go" of something that we want but cannot have. There are many things to grieve: broken dreams, broken hearts, and on and on. Grieve with trusted friends who won't try to "fix" you. Joy is the fruit that comes after grief has run its course.
- Wait with Hope (persevere)
One of the first questions of a separated man is "How long?" Separation is a process that takes time. How best to use that time? Wait actively (doing these 10 "must-do's"), Wait honestly (embrace truth), wait with friends (being supported and loved), wait with hope. (You are God's child. He is on the case. Invite him into your heart every day).
- Daily Prayer & Bible Reading
If you've ever had a really good relationship with God this needs no explaining. The rest of us must "go through the motions" for a while before we catch on. Once you realize how wonderful it is to deeply connect with Him, you'll look forward to your quiet time.