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Seen At 11: Love On The Rocks? Some Couples Solve Problems With ‘Marriage Sabbaticals’

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Research has shown that when we take a break from work, it can refresh our minds and make us more productive.

Now, some couples are turning to sabbaticals from marriage to produce similar results.

Following a big argument, Ashley and Jeff Cader feel like they need a break from each other.

“Whether it’s one in the bedroom, one’s in the living room, one goes out with some friends, just to kind of have that space,” Ashley Cader said.

That “space” can actually help a couple, according to therapists.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, more and more couples are taking breaks to the extreme — spending extended time apart during marriage sabbaticals.

“A marriage sabbatical is, you take some structured time off to work on yourself, to work on the marriage so that you can decide to be together, decide to be apart, and really make a clean decision,” marriage and family therapist Gracie Landes explained.

The idea of pulling further apart when a relationship is already on the rocks may seem illogical, and an increasing number of couples and counselors are embracing the idea.

“I have seen it work brilliantly,” Landes said.

Landes said that she recommends a minimum of three months apart for couples in a serious crisis.

“What it does is helps break old habit patterns and ways of thinking so that you can actually restructure your relationship to have it work better,” Landes said.

“It can be thought of as separate vacations, separate filling up my tank with new energy,” Family Therapist, Dr. Fran Walfish said.

Dr. Walfish said that despite taking a break from living together the couple cannot take a break from communicating and solving their problems, or the sabbatical won’t work.

“When they come back those issues have been tucked under the rug and it makes it harder to dig in and get to those issues,” Dr. Walfish said.

Landes said that the key to a successful marriage sabbatical is structure.

“That means that you take the time to set up parameters for things like how often you talk, what things you talk about, and also doing some real thinking about yourself and what you want in life,” she said.

Marriage sabbaticals are typically recommended for couples with serious problems in conjunction with marriage counseling.

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