If a couple has tried to work through serious problems in their marriage without full success, they may agree to physically separate for some period of time to give each other "space" to work through certain difficulties. This is new territory that they will be exploring. What are the rules? What are the expectations? What are the responsibilities? What will be the impact on the children, if there are any? What will signal to both that the separation has helped and they are ready to "try again" – or that it has clarified that a fulfilling marriage between them is not in their future? Talking through these and other questions, with the help of a neutral mediator, can set the stage for a separation that will be meaningful for both participants, in the sense that it will have purpose, understanding, and benchmarks.