| July 21, 2014

Sentencing reprobate kids to a time-out has become the norm — but an increasing number of couples in rocky relationships are choosing to do the same to avoid divorce.

READ: 5 Signs Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce

But can a “marriage sabbatical” really work?

In a sabbatical, both partners separate for a defined period of time — a few hours, days or weeks — but expect to return to their marriage.

The goal is to give partners a break from the relationship, which would then lead to a greater appreciation of the other.

Although a little alone time seems like a good idea, some experts question whether a marriage sabbatical might actually do more harm than good, saying avoidance won’t make problems disappear.

READ: Why Divorce Is More Stressful For Men Than Women

Attorney, minister and ethics lecturer Dr. Wendy L. Patrick disagrees with the idea of marriage sabbaticals, calling them dangerous, with temptation one of the biggest dangers.

“It gives partners an ‘out’ to pursue other options, says Patrick. “You are separated from your spouse, both physically and mentally. That state of affairs can enhance the chances of the temporary separation becoming permanent.”

It also prevents couples from communicating and finding a solution to the real problem.

READ: 3 Common Marriage Mistakes That Can Lead to Divorce

“When couples become willing to spend time apart in an effort to enhance their time together, the writing is on the wall. Their marriage is in trouble, and it is time to address the larger issues,” says Patrick.

While the idea of a marriage sabbatical may seem illogical to many, clinical sexologist and author of “Sex in South Beach,” Dr. Sonjia Kenya, says they could actually benefit couples.

“It could motivate people to become better partners and renew the spark. A [sabbatical] also gives couples time to compare their spouse to other potential partners, which may really highlight a spouse’s best qualities.”

Often when a relationship is stuck in a pattern of blame, a lot of energy goes into trying to get our partner to change, says relationship therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers

READ: How To Deal With Divorce After A Short Marriage

“Taking a sabbatical gives each person time and space to remember the good and even miss each other. You stop looking outward and start connecting inward,” says Meyers.

Celebrity matchmaker Kailen Rosenberg warns that those considering a relationship sabbatical need to have rules and a plan.

If you're already heading down the road to divorce, watch the video above for tips on how to survive a messy divorce.