But in our broken world, large numbers of couples experience separation or divorce. Can abandoned spouses still live out their marriage vows in a meaningful way? What is a spouse to do who has been dealt a separation or divorce who didn’t really want it?Campanella helps the pastoral worker better understand the position of the separated person and offers advice on everything from helpful language, words of encouragement, and ways to practically assist the separated person to, most importantly, ways to assist the separated person on their spiritual journey.
Through personal prayer and group support, the spouse may then reach a position where he or she is able to forgive the offending spouse and even renew his or her commitment to the task of marriage. First it advises pastoral workers on how to assist spouses experiencing separation. Maria Pia Campanella seeks to offer a lifeline to separated or divorced spouses who desire to remain faithful to their marriage sacrament with her book “The Gift of Self: A Spiritual Companion for Separated and Divorced Faithful to the Sacrament of Marriage.” (Note: this review will use the term “separated spouse” to refer to spouses unwillingly separated from their husband and wife, both those who are civilly divorced and those who are not.) The book’s purpose is two-fold and addresses two distinct audiences.Between the lines she seems to say, “However bad you feel at the moment, this path is possible; I walked it, and with God’s help, you can too.Your home will not always feel as though it were ‘destroyed by the effects of an earthquake’ (25).