The wife of South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon her and the governor had agreed on a trial separation to ultimately strengthen the marriage.

“During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure,” she said in the statement.

The governor’s partner of 20 years said because of this agreed separation, she did not know her husband’s whereabouts in the past week.

Her statement ended saying “this is a very painful time for us” and asked the media to respect the family’s privacy as they struggled to deal with this situation.