How to Know When it’s Time to Go.We have all heard of people staying together for the children. Sometimes this works very well. I know one woman who, when separating from her husband, told him that they brought their child into the world together, and they needed to do right by their child. They came to an agreement to live in the same home and share parenting duties, but not as husband and wife. Their child knew the parents were divorced and would not be married again. The child also grew up knowing a lot of love. This child is now a well-adjusted adult in a healthy relationship. This is certainly something not every couple could pull off though.
I know of another couple who are staying together for their children while no longer committed to their marital relationship, but give the appearance of a married couple to the world and their children. These children are entering their teen years, so I do not know how this story will turn out.
There are also others who do divorce and their children do well; others not so much. How do you know when it is time to call it quits?
Two Happy Homes Better than One Unhappy Home?
I am no expert, but I really feel that an unhappy home is not a good environment for a child to grow up in and wonder what they are learning about relationships and what kind of relationships will they be in as adults. There is research that shows kids who grow up in a two parent household where there is hostility, lack of affection, or indifference between the parents don't do as well as kids who grow up with one well-adjusted, single parent. When couples aren't getting along (and I’m not talking about the occasional spat or bickering), their children can feel the tension and sometimes the parent’s irritation or anger with each other can spills over into their relationships with their children.
Unhappy Marraige Better Than No Marraige?
There are also those who believe that an unhappy marriage is better than no marriage. Some statistics show that children of divorce suffer depression and other psychological problems more often than those whose families are still together. Children generally take a long time to get over the divorce of their parents. Sometimes the effects of this show up much later as these children become adults and struggle to form their own relationships. Children from broken families typically marry later, but divorce more often than those from a two parent home.
So, What is the Answer?
One thing I do know is that there really isn’t one right answer – one size does not fit all! Every family is different and each situation is different. It is also very hard for us to be truly objective about our own relationships, so seeking the help of a professional can be very beneficial to you and your children. If your partner refuses counseling, go on your own or with your child. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it is an indicator that you want what is best for everyone concerned, including yourself and your children. Many times, there is no good guy or bad guy, just two people who for whatever reason, cannot be in the marriage relationship anymore.
A Mom's Perspective on Marriage and DivorceI don’t want anyone to think that I am advocating for divorce. I really believe in working through the tough times, going to marriage counseling, and working hard to make your marriage work (no one said marriage was easy, and if they did, they were lying to you. That’s not to say it can’t be wonderful and rewarding, because it most certainly can be!)
I’m just saying that if the only reason you are staying married is for your children, you may be doing them (and yourself) more harm than good. Conflict is a part of life, and our children can learn a great deal by how we handle conflict in our own lives. If both parties can agree to keep the best interests of their children at heart and work to a truly amicable divorce, everyone can be better off in the long run. I really believe that the quality of parents' relationships with each other is what is important, regardless of whether they are married or single, that matters most for their kids' well-being.
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