Excuse me while I go on a bit of a rant here. It is a common, way too common, misconception that if you get a divorce you will permanently damage your children. They will be depressed, Woody Allenesque creatures who spend their thirties on a psychiatrist’s couch holding a teddy bear that they stole from Wal-Mart.
Or something like that.
If that is truly the case, our country is screwed. The divorce rate is roughly 41 percent for middle-aged men. That leaves a lot of screwed up kids to be the world’s leaders in twenty years or so.
In a perfect world, marriages really would be until death do us part. Kids would grow up in two-parent homes where they were related by blood to both parents. Everyone would have a comfortable income, enough to eat, and world peace would abound.
The problem is, we don’t live in a perfect world.
All Marriages Are Not Created Equal
I grew up in a two-parent household where I was an only child. My parents adored me, but they fought like gang members from opposite sides of town. When they walked into a room together, you could almost imagine the music from West Side Story playing in the background.
Weekends were miserable. They yelled, cussed, and cut each other down. I can remember one time when I was 10 or so I had a total meltdown in the middle of the hall because I was so stressed from their fighting. It was not fun at all.
They were together until Dad died. Their fights became less frequent but increased in violence. Over the years, I begged these two people that I loved to divorce. I wanted them to be happy. I spent a lot of my childhood playing referee, diffusing their anger at each other, and being a peacemaker. While it’s true that I have mad negotiation skills, it is also true that I carry scars from my childhood--as do we all!
Life Causes Us Issues
I loved reading the biography of Dr. Ben Carson. He was raised by a single mom. He was an African American in a time when there was a strong line drawn between the races, and he was dirt poor. Yet, he grew to be a brilliant pediatric brain surgeon despite the difficulties life threw his way.
If it’s not divorce, it could easily be something else. Truth be told, we are all subjected to issues and hardships, and I don’t believe children of divorce are necessarily worse off than anyone else. I think that it has more to do with how the parents act in the aftermath and how a child is taught to deal with adversity.
We live what we believe. If you believe that your divorce will emotionally shatter your children for life, then you will act in a way that makes them accept that they are emotionally shattered.
Your Children Will Become You
Would you want your daughter to live your life, in your marriage?
You see, the way you live, the treatment you accept, and how you respond will be what she believes is normal and acceptable. The way your husband treats you is quite possibly how your son will treat his wife someday. You set their standard. How do you feel about that?
Not only do you set their standard for how they should define their role as husband or wife, you also define what marriage is--and this is where it gets tricky. If your marriage is unhappy, they’re likely to emulate a fantasy of how marriage should be. No one can live up to a fantasy, and that will spell trouble for them in the long run.
Divorce Can Be Healthy for Your Kids
Divorce can actually be healthier than staying in a toxic marriage. You’ll be happier and more relaxed, which can translate into you being a better parent.
My divorce was relatively easy, and my kids adjusted quickly. When I married again, it was because we had all fallen in love with my husband. He provides a strong character and financial stability that they haven’t had in the past, plus he is one of those guys who lives to spoil his family. My kids see me being valued, and they have a better vision of who they are and what marriage is.
Our lives are infinitely better now.
If I hadn’t remarried I believe we still would have been better off--although it would have been more of a struggle. The peaceful, relaxed atmosphere is providing them a much healthier childhood than before.
Despite the broken home syndrome that they were supposed to have.
It’s a Tough Call
No doubt, it’s a tough decision to make and shouldn’t be made lightly. There is a lot to consider but if you find that you are hanging on to a miserable existence because of the kids you need to realize that you might actually be causing them more emotional harm than a divorce would.
Talk to others who have had to make that choice. Join First Wives World today and get the advice you are looking for from people who understand.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : Heather Williams