If you’re planning a separation or divorce and you have children (and you love them) my advice to you would be think again. You cannot afford to do it. The only situation where separation or divorce could even be entertained is where there is absolutely no chance of a healthy reconciliation. This is relatively rare for those in mature relationships where the longevity of the years is there.
This means, if you’re still together and you’re just considering it, don’t. If separating is a discretionary thing, don’t. Work out your problems; you will leave a legacy for your kids that must be left. This is your primary purpose for being. People choose too lightly to become parents if they do not see this life choice as binding for life; at least as far as kids are concerned.
Furthermore, most step mothers and step fathers find it difficult to love their step children unconditionally; in fact, a lot of blood parents struggle with it. There are exceptions to this but they are less common. The fact is, if you separate from your spouse, at some point you’ll want another relationship. Your new partner might be alright with you, but it’s not just about you.
If you have already invested ten, fifteen, or twenty years of marriage or defacto relationship that is too much to lose by giving up. You probably have the best years in front of you, if you persist and bear with the present difficulties. If you do give up, you not only give up on these best years, you’ll open yourself and your present family up to some very bad outcomes, some of which will be irreparable once you take the plunge. The issue is you will seek another partner eventually and your kids will have to deal with rejection, adjustment, or gaining approval that they never would have had to had you and your present partner stayed together. Children are always the innocent party and are always the ones most hurt and affected by divorce.
If you truly have not lost sight of your life purpose, i.e. with children, it is to bring them up the best you can, you can still salvage your ailing marriage or defacto relationship. Both of you must want it, however, for it to work. Both of you need to be selfless for your children. It is possible though if one partner really wants it and the other, whilst they may not be as passionate, is prepared to stick around.
Divorce and you severely test the generational boundaries; you bring cursing into this and succeeding generations, not blessing. Whatever short term gain you might hope to gain from divorce is short lived; it’ll last a year or two at best and then you’ll have wreckage to live with all about you. Some of this you simply can’t foresee at this stage. Save the regret.
I believe that the best way to deal with this horrible phenomenon, reactively i.e. in separation, is to teach resilience to affected kids and parents alike. Children need it to survive and have hope for the future; and to be able to know how to draw love from whatever sources might be about them. Children, it is said, deal well with resilience given the opportunity. Parents need it so they can remain strong for their children, particularly by being loving still to their former spouse; this is most of all important for the children.
The wise thing to do if you’re married with children, and there’s no irreconcilable issue to deal with, is to stay that way. Work on your marriage. Let nothing come between you. The best years could be yet to come.
Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.