Have you heard of people staying in a failed marriage “for the kids’ sake”? There are people who actually plan to go through the motions of being married for years, until the kids graduate and leave the home. At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we do not support this course of action for numerous reasons, and last week we discussed the legal reasons behind our position. If you missed that essay, you can find it here. Here are some relationship related reasons why staying together for the kids is a bad idea:
- You have a duty to your kids to raise them the best way you can. A major — and often overlooked — way that children learn from their parents is by imitation the behavior of their parents. What lesson does staying in a marriage that holds you down teach to your children? Does it teach them to honor your commitments? No, because that lesson is out the window as soon as they leave the home and you file your divorce. Does it teach them to make sacrifices for family? Maybe, but would you really want them to stay in an unhappy marriage like you did? It’s bad enough for a parent to spend their precious days in a miserable relationship, but would you really recommend that for your children??
- Children are intuitive. When people ask me if I think they should stay together for the kids, I respond “It depends. How dumb are your kids?” Because if you think you can fake it with your spouse, and your kids won’t realize there a problem, I believe you are mistaken. Kids aren’t stupid. They can see a lack of affection between mom and dad. Kids can tell when there is authentic love and affection between their parents and when there isn’t. Faking a relationship “for the kids” shows the kids that their parents either think they are too dumb to see what’s happening in front of their faces or their parents are willing to deceive them rather than be honest about the situation.
There is a better option. If the marriage has failed, be honest with yourself, your spouse, and your children. Consider how much effort it will take for you to go through the motions of a marriage for a decade. Now take a fraction of that energy, and apply that energy to keeping the divorce civil. During the divorce, stay focused on being a great parent. Help your spouse also be a great parent. Consider that you can teach your kids valuable life lessons through divorce like the value of honesty, the value of self-worth, the value of being rational and reasonable when making grown-up decisions, the value of putting the needs of your children in front of your own impulses when you face adversity in the divorce, and much more.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping working people live the life they WANT through divorce and beyond. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in lawfw.biz and press Go. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/youngbloodlawPLLC/