YOU STAY TOGETHER FOR
THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN?
By Richard A. Shulman,
The decision to stay in or leave an unhappy marriage is
one of the most difficult choices that you will ever have
to make; especially when children are involved.
Many make this decision based on what they believe is in
the best interest of the children. They believe that an
intact family, regardless of severe marital conflict is
better than a broken one.
Studies reveal that children who are raised in a two person,
loving, and stable environment show less signs of depression,
anxiety, and defiant behavior and these children also have
better academics and develop the capacity for truly intimate
relationships; children raised in a stressful and conflicted
marriage are more stressed, have more defiant behavior,
and have more disciplinary problems than children raised
in a stable divorced or stable single parent home.
Studies also have shown that children do better when their
parents get divorced, in comparison to their parents living
together in a continuous state of conflict, instability,
argumentation, hatred, and uncertainty.
There is no easy answer. There is no simple answer. However,
there may be an acceptable solution. Your ability to communicate,
provide a stable environment, problem solve, and be loving
will assist your child with this transition.
Before evaluating what is best for you and your family,
it is important to realize that there are pro's and con's
for each scenario.
Barring physical, and/or emotional, or substance addiction,
the five most important questions to ask yourself when contemplating
this decision are:
1. Is this a time limited stressor or conflict?
Relationships go through periods of instability, conflict,
and dislike. Ask yourself whether your relationship is
going through a difficult time or an ongoing stressor?
The rule of thumb is whether these stressors have been
going on for three or more years and resolution does not
seem possible or imminent.
2. Can this problem be resolved through counseling,
mediation, or marital retreats?
How motivated am I to resolve this conflict? How motivated
is my spouse? Are we willing to take the necessary steps
to improve our relationship? Most marriages are salvageable
unless either you or your spouse has lost hope, interest,
or the motivation to save the marriage.
3. Are you and your spouse truly compatible or are
you staying together for the Wrong reasons?
This is a difficult question, because only you and your
spouse know the answer. What is your relationship (foundation)
built on? Do you have the capacity to re-establish trust,
intimacy, friendship, and love? Do you both want to?
4. What are the benefits to staying together or getting
Many times couples move towards divorce due to emotional
reactions and/or impulsivity. Marriage or divorce is a
life long decision that should not be taken lightly. It
is crucial to weigh the pro's and con's of this decision,
while mapping out your life plan for the next month, year,
5. Is this a decision that I want or are my family
and friends guiding me in a particular path or direction?
Many times our family and friends try to guide us in
a direction that they think is best. We end up making
decisions based on their input and suggestions. Getting
divorced is a personal and difficult decision and should
only be instigated by your own personal choice.
Many people marry out of love and divorce out of anger.
Unfortunately, children become the victims of marital war.
Regardless of the decision that you choose, it is important
to remember that when children are involved - your spouse
will be involved in some capacity for all of the activities,
decisions, and emotional consequences that affect the entire
The goal of any decision is to affect and develop a cordial
and harmonious relationship with your spouse. And that is
always in the children's best interest.
Bio and more articles by Richard A. Shulman,