Should You Divorce for the Sake of the Kids?
If the reason you’re considering divorce is for the sake of the kids, consider this: if this really is about the kids, parents would do everything in their power to face the issues and not leave the marriage for the children’s sake.
In my case, my father did not work as hard on the marriage that I as a little boy wanted him to work. Though I don’t recall him shouting, “We need to separate and divorce for the sake of the kids” I knew he and mom divorced for the sake of us kids, and that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted them to work on their marriage and learn what they need to learn to make them and our family happy.
When my dad divorced at age 35, he had never built the wisdom necessary to skillfully deal with conflict into his life. From childhood, he personalized too much and flew off the handle real quick. He should have faced himself on this matter in his late teens and early 20’s. This was his issue, not mom’s.
On the other side, my mom needed to learn the skill (which she learned later) of how to effectively defuse my dad when he misinterpreted the circumstances.
Insecure men can be talked down with Respect-Talk, and that does not make a woman a doormat but a prudent woman approaching such a man as male leaders approach him. Strong men know how to defuse such a man, and these strong men do not become doormats, stuffing their personal identify and feelings.
As for my mom, she was not responsible for my dad, but she was not without responsibility.
As God empowers husbands (Hosea 3:1), so God empowers wives. (1 Peter 3:1,2)
Most hold men responsible for the abuse, and I get that, but often it is the man feeling disrespected, dishonored, and disdained, and he reacts.
In my case, this was more about my dad than my mom. This was about my dad’s moments of rage. But 99% of it was rooted in his insecurity, and all he needed to do was seek out wise counsel to help him interpret what was going on.
My mom could have gained the skills needed to help her understand why my dad interpreted circumstances as he did. She had incredible power and influence, and she applied that later after they remarried. She could have learned this earlier on for my sake.
This isn’t putting the onus on women and somehow blaming a woman like my mom for the abuse of my father. However, we make “abuse” a monster, rather than seeing it as something that can be defused. Men continually defuse other men and they do so by appealing to their sense of honor.
I am not here to claim there is no abuse. What I am countering is the idea of making this claim prematurely or under false pretenses and then deciding that you must divorce for the sake of the kids.
For the sake of their children, couples need to work on their marriages, not get out of them.
For their children’s sake, parents need to stay together.
For their children’s sake, parents need to understand and be more skilled at relating to one another.
Children should not be the reason for divorce.
If you really care about your kids, you would give 110% to work on your marriage. You would:
- seek out the best counselors.
- join a couples’ Bible study.
- have older couples with successful marriages over for their input.
- go on marriage retreats.
- attend marriage conferences.
- read books on marriage like Love and Respect.
- argue behind closed doors so the kids don’t hear you.
Would you extend the kindness of allowing me to ask you three questions that might easily offend you? Is the truth here that:
- you are out of control?
- you do not want to make the marriage work?
- you are lying about this being for the sake of the kids?
I do not intend to shame you, but rather to join arms with you in preserving what you prize more than any other relationships on the planet: your family.
Furthermore, I don’t want you to say years later, “Why didn’t anybody hit this issue head on and call me out?”
For those of us following God, we read in the Bible something that ought to humble and motivate us. Malachi says that having this kind of mindset results in:
1. God not hearing your prayers.
“Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” (Malachi 2:13,14 NIV)
2. your offspring being horribly affected.
“Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:15 NIV)
3. your actions being hated by God.
“‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘and him who covers his garment with wrong,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’”(Malachi 2:16 NASB)
We never serve our children well when we serve each other divorce papers.
As one parent has said,
“I love my children and really don’t want to hurt them or screw them up. I know how my parents’ divorce affected me. I never want to break my sweet children’s hearts…”
- Do you feel you and your spouse have done everything in your power to face your issues and not leave the marriage for the children’s sake?
- Have you tried to gain understanding and skills of relating to each other for your children’s sake?
- Have you sought counseling, joined a Bible Study, attended a marriage retreat or conference, read any books on marriage?
- What are your thoughts about the fact that your failing marriage affects your prayers and your offspring?
- Do you now think you could come up with a better option to keep your family together and not break your children’s hearts?
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