If you've ever attended a wedding where they played the Anniversary Dance, you may have hoped that one day you and your spouse would be one of the last couples standing, receiving cheers and congratulations for having been married fifty or even sixty years. However, it does not look like this is going to be the case for your marriage. In fact, you may have gotten divorced years ago if not for the children.
You may be like many Florida couples who trudge through an unhappy marriage because you want to spare your children the heartache and confusion of divorcing parents. While your intentions may be noble, some child and family professionals recommend that you remain alert for signs that your children are suffering despite your efforts.
Seeing both sides
Many child psychologists have concluded that children fare better with both parents involved in their lives, and family courts often agree. The benefits of remaining married while your children are still in your home include keeping the children under one roof, avoiding custody conflicts and having both parents in the home at critical times, such as dinner and bedtime. Nevertheless, despite your best intentions, your children may suffer if you remain in an unhappy marriage, for example:
- Your children may overhear arguments even if you think you are keeping the conflict away from them.
- Children often sense when a parent is unhappy or resentful, and they may take it personally.
- Your own emotions may distract you from providing the care and protection your children need.
- You or your spouse may unconsciously try to alienate the children from the other parent.
- As time passes, your bitterness may grow if you feel trapped in your marriage and unable to move on with your life.
Some parents find that by remaining together while the children are young, they have an opportunity to mend the rifts in their relationship. However, this is not always the case. In fact, if you are in an abusive relationship or if your spouse has a substance abuse problem, the children may gain few benefits if you stay married.
If you are considering remaining in an intolerable marriage for the sake of the children, you may find that the benefits do not always outweigh the disadvantages. While it is true that children thrive when both parents remain active in their lives, many children of divorce live happy, well-adjusted lives. This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult decisions you will make, and you may need more information to help you take the most appropriate step.