Thousands of moms and dads face this question every day. Should they stay in a loveless, negative marriage in hopes that this decision will be best for the children?
Here are four keys to think about when you’re trying to decide if it’s better to stay in an unhealthy marriage for the kids, or leave it and start over again.
1. Make the decision based on what feels right to you
This is never an easy decision, nor should it be. We have heard for years through various experts that it is much better having two parents in a household then splitting the household and making the children live with mom in one home and dad in another.
Remember to make the decision based on what feels right to you and your specific instance, versus following my advice or any other expert in the world of relationships. It should always be up to you, but don’t make the decision based on someone else’s opinion. And also, never make a decision based on guilt.
2. If you stay in a bad marriage, your children pick up bad ideas
From the ages of 0 to 18, the subconscious mind is being filled with what is right and wrong through environmental exposure.
So a child raised in a household where smoking is done on a regular basis, the subconscious mind is telling that child that smoking is OK. Regardless of what a teacher says, or the curriculum in a health class that would say smoking is not good, children raised where smoking is done in the home will be taught that it’s OK. Even if the parents tell their children not to smoke,
In a loveless marriage, or an abusive marriage, or a marriage where Addiction is taking place by one of the partners, I personally believe that the best decision is to end the marriage after first attempting to reconcile it.
When we try to stay in a loveless, or emotionally or physically abusive marriage, the children are picking up the same ideas that I mentioned above about smoking. That it’s OK to yell at your wife. It’s OK to lie to your husband.
It’s OK if you’re drunk, to treat your partner incorrectly. These are the messages children are receiving on a daily basis when they’re exposed to a loveless or detrimental relationship in the home.
This is where kids learn about passive aggressive behavior, about codependency, about accepting emotional or physical abuse and or giving emotional and or physical abuse.
The sad thing here is, they will probably repeat it in the future in their relationships as well. The subconscious mind when we’re young, and even as we age, constantly accepts the environment that we live in as normal. As OK. Regardless if it’s unhealthy or not, the longer we stay in an unhealthy environment the more we accept it as being normal.
It is because of this one point, that couples need to think very deeply about ending the relationship and moving on so that the children are not exposed to the negativity of mom and dad constantly being in the same home.
3. Get at least one professional opinion before you make your decision
Reach out to a minister, priest, a rabbi if you have a strong religious foundation as well as a counselor, therapist and or life coach. Ask questions. Do the written assignments that these professionals give you. Look deep into your heart and soul about your role in the dysfunction of your marriage, in order to make the best decision for your children not for you.
4. Create a plan in writing about your decision to stay or leave
Create a plan in writing if you’re going to stay, and a plan in writing if you’re going to leave. Don’t leave it to chance. Get very logical, in an extremely emotional situation, and write out the steps that you need to take if you’re going to stay to save and turn around the relationship. Or, if you’re going to leave, write out the logical steps and a timeline necessary in order to make it happen.
In my opinion, the worst move someone could make would be to sit on the fence. To hope that time will heal things. Here’s a huge wake-up call: Time heals nothing. I don’t care how many times you’ve heard that time heals everything, in actuality, it doesn’t heal a damn thing.
The only way that time can heal anything, is if you apply time plus work. Don’t put your children’s future lives and relationships at stake without doing intense work right now. They need you to make the best decision. Do it today.”
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.