I have been working in the world of divorce for over 10 years. I have watched families fall apart over and over again. I estimate that I have worked with thousands of families in divorce at this point. One thing that it has taught me is that I believe in marriage, especially when you have children.
Marriage is tough. It is work, sometimes a lot of work. There are times when my husband is not my most favorite person, and I am not his. However, working with families of divorce on a daily basis has made me determined to work on my marriage. When I first married my husband, I knew I didn’t want to divorce, but I was not adamantly against it. I thought there were times when marriages needed to end and people should move on. However, as I continue in my profession, I will do almost anything to make my marriage work. I am willing to endure the difficult days, and I cherish the positive days.
Why is that? Because I see the costs of divorce, and it is ugly. A friend was recently contemplating leaving her husband because she was not happy. I told her to think about it very carefully before filing. I advised her to reflect on who her husband might marry once they divorced. Did she want her children to have a stepmom who she wasn’t comfortable with being a part of her children’s lives? It would not be fun to be on the other side of some woman taking care of your children. I asked her what it would be like for her children to go back and forth between two homes?
You know those traits that drive you nuts about your man? Like him being chronically late or forgetful? Well, you will have to deal with those in the most difficult situations, such as coordinating exchanges or trying to schedule extracurricular activities for your children. Maybe you think he is tight with money…well, once divorced, he might nickel and dime you even more over the children’s needs. My point is that you will not be getting away from those character flaws that frustrate you because you will still be raising children together.
One thing working in divorce has taught me is that I believe in marriage, especially when you have children.
And can you imagine 50% of your children’s childhood without you? I sure can’t. I can’t imagine missing out on lots of little moments because I chose to separate our family. I can’t imagine not being able to put them to bed or kiss them or encourage them daily.
Rarely do children find the positive in living in two homes. Believe me, I work with them to focus on the good. For example, multiple Christmases means lots of presents. But they pray and dream of their parents getting back together. They hope and fantasize about what their family would be if only their parents were together. And if the fighting continues post-divorce, you have increased their chances exponentially to experience teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, becoming a lawbreaker, and the list goes on.
So, all of this has made me even more determined to learn to live with this man who is all mine—good and bad. I will learn to get along and fight fairly. I will do what I can to ensure that we get to grow old together. Sometimes I will use all the grit I have to get through the day. And many days I will ask for grace and offer it in return. All of this so that we do not experience all of the heartache that goes along with divorce.
Don’t miss this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: When to Leave an Unhealthy Relationship with Your Man – with Dr. Zoe Shaw – 024!
You may also want to listen to this one A Therapist’s Practical Advice for Blended Families with Dr. Zoe Shaw – 050.
Enjoy these related articles: 5 Things I’ve Learned in a Decade of Wifing, Ask Dr. Zoe – Dealing With a Disconnected Husband, 6 Easy Ways to Spice Up Your Relationship Right Now, What This Strong Woman Did When Her Husband Left, Take It Easy—On Your Man, and I Cheated: How Grace Changed My Marriage for Better and Stepmother: the Most Difficult Job in a Family.