“I don’t think you should stay married just for your kids,” came a snarky reply from a high school friend. This was the same friend who was floored to find out I was getting married after only one semester in college. She really had no idea about how negatively her child was being influenced by her decision. She truly didn’t understand how staying married can make you a better parent.
The same friend mentioned above was concerned that I was jumping into a life-long commitment too early — marriage. In her opinion, I was too young and too inexperienced to truly know who was suppose to be my soul mate.
But the truth is, I knew and whole-heartedly believed, and still do, that marriage should never be entered into lightly. I also believe marriage is for one woman and one man for one lifetime. My friend who thought I was too young to get married suddenly changed her mind about marriage when struggles came her way. She didn’t want to be married to the man who was the father of her child. She didn’t love him and he had a lot of faults — period.
However, with God’s help and grace, I am staying married to my one and only — and we will be celebrating 15 years of marriage this year! It’s not been easy, and we have had many differences, but both of us have chosen to stay married to each other. And yes, it has made us better parents.
Let’s be open and honest about this marriage and divorce issue. My heart literally breaks for marriages that end up in divorce. Everyone gets hurt — everyone. Divorce is caused by sin, lies, deception and selfishness. Sometimes it’s both the husband and the wife who causes the divorce — sometimes it is only one person in the wrong.
I know several ladies that are faithful to God, their church and their kids. They loved their husbands and did all they could to work things out. They even forgave their husbands after their husbands committed adultery, developed an addiction to pornography and even beat them. One of them still tears up today when she tells me about all the pain and suffering she went through. Those women loved their husbands, their kids and God. They wanted to stay married. They wanted to give their kids a home with two ever-present, loving parents. But their spouses chose another path.
Their spouses chose sin and selfishness over family. And for those sweet friends of mine, I cry and pray. Those sweet moms deserved so much better, but are having to go on with life while trying to glue all the pieces of their shattered families back together. To those moms, I say you are an awesome mom. You are a strong mom who will always be an example of someone who did all she could do to save her marriage. You, sweet moms, are not the subject of this article. You know firsthand that life for your children is better when the mom and dad remain faithful to each other and choose to work through their differences. But, circumstances happened beyond your control and you are doing the best you can — and God will bless and help you. And I thank you for continuing to love your children and your God, even through the toughest of trials. You, sweet moms, are my heroes. You really are.
But for the moms who flippantly walk away from your marriages over “irreconcilable differences,” I would love to have a chat with you.
Let’s lay it all out. Marriage is tough. Marriage is full of amazing experiences and high mountaintops. But marriage can also be a gut-wrenching, sobbing all night kind of experience. Sooner of later your spouse will fail you. And they may do so quite miserably. Sometimes your spouse may morph into some creature that you never knew existed. What do you do then? Do you walk away so you can start all over?
Let me let you in on a little secret. As much as I wish that you could start all over — you can’t. You have already made vows, you have become one flesh and you are now a parent. You can’t throw those things away and start over. They are a part of your life now, and you can’t just “let it go.”
But, you know what? Not everyone is telling you to walk away from your marriage. In n fact, I am thrilled that there are people all across the internet that focus on encouraging husbands and wives in their marriage. And do you know what else? Right now, one of the best inspirational, encouraging resources about marriage, homemaking and parenting is available — but only until April 27th midnight EST! Psst! Each ebook is only around $0.30! Crazy cheap, right?! The ebooks, ecourses, printables and audio courses are from some of the most inspiring homemakers around the globe who have a heart for marriage, homemaking, homeschooling, crafts, meal-planning, financial wisdom and anything that can or will help a home flourish. So go ahead and check out the amazing bundle while it’s still available. And, enjoy all the fun bonuses that are included! The bonuses have a much higher value than the price of the bundle. It literally pays for itself. Do you know why? Because the ladies behind this bundle truly desire every home me to be blessed with the best resources to make marriage and homemaking journeys the best yet.
Right now I am teaching my kids this: marriage is made up of two sinners. Your husband/wife will mess up. They will hurt you — and you know what? You will hurt them. It’s hard to even imagine those circumstances when you are enjoying your wedding ceremony and the first year of marriage. But the sooner my kids realize this truth, the better.
Children need truth, stability and constant love and affection in their life. They also need examples of real marriages that include real problems. You can offer that to your child if you choose to stay married. And you can offer them so much more! Consider these advantages your children will have if you choose to stay married to your spouse.
Why Staying Married Can Make You a Better Parent
- Kids learn faithfulness. If your child brings home a bad grade from school, do you disown him and walk away? Nope. You and your best friend have a fuss, do you never call her back? Do you shove her out of your life like yesterday’s garbage? No, that’s kind of insane. So why would you want to divorce your spouse if they continually forget your birthday or lose their job? What if they lose their cool and yell at you? Do you call it quits? No, you remain faithful to your spouse and work through your relationship issues. You get help when you need it, but you remain faithful. You stand by your spouse in the good days and the bad days. You strive to keep your wedding vows, even if you forget to cherish your spouse all the days of your life.
- Kids enjoy balance in the home. When you choose to stay married, your children grow up with the balance of female and male guidance in their life. They really need both. Your husband is the strong male figure that enforces and sets the rules. You are the soft and loving arms that welcome the skinned knees and tummy aches. Your husband takes them fishing, plays basketball with them and teaches them how to ride a bike. You fold their clothes, give them fashion advice and listen to their innermost thoughts. Yes , your kids have it made when they have a mom and dad in the home to give them the exact baalance they need to be prepared for adult life.
- Everyone gets to enjoy the holidays — together. Isn’t it stressful to be split up over the holidays? We have divorced parents in our family and it gets stressful at times to make sure that our family gets to see everyone during the holidays. Sometimes we have to choose more time on this holiday with this family and less time with that family. One of the best parts of the holidays is that everyone gets to spend time together, without work, school and other distractions. It’s time set apart to just enjoy the closest people in our lives. If the family has divorced family members, that special oneness is now scattered across the country.
- Kids have a higher self-worth. Parents may emphasize over and over that it is not the child’s fault when a divrce happens. But many adults I have spoken with on this topic tell me that they have always wondered what was wrong with them. Why did their mom or dad leave? Why didn’t they love them enough to stay? Were they not smart enough, prety enough or talented enough? There is no doubt that your child will experience negative effects if you choose to divorce. Show your child he does matter by choosing to stay married, even when things are shaky and tough.
- Kids are less likely to get involved in drugs and crime. According to this study children from divorced homes are more likely to get involved in drugs and commit suicide. Now, that’s a sobering thought.
- You provide your child with a more financially stable home. Splitting the income in half, paying lawyer bills, childcare costs and the extra travel to and from the other parent’s home can wreck havoc on a family’s finances. Two are better than one — even in the financial area of marriage.
- Kids learn that you keep your promises. Your kids need someone they can trust. If they see you walking away from one of the biggest promises you made in your life, how do they know you will keep the smaller ones? Will you really be there for them when they need you? Do you really believe what you teach? If you choose to stay married, kids will see that what you teach and say is truly what you believe. Though your marriage isn’t perfect, you have chosen to stick to your promise and not to depart from your spouse until death.
- Kids have an honest, positive view on marriage. If your child grows up seeing how your marriage was ripped to shreds, saw other spouses come into the picture and saw how your body shook with sobs everytime you say your ex-husband with someone else, it will be difficult to provide a happy, positive view of marriage. Some marriages can’t stay together because one spouse refuses to make amends, but if you can hold onto your marriage, I encourage you to stick to it and ride out the storms. When the storms are over, you can enjoy the peace and companionship of the one you committed your life to on your wedding day. And you know what else? You can look at your child and honestly say, “Marriage is tough, but it can also be a wonderful, amazing gift to enjoy on this earth.”
If you’re having doubts about staying in your marriage, may I encourage you to keep working on it and praying about it? God sees your trials and He will hear your prayers. He can work in your and your spouse’s heart, and turn them once again to each other. Choose to stay married and be the better parent your child deserves.
*Affiliate links have been added to an amazing marriage resource!*