When I mentioned this on facebook, a friend said that she was a child of divorce, and because she doesn't want to put her children through the pain she went through, she is staying in a bad marriage. Well, that makes me even sadder. So I just want to offer advice to her and anyone else who might feel stuck like this. It's advice that I learned from my counselor, and it just makes so much sense.
|No, not one of your options. Sorry.|
People in a relationship have to be on relatively the same level of emotional health to make it work. Imagine a rubber band around two fingers representing the two people and their relationship. When one person starts to grow forward, it creates tension, and one of three things will have to happen to keep the relationship in tact:
1.) The person trying to get healthy will have to regress.
2.) The person who is not as healthy will have to grow.
3.) The person who refuses to get healthy will leave.
Yes, I believe staying together for your children is honorable. I HATE HATE HATE it when a person tells me, "Kids are happier when the parents are happy." I think, "Well, now I know you had an affair." It's an incredibly selfish justification. And the person doesn't even sound happy when the say it.
Rant aside, the healthiest situation for children is to see their parents demonstrating love in all relationships. If you are choosing not to grow to keep your marriage in tact, then that is a decision made out of fear, not love.
So my advice is to grow. Not to pursue happiness, but to grow. That means read your Bible, go to counseling, join an accountability group, set goals, set boundaries, treat your spouse with love and respect, and pray. If you refuse to regress, then one of three two things will have to happen:
1.) Your spouse will have to grow, thus your marriage will become healthier.
2.) The unhealthy person will leave.
This is the hardest thing to do. And it is the most loving thing to do.
I know from experience. My ex did come back at one point, and he even said, "This relationship won't work unless you ____________." I refused to regress. I lost my husband, and I felt guilty about it at first. But had I _____________, I would have taught my kids that loving meant giving the other person what they want, when really it's about giving them what they need.
I grew. He left. And there's garbage to deal with on a daily basis because of it, but at least I'm learning to deal with it in love.
Just this morning I asked God to be my "divorce coach." Because I still have a long way to go.
Here's wishing you all a life of love and growth. You--and your kids--are worth it.