Please note that this is a controversial subject. The thoughts reflected below are my opinion and are not necessarily true. I invite all readers to share their opinions too. Please be respectful of others' thoughts and feelings, as this is a very sensitive topic.
I came across an interesting article in The Huffington Post yesterday. David Wygant, a dating and relationship coach, discussed why he feels couples shouldn't stay in marriages for the sake of their children. He expressed that parents who do this are actually a poor example to their children about how to have a loving, happy relationship. Wygant said that it's better to have one parent to love a child and show them the right way to love, than to have two parents showing a child the wrong way to love.
This is a difficult issue for us ACOD's to grapple with, isn't it? When our parents ask us if we want them to be happy, we say "of course!" But that response comes with conditions. We want our parents to be happy with one another, not with anyone else. We can't understand (I still can't sometimes) why our parents can't find happiness in the way our family was and has been. Why do they need to break up our family and cause pain in order to search for it?
I have mixed feelings about Wygant's article and this issue. I agree that parents staying together for the sake of the kids can cause a significant amount of pain. In some ways, it's actually much more difficult to be an adult child of divorce. Your family has been together alot longer and when that ends, you feel as if your life is a lie. This is where I can see Wygant's point in that parents who stay in an unhappy marriage are doing their kids more harm than good. Some people let their marriage fall by the wayside and I believe there are consequences for that. Unfortunately that sometimes means divorce. Do they deserve to be happy again after the divorce is over? I (sometimes grudgingly) reply yes.
However, I do feel that many couples who are unhappy give up too easily. They don't want to work at it when things get tough. In that case, I do think it's wrong for them to get divorced. They made a commitment to one another and need to do their best to work things out, whether through counseling, etc. Too many marriages fail because of the lack of effort and because staying together involves too much work. Our society does not take marriage seriously enough. We make commitments and then break them. How about showing your kids what it means to make a marriage work? What it means to pour your heart and soul into it? Because getting a divorce also sends a message, just like staying together in an unhappy marriage does.
What are your thoughts? Would love to hear from other ACOD's, people who have gone through a divorce, and anyone who has an opinion on the subject. Feel free to email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.