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November 13, 2012

Do it For the Kids

Occasionally I run across articles claiming that studies have shown that it's better for children to be shuffled between their divorced parents than it is to stay in a home where there is constant strife. Perhaps this is so. But it reminds me of those crazy schoolyard debates we used to have:

Would you rather go blind or deaf?
Would it be worse to freeze to death or starve?
If you had to give up a body part, would you pick your leg or your arm?

These are all terrible choices, and no one really thinks that either one is a good idea.

Research tells us that children are actually much better off when their parents stay together in an atmosphere of love and respect. They do better in school, have more self confidence, and are more likely to have positive adult relationships.

A number of studies suggest that most troubled marriages can be saved. But people usually wait much too long before seeking help. Typically, a couple waits five years or more after a problem is first noticed before they get counseling, and by then the situation may have become unbearable. Many people avoid counseling because they think it is too expensive (divorce is even more expensive), because they are embarrassed (divorce is much more embarrassing), or because they don't think it will work (you never know until you try).

Counseling is not the only option. Marriage education classes, weekend retreats, reading self-help books together, being mentored by a successfully long-married couple you know, all can help a couple get back on track. What matters most is taking steps to make a positive change. Like anything that is worthwhile, it requires effort. You may have to talk about some sensitive subjects and change some habits. It's not always easy, but it is worth doing. If you aren't motivated to do it for yourself, do it for your children.

1 smart person said something:

  1. I wish my parents had looked at it this way.


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