Let me begin by saying it’s very possible and probable that there are persons who will choose to be offended by what I write here. Specifically, my parents, siblings, or other family members. It is not my intention in the least to hurt anyone. If I can make even one person rethink that divorce is an option, then it will be worth the trouble I could potentially stir up.
Divorce. It’s a word that is not allowed in our marriage. Josh and I made that promise early on. Never – and I mean NEVER is that word used as a threat against the other person. Divorce is not something we take lightly. With good reason. We both come from divorced families. We don’t want to put our children through the crap we had to go through. Or continue to go through.
Our stories are very different. Today I speak to you from mine, but please don’t assume I’m naive enough to believe that my perspective accurately portrays all divorces or that some divorces don’t seem like the best idea for the children. Obviously, if your children are in physical danger that’s a different story. However, too many people today convince themselves the grass is greener on the other side. Divorce will be better than staying with their spouse. And I’m telling you right now: It won’t. It will not be better for you or your children. You know what’s good for your children? Seeing their parents fight for their marriage, battling to make it stronger. Showing your children THEY are worth the fight. If you don’t love your spouse or even yourself enough to fight for your marriage, do you love your kids enough to fight for it?
When you choose to divorce your spouse, you are choosing a divorce for your whole family. I don’t care how many good reasons you can come up with as to why a divorce will benefit your family. You will never be able to foresee all of the pain and worry it will cause your children. It will absolutely affect the person they become in more ways than you can imagine. It will absolutely affect your relationship with them. Negatively.
But Lisa, you don’t know my story.
You’re right. But I know mine. And I beg you. Please don’t make your child suffer the heartache that comes with divorce. Choosing sides. The pressure to make sure both parents feel equally loved – always trying not to show one parent or one family more attention than the other. Probably more than anything else, I’ve felt the strain and the pressure of trying to please everyone. My dad. My mom. My stepdad. My (now ex-) stepmom. It’s just not humanly possible to please everyone. And honestly, it’s just not fair to do that to your kid. It has totally influenced the person I’ve become today. I am by nature a people pleaser, and I fight it all the time. All. the. time. I hate it.
I did not choose divorce. You did. And when you chose divorce, you chose to make me choose. You chose to make me choose between holidays with your family or the other – vacation time, school breaks, weekends, birthdays, weddings, graduations. Every time I choose I am forced to hurt someone. When I accept one parent I am by default rejecting the other. And that just sucks. I have to feel the guilt and regret of hurting the people I love most in this world.
I think sometimes my parents tried to hide the hurt. At other times they couldn’t help but show it. When someone hurts you, you want them to know. I don’t blame them for that. But it was their choice that put us all in this position. And if you choose divorce I can guarantee you will be putting your kids in that same position. Essentially, you will be forcing them to hurt you… And that will hurt them too.
There are moments throughout my life that replay in my mind – actions of mine that completely unintentionally hurt my parents. And they mar what should be happy memories of my life’s most significant events. I’m sure there were times too when my parents were hurt and never showed it. I’m always left to wonder if my actions, my choices are hurting someone I love.
Has it gotten better through the years? Yes. Have I learned how to navigate life with 2 families? Yes. But once the path of divorce has been chosen, it is chosen. You cannot escape it. The after effects will last until you leave this earth. Even once your kids are grown, there will be grandkids. Your children will once again be forced to choose.
I want you to know that my life is not some terrible, horrible thing. I am very blessed. The Lord can take the bad and use it for good. He certainly has done that in my life. I have a wonderful stepfather and wonderful step- and half-siblings who all would not be in my life had my parents stayed together. And I am so very grateful for them. I can’t imagine my life without these people. I’ve never known any other life. I’ve never known a life where there was one mom and one dad and one family. But oh, how I long for it. And OH, how I will fight for that for my children! Because I’ve seen the other side, and I will tell you the grass is not greener. It is a rotten brown where a few precious flowers have sprung up. If I were you, I’d stick with the lawn I have. A little maintenance on your part is a lot better than uprooting your kids and dumping them in an empty lot.