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What if it doesn’t work?: Divorce vs. Staying together

Updated on November 10, 2016

Marriage can bring happiness just as the sun brings light to the day, as it can also bring sadness as deep as the darkest night. It takes dedication and compromise to forgo the natural instinct of being selfish within a relationship. When a couple decides to have children without first conquering their own selfishness two things may occur. First, the couple may stay together for the sake of their children leaving the aspect of love out of the equation. Second, they may choose to split and get a divorce. The prospect of having to choose one or the other is a devastatingly emotional task for everyone involved. When a decision must be made, divorce may be the best option because the negative effects of staying in a loveless marriage can be more damaging to the family structure than the negative effects of a divorce.
Children and parents alike are inundated by the breaking of a marriage. Whether the parents stay together for the kids or get a divorce, the family structure will be broken. In the event the parents stay together, the emotions within the household will be rocky and in some cases may even turn violent. Divorce may also have this effect, as the parents hold grudges and fight over the children, each believing they are the better option for raising them. While living together parents may vie for the affections of each child differently, creating animosity between siblings and may even cause a rift in the relationship between parent and child. The only way to ensure proper parenting in these situations is to co-parent effectively with empathy and understanding.
If the parents are unwilling or unable to try and reconcile their feelings for one another the dangers of staying together in a loveless marriage outweigh that of a divorce. A constant back and forth for power and/or affection may be an everyday occurrence in this situation. In an article from Psychology Today the Author writes
“While it's true that kids being raised by "harmoniously married" parents do better than others, both sociologists and psychologists consistently find that kids who are raised by unhappily married parents do worse than kids whose unhappily married parents get divorced” (Carter, 2012).
The difference between the power struggle within the home versus a separate household is not always apparent, but is one huge factor that either will help or negate the healing process. Although, their reasons may be pure in intent for their children, most parents only look to their own feelings when going through this ordeal. This creates an atmosphere of frustration and resentment within the family unit. "children of parents who stayed in an unhappy married life are the one's who seem to lack confidence in themselves. Such children grow up to be adults who have a negative notion about love. They either find complexity in expressing their emotions to their beloved or they consider themselves unworthy of love. This might be so because they have grown up watching people who failed in leading a content and joyous life". (Walsh, 2007)
Children look to their parents for security and guidance, but if the parents are arguing with each other or battling for their own independence within the household, then the child is left with confusion and uncertainty. This constant struggle between the parents teaches the child that pettiness and vengeance are common, and he/she may have problems with their own relationships throughout their lives. Other common effects on a child in this situation may include poor academics, resistance to authority, social awkwardness and depression.
Like a thousand mirrors falling upon the tarmac of an airport, divorce can shatter a child’s world emotionally but it can also open the road to healing. Susan Pease says (nd), “How a couple divorces does more to determine how well children fare than the mere fact that they divorced”. Divorce, like a loveless marriage, can effect social interaction and emotional stability for all who are involved. It could cause a child to have a fear of commitment and effect the way he/she relates to significant others. If not handled properly a child could be lost in the bickering of a proverbial tug of war between their parents. The one saving grace for this is that each member gets a chance to heal, both parents move on to their separate lives, with each being able to spend personal time with themselves and their children. So it can be argued that “…on average, divorce actually helps kids when it ends an unhappy, high-conflict marriage (Carter,2012). Although, the child may still have the same social and emotional effects that also come with a loveless marriage, with proper co-parenting skills after a divorce, these children can overcome some of these trials and avoid some of the long term negative effects.


Carter, Ph.D, Christine L, (March 10, 2012) Is Divorce Immature and Selfish? Or will it actually be good for your kids? in Raising Happiness, Psychology Today

Pease, Susan (nd) Top misguided reasons to stay in a bad marriage. Retrieved From

Walsh, J. (2007, August 29). Should You Keep Tolerating a Bad Marriage for the Sake of the Family?. Retrieved from­You-­Keep-­Tolerating-­a-­Bad-­Marriage-­for-­the-­Sake-­of-­the-­Family?&id=708837


Click on link below picture to visit the source article

Should You Keep Tolerating a Bad Marriage for the Sake of the Family?

By James Walsh | Submitted On August 29, 2007


To go to Psychology Today and read cited source. Click on the link under the picture.

Is Divorce Immature and Selfish? Or will it actually be good for your kids?

Published on March 10, 2012 by Christine L. Carter, Ph.D. in Raising Happiness

You Decide

Is staying together better for the kids?

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© 2013 Warren Curtis Daniels Jr


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