“Ugh, I can’t take it anymore! You won’t believe what he said to me today!”
A friend recently ranted about her husband’s daily failings as a husband, and if her accounts were true, he really was pretty awful that day. I’m sometimes tempted to call her husband and give him a piece of my mind, but a wise aunt once told me that we should never intervene into someone else’s marriage, and for good reason. We usually aren’t getting the full story, and if we knew the full story, we would have wished we had stayed out of it (or at least didn’t do something stupid, like telling a friend’s husband off when it turns out that after getting all the facts, we would be on his side).
A happy marriage is a blessing, and divorce is one of the most traumatic events of a person’s life. It’s incredible to me that so many divorces occur considering how much work is actually involved in separating a family and two lives that were once so connected. Divorce involves the separating of finances, possessions, time with children, the splitting of entire social circles and often a drastic change in lifestyle. Yet over 40% of first marriages end in divorce, and many people who divorce go on to second and third splits.
I recently read an article by a divorce lawyer suggesting women considering divorce proceed with caution because things may not always work out so well for them, even if they get everything they think they want, and I found myself agreeing based on the slew of divorces we have already witnessed since we got married ten years ago. If you are married to someone you are considering leaving (and you may very well have good reason to), I would love for you to at least read my reasons for reconsidering… at least until the children are up and out. If there is no violence in the home, if he isn’t bringing drugs or awful influences into the home, and if he isn’t gambling away the kids’ college tuition, please consider these five really good reasons to stay married when you have minor children.
Five Good Reasons To Stay Married
1. Your children will no longer always be under your roof This is definitely the biggest reason I think people should reconsider getting a divorce. I apologize for aiming my post at women, because I feel men who are good dads should listen up here too. If you are married to someone you think is just awful, a mistake, so not the person for you, and you just want to move on and find someone better, be aware that you will not be able to put your children to sleep every night. You won’t be able to have dinner with them every evening. You won’t know that they are safely asleep in their beds at a reasonable hour, or have a chance to sit and chat with them about their day. You will miss a lot, and so will they. And if you remarry and have more children with whom you do live daily, I promise you that the children you see part-time will feel cheated.
So to my friend who left his wife because she was “just too crazy”, and now finds himself with angry adult children because they only saw him every other weekend since he left years back (he spent every night with his three new children with wife #2), it’s not that surprising they are still angry. If she was too crazy for you, why leave your children alone with her? Who would leave their children with a crazy person? So whatever your reason for thinking you just can’t stand another minute with this person because of their personality flaws, ask yourself why you’d leave your children alone half the time with such a person. And then ask yourself if you can stay a few more years until they are able to fly the coop.
2. You have no control over how your children are treated, what they are taught, or who they are spending time with when they are in the care of your ex-spouse. This is another big one. If you are mad that your spouse cheated on you with your best friend, think about how it will feel having to drop your kids off to stay with your ex-spouse for the weekend… and your ex-best friend. Because that happens all the time, and you can’t control what they tell your children, or what they expose your children to. No one will love your children as much as you do, so if you want to make sure the environment around your children is always kid-friendly, innocent, and safe, you can only do that if you have them 100% of the time.
And if your spouse has shady friends that never come into your home together, know that they will come into his or her home after they move out, and you can’t do anything about it, and your kids will be around them, so again, protect your children. These are reasons why I honestly think that if your spouse screws up or suddenly engages in activities that are unsavory (but always away from home), stay until the kids are 18 to protect them from it … and then feel free to leave the cheater (or whatever the vice) and be happy.
3. You may think your spouse does nothing, but…your spouse does something Maybe your husband takes out the garbage every single day, or helps pay the mortgage, or is the only person who can put the baby to sleep. If you get a divorce, your already overfull schedule and overstressed life will now take on those things that your spouse did as well. And while you may think your husband or wife doesn’t do much, if you make a list of what they actually do, you may be surprised.
I would strongly recommend starting this list (and hiding it) and putting everything on it. Everything. If your husband makes the coffee in the morning and makes extra so it’s ready for you when you wake up, that is 5 minutes saved. If he takes your car in for oil changes, or shovels the snow every winter, or fixes leaky pipes, write it all down. If your wife makes your lunch daily, if she calls your mom to make sure she’s ok and to remind her to take her medicine, if she does homework with your kids every night, she is doing a lot, so write it all down. It’s not just what your spouse does for you that matters, but what is done for the family unit as a whole to keep the home running… taking care of bills, repairs, meals, social activities, childcare, etc… it’s incredibly hard for one person to do it all, so unless you are independently wealthy and don’t need to work, consider that maybe you can’t do it all and maybe having a spouse that does their share is a pretty good thing.
4. Your social circle will change All your together friends will now take sides, all your married friends may not want the newly single mom around as much, and his family will not be so friendly to you anymore either. All those people who adamantly told you to drop him aren’t going to line up to help with babysitting or invite you over if they know you always have the kids along, and you will find yourself being excluded from many social activities that he’s invited to if the hosts just don’t want to deal with drama or a weird aura in the room, and frankly would prefer the company of your ex to yours.
Here is a really unfair truth: Single men and women are treated differently than married men and women. A man who is married is seen as more stable and it benefits him in the workplace. People respect him more and trust him more (whether deserved or not) simply because the fact that he has a family depending on him makes him seems more reliable and settled. Women who are alone are often mistreated if there is no fear that a man will pop out to defend her. It stunned me to see how differently people treated me when I was single and when I was married- even strangers who sized me up as a petite, 5’2″ woman and were a bit patronizing drastically changed their tune when my husband walked over to stand next to me. It makes me angry, to be frank, but there it is… small framed females stir fear in no one, and stressful problems I had with homeowners associations, neighbors, someone who hit my car, and others literally disappeared once I decided to send my husband over to handle things with the person who literally scolded me for daring to rightfully complain about something.
If you want to leave your spouse, be ready for the social fall out- it can be huge.
5. Your finances will be drastically altered Whether you now have to pay two rents, or find your income halved because you are paying (p)alimony and child support, or because you have to have everything your ex has in their home in yours too. the bills can be astronomical. You may now have to return to work or work longer hours or work extra jobs you hate to pay the bills (which may now include childcare as well), and give up many things you previously were able to afford, like family vacations, lessons for the children, hobbies, dinners at restaurants, etc.
If your spouse barely covers all the basic living expenses, but still does so, those will all become your expenses if you divorce. If your spouse makes a very good living, and your lifestyle is very comfortable, this is going to be one of the things you give up.
Few people get married with the intention of divorcing, and anyone who makes the leap does so because they have high hopes to not only stay married, but to have a happy marriage. If you are looking for reasons to save your marriage, hopefully these inspired you to start thinking about why it’s definitely worth it.