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Should Parents Stay Married For the Sake of their children?


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Should parents stay married for childsake?The first time this question occurred to me was on that singular occasion when Sarath, my friend’s 14 year old son and I stayed awake watching a late night show on television. His parents had been divorced since the last ten years, when he would have been a tender four. That night he spoke about how life had been a grim struggle for ‘me and my sis’ as far back as he could remember.

“I was only four years but I still remember so much. At that time I felt really traumatized when I watched my parents fighting and squabbling over meaningless things. And when I saw my mother cut her wrist because she was upset with my father, I was extremely distraught. For a couple of days I even lost my power of speech. I became rebellious in school and the principal even called my parents to find out why I had become like that.”

“So you think your parents did the right thing by divorcing and causing you to live with just one parent and cramping your lifestyle?” I asked.

“Frankly, I can’t speak about the right and wrong aspects of their decision. I can only say their decision to part worked for both my sister and me. We began to live in peace. No tempers and tantrums, no flare-ups and fights anymore. And then when mom got remarried some amount of stability came into our lives.”

I went to sleep that night thinking about another friend of mine who had decided to stay back in her marriage, which had gone off keel almost from the second year after their son, was born. Once she discovered that marriage does not go together like a horse and carriage, particularly hers, she decided not to invest too much of herself in this most holy of bonds. She confesses, “What has kept my marriage going is the thought of my son. I can’t deprive him of his father.”

Today, as divorces gain momentum all around us, we are engulfed by the burning question: Should a marriage that is over in every respect, be kept intact for the sake of the children?

Let’s face it. Regardless of their age and gender, children are profoundly affected by the divorce of their parents. A divorce inevitably brings with it a never-ending wave of uncertainties and insecurities. With their childhood almost short-circuited, they find themselves compelled to adjust to new circumstances. The “I won’t be seeing dad/mom everyday” scenario is too scary for words. But come to terms with it, they must. There are no other options available.

When we bring our children into the world, the rush of love and affection we feel for them comes with the unspoken guarantee that we will forever work towards their happiness and welfare. So we owe it to them to keep the ship of marriage sailing amidst stormy weather too. But it is not always as simple as it sounds.

If dialogue and a new understanding or outside intervention can replace the climate of conflict and confrontation, nothing like it. But if children have to grow up in an atmosphere of continuing discord it creates something far more dangerous than the divorce of their parents. It creates lifelong unexpressed rage and restlessness.

Some people might say that children of divorced parents have actually benefited from the split. Sarath himself, today, a bubbly, confident young man, has gone places. The aberrant phase of his life has made him a little abrasive perhaps, a trifle distrustful of love and long term relationships, but for all that he is still a lovable young man. I’m not sure though, that he can ever answer the question – WHERE DO I BELONG, TO MY MOTHER OR FATHER? – with any degree of certitude. Or script a “they lived happily after” story within the context of his own family life.

 

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Responses to Should Parents Stay Married For the Sake of their children?

  1. 1 Sara

    The story of two women

    A woman who stayed in the marriage for her kids ,does she feel she had a good life? I don’t know.A woman who devoted her whole life to raising her kids even after her husband just woke up and left ,now that her children have their own lives,what does she have? Who made the right choice?????

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