My husband and I have been talking about marriages. Not in general, rather specifically about the legally binding ones. The ones who “stay together for the kids.” Sham marriages in which two parents raise children in the same household living their lives together (or separately) so as not to destroy the kids.
The more I hear about them, the more deeply I feel about them.
Some of the logic makes sense. The financial burdens eased by continuing to live together as a family … dual incomes paying for a single house, not having to pay child support, and continuing health care plans already in existence.
The financial burdens that are eased by continuing to live together as a family … dual incomes paying for a single house, not having to pay child support, and continuing health care plans already in existence.
Logistically speaking, not having to shuttle kids back and forth between houses does sound appealing. Maybe even a bit tempting.
I get it.
And I contemplate these things in conversation because I can’t live naively believing my marriage is immune to this potentially ultimate low point. I try to take into account everyone’s feelings and apply what I hear to my life. How would I react? What damage is done to any party involved with my decisions, should I be faced with them.
I can’t help but feel, in the grand scheme of things, continuing in an obligatory marriage “for the kids” is truly not in the best interest of everyone. So, I asked my husband to divorce me, should he ever feel unhappy in our marriage. Though I truly hope I never have to call upon the strength and courage to accept this, I feel it would be best in the end.
I asked my husband to divorce me for the sake of the kids
Contrary to what I hear about the pseudo-marriages, I feel like divorce is better for the kids in the long run.
Of course, that could be questionable depending on whether or not a couple can agree to divorce agreements quietly and maturely. And yes, summoning the strength to accept it instead of fight it may be difficult. But, if you can come to mutual agreements to continue a synthetic marriage, why can’t you come to them in a divorce?
I asked my husband to divorce me because I want our children to see what a real marriage is. At least, what a healthy marriage is. Currently, our marriage is happy and healthy, from my perspective. We show affection in front of the children, we take time away as a couple or to attend family gatherings together. We allow each other space and freedom to enjoy our personal passions. And, we fight and makeup, because marriage is constant work.
I want our children to see a marriage as a work in progress and something of value beyond the piece of paper and the kids that hold a couple together.
I don’t want them to think marriage is an obligatory union without feelings, compromise, and celebrations of anniversaries.
I never want our children to watch us suffering under the same roof if we believe our happiness lies elsewhere. If we were to become, for all intents and purposes, roommates just to have two parents under the same roof, we’re not doing our children justice. At least, that’s how I feel.
I don’t want our children witnessing us being miserable (or indifferent) together. Rather, I want them to watch us living happily, even if that means we’re not together.
Secrets have a way of surfacing. And secrets can hurt. I know kids pick up on a lot more than we like to give them credit for. And, while we may be able to carry on our separate lives secretly for a while, eventually secrets can get out. When my husband suggested that these marriages may mutually agree to date others, I’d find it nearly impossible to believe we could be so forthcoming with the kids. And, if we could, I’d be inclined to believe they’d be old enough to understand and process divorce anyway. Personally, I’d rather answer the question “why did you divorce dad?” instead of “why were you dating someone else while you were married?”
Finally, I don’t want our children to feel as though they were barriers to our happiness. I feel as though this suggests our children have more responsibility for our happiness than they should be given. We are responsible for our own happiness and I wouldn’t want to suggest that we place our happiness in the hands of others. The only responsibility and control my children should have over happiness are their own.
And it’s not just about the kids
If one of us feels compelled to believe the grass is greener on the other side, prove it to yourself. So, I asked my husband to divorce me so that we could both move forward with the possibilities. If he believes he’d be happier without me, cut ties and let us both move on.
In my opinion, it’s not a true test if we’re relying on each other to explain to our dates “this is a marriage of convenience” … because a stand-up person is likely going to question the validity of dating a married person.
Maybe it’s selfish of me to want the opportunity to find true love. But, I see it as respecting ourselves enough to seek out strength and happiness in the face of adversity.
And, I don’t want to live a lie for “the sake of the children”, because, in my mind, they stand the greatest chances of confusion, which I simply don’t want to answer for. So, if it ever comes to it, I won’t be staying together for the kids because I place greater value on marriage.
I would choose to separate for the kids if it meant they learned more about personal happiness and the value of a healthy and loving marriage.
But I hope I never have to face it.
In the mean-time, I’m joining in on the webinar Ten Ways to Divorce Proof Your Marriage. I always feel it important to actively work on things and try to be mindful of my marriage.