Last week, we mentioned a bill in the Oklahoma legislature that would impose a six-month waiting period for couples considering a divorce. The ostensible purpose would be to allow couples additional time to reconsider their divorce and perhaps reconcile. Mention was made that it benefits children for a couple to remain married.
One question raised by this is the veracity of the statement. Is it better? Sure, if the couple loves each other and that love is shared with the children in a caring, supportive environment. But what if the couple only stays together “because of the children?”
As they used to say in the old car ad, “Ask a man who owns one.” So someone asked children of divorced couples what their experience was like. Were those whose parents stayed together “better?”
The answer, at least from some who responded, was no. They knew something was wrong and they felt the stress and the tension from the fighting that went on. One individual noted they wish their parents had divorced, because much of their parent’s anger and frustration was directed towards them, the children.
This makes sense, as the children were the only reason their parent’s suffering together was being prolonged. Children have many, many long hours to observe their parents, and will pick up very quickly when something as fundamental as the potential for divorce is in the air between their parents.
Divorce and the reasons for it are as complex as the relationship that it springs from, and while it may be painful and uncomfortable, but it may less psychologically taxing than the pretense of remaining married.