“I Stayed in a Bad Marriage for the Kids…”

10 Sep

Would you?

Are you tired, fed up, and frustrated with your marriage? Have you contemplated divorce? What is stopping you?

In doing research for this blog, I uncovered the top reasons some people note as their reason for staying in a bad marriage, number one, “I did it for the kids.” The second most  popular reason cited was money or finances and the third was fear of the unknown.

4Love suffers long and is kind; love does
not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not
behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all
things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

1 Corinthians 13:7 says that love endures all things. When is enough simply enough in a bad marriage? And what exactly is a “bad” marriage? The answer depends on the individual and their particular circumstance. Every person has a different threshold for what they can endure. For some people physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse is a definite deal  breaker – for others, they may be able to endure. There are some who can endure  chronic and habitual cheating by their spouse, but there are others who pack  their bags and leave. There is no golden rule concerning exactly what is a bad  marriage and how long one should stay in a bad marriage. There is however a school of thought concerning bad marriages, divorce and how it affects the  children that are involved.

One study has shown that the children who have the worst time with their parents divorce are those who “never saw it coming.” Those children who witnessed marriages where there was little to no communication, the environment was not hostile or violent, and one or both  parents appeared to be at least moderately happy. The same study showed that  children who were more accepting of their parent’s divorce were those who on  the other hand actually witnessed a hostile environment where there was  physical, mental, and/or verbal abuse. These children felt as though the  parents being apart made everyone including them happier.

Another study examined a number of couples five years after their decision to divorce or work on their marriage and the couple’s level of happiness. The study uncovered that among the spouses who rated themselves as having a really bad marriage – some separated, but of those who chose to work on their marriage, 2 out of 3 reported five years later that their  marriage was happy; that 80% of those who said that their marriages were “very unhappy”  reported 5 years later that they were happy;  and that those who chose to separate were no  happier than those who chose to stay together as those who chose to divorce and remarry were no happier than those who chose to stay together.

So what does all this mean? I interpret the research results to mean that there is something to be said for couples who chose to stick it out and work on their marriage. This says that there will be ups and downs in a marriage, but with both partners willing to work on the betterment of their marriage that the unhappiness does not last always.  Regarding children and how divorce affects them, I’m no expert, but studies have shown that children are very resilient and tend to rebound a lot quicker than adults. And in some situations, staying  together for the children can be just as harmful, if not more so, than a divorce.

The decision to divorce or stay in a marriage is a highly personal one and I suggest that any couple or individual contemplating divorce seek out counseling before doing so.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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6 Responses to ““I Stayed in a Bad Marriage for the Kids…””

  1. Stephen September 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Greetings
    I enjoyed reading the research and the scriptural references. It takes two people to get married and it takes two people to maintain a marriage. The fact of the matter is that when two people agree to fix tbeir marriage their was a 50% chance that they will find a solution. Marriage is awesome but it takes work even after 28 years

    • Terry 411 Cato September 11, 2011 at 1:01 am #

      Thanks for the reponse! I totally agree that it takes both spouses to come together and make a marriage work! Congrats on 28 years, what a blessing!! 🙂

  2. carmel September 11, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Hi Terry! Thank you for liking my post on 9/11. Nice blog you got here, by the way. God bless.

    – Carmel David (Manila, Philippines)

  3. R. Knowles September 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    This day and time I can’t handle too much of anything bad for no one’s sake. In my eyes sanity comes first.

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