A recent BBC program explored the traumatic effect of divorce on children. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown shares some sad details from the program, and offers this conclusion:
While nobody should feel they must stay with bullying, abusive or truly unsuitable partners, once you have children, you can’t just please yourself or indulge your own desires.
It is truly deplorable watching how so many children are treated as objects by divorcing parents.
As for me, seeing such damage first-hand has made me value a secure family life more than ever before. I just pray we will all get to the end intact.
In a divorce, children are not tangible assets like furniture or pets. They are people with still-developing personas who will be dramatically affected by the break-up of their home. Sadly, too many parents fail to appreciate the extent of that damage when fighting their battles with each other, and do not realize the true cost of their divorce until years later, when their adult children must struggle with their own demons—often born of their childhood experience with divorce.
So should a couple who are no longer in love stay together “for the sake of the kids,” condemning them to all the anger, conflict, and hatefulness that characterize the relationship? No, they should stay together for each other’s sake. They should seek counseling to resolve their differences, and relearn how to love each other again.
That’s not realistic, you say? Probably not. But let’s be honest with ourselves here. Divorce doesn’t “just happen.” It is always, always, the result of selfishness on the part of one or both parties. And the children are just collateral damage. In contrast, successful, happy marriages are the result of two people treating each other as more important than themselves. People get out of marriage what they put into it.
In the family, as in every other arena of life, character has consequences.