It’s something that we can all go through at some point in our life, and we can wonder whether it’s even worth it or not. If we’ve had yet another weekend marred by arguments, and you and your partner not talking to each other all day, but you’ve still got to work together for the sake of the children. You do wonder if the relationship is worth it at all, and if you’d be better off with the two of you separating, and taking on co-parenting duties.
While there are many parents out there that do this, if you’re in a position where you both think about making it work for the sake of the children, but there’s not much love left between the two of you. How much should you try to make a relationship work for the sake of the children?
Is Divorce always the right option?
It’s a vast statistic now, so many couples get divorced, even those with children, and the fact that there are an abundance of family law lawyers out there providing effective mediation between couples going through this. Does this mean that so many couples get to this point because they’ve done their best for the relationship, or is it just a way out for the two of them? It’s a very difficult conclusion to come to, because divorce is final, and there are so many casualties, not least the children.
One of the most common questions when facing a divorce is how long between decree nisi and absolute and thankfully Peters May has this covered on their website, along with many other questions you need to know about the divorce process.
But, if the couple is trying to make it work for the sake of the children, this can mean a lot of repressed emotions. Trying to make it work for the children is about presenting that unified image for them, but children aren’t stupid. They can see between the cracks, in which case, what do you have to do to work harder at making the relationship work?
Has life become too busy?
Many couples think twice about having children in this day and age. We all know that life has slowly increased in the stress levels, not just since having children, but because life in every aspect is more difficult now. It’s still something that the older generation can’t empathise with, not being able to afford a house, so they have to rent all of the time, which comes with its own unique anxieties.
But also, the grandparents may not have an understanding of the mental health repercussions. Amazingly, some medical professionals out there have little empathy for mental health problems like depression and anxiety. And if we’re told to “pull ourselves together”, this is not what we want to hear, and it makes our stress levels worse. What does this do to a couple? The more stress thrown into the mix, coupled with the busyness of life, like the excessive working hours, couples won’t communicate as much, and before you know it, they’ve gone for years without even addressing these problems. From this perspective, it is hardly a surprise that couples divorce so much. So if a couple is trying to make it work for the sake of the children, it’s that old chestnut that needs addressing, communication.
Can a relationship be repaired with the kids in tow?
What parents can be tempted to do, because the children don’t need to know the ins and outs of their problems, is shield them from these issues. After all, we’re doing it for the sake of the children. But if we are trying to make a relationship work, it’s not just for the children, we have to do it for ourselves. After all, if we’re not able to function as parents in a cohabiting family unit, it’s always the children that will feel that they are the cause. So if we are to work at making a relationship work for the sake of the children, we have to go back in time and figure out what went wrong to put us down this path, but also, work to recapture that magic we had so long ago.
People talk about that “honeymoon period”, or the relationship bubble, where everything seemed perfect, but the reality of life soon sets in. It’s not about recapturing the bubble, it’s about capturing the feeling. Because we struggle under the momentous amount of parenting duties, not to mention work and life duties, we end up putting our relationship needs further down the pecking order. One of the simple solutions is to have a date night together, but when you are in the position where you have to try and make the relationship work for the sake of the children, it’s more than just a night or two together! It’s now time to actively focus on the relationship to see if it can be repaired and if that feeling returns, which isn’t an overnight job. A lot of couples go on holiday to see if they can repair the relationship.
Ensuring it doesn’t happen again
If you’ve got to a point where you are able to see through the superficial issues of modern life and realise you can make it work, it’s so easy to fall back into the normal trappings. After all, life goes on, we have jobs to go to, and our children to raise. But, the big problem couples have when attempting to patch up their relationship woes is that they put a metaphorical plaster over the wounds, so it’s only a matter of time before it all unravels again. To ensure that it doesn’t happen again, you’ve got to be on the same wavelength, and have both come to the conclusion that you are both ready to make this work, that you are both not taking it for granted.
This is the big problem we all have. We get into a rut, and we stick to our routines. But it gets to a point where we grow resentful because we might feel that we are the least important person in the household, or we’re not getting enough validation for what we do day to day. But we have to remember that the other parent more than likely feels the same. And so if you think you’ve patched everything up by getting everything off your chest, you’ve still got a long way to go. It’s not just about getting everything out there, but it’s about working together to ensure that both your needs are met.
If they are not, then it’s that cliché, where you’ve got to make concessions for the other person for the sake of the relationship. A relationship is as much about work as it is about happiness. And for those couples where it doesn’t come naturally anymore, work becomes a natural part of the process. This doesn’t mean that couples always fall out of love with each other, but it’s a reaction to the fact that life has got in the way somehow.
What if it’s just not happening?
As long as you know you’ve given it everything you’ve got, then you both may decide to throw in the towel. We can feel like a failure, because we didn’t make it work, and there are casualties of this, mainly our children. But if you both know that you’ve done everything you can, there is nothing left to say. Going through the divorce process is difficult when you are not on the same page. If you have worked at repairing the relationship for the sake of the children and did your best to get back to a place where you both felt fulfilled, but it wasn’t happening, it’s down to the fact that you’ve both grown apart.
This doesn’t mean that either of you are failures, but what’s important at this point is that the children don’t feel like they are. What we have to remember at this point is that the children know that we don’t love them any less. It becomes more of a juggling act, as the parenting rights are ironed out, but there are so many couples that have managed to make it work for the sake of the children, and have even found they are better off as friends as a result.
What we have to remember is if divorce is the inevitable outcome, nearly 80% of all children of divorced parents actually end up as happy and even-keeled as those from a solid family unit. Because we can feel that we’ve let the children down because we’ve mentioned the D-word, this doesn’t mean that we’ve let everyone down and our children are subject to a lifetime of counselling sessions. And, in fact, as divorce is such a common scenario now, it’s become almost normal. In one respect, this is a shame, but on the other hand, this doesn’t mean that your child will be singled out at school as it used to be many years ago.
Trying to make a relationship work for the sake of the children can be a difficult process. We have to make the relationship work for the sake of the relationship.