It can be hard to balance all aspects of life equally, especially when one area, such as your marriage starts to unravel. Too often your marriage is put on the back burner while you wrestle with other obligations, only to boil over and take centre stage by force. When your marriage is rocky, your children should be just as important as your spouse.
What Kids Want
If you sense your marriage is in trouble, you are not necessarily better off single. Of course, nobody should remain in a marriage that is abusive or dangerous, but if you’ve simply unconnected, leaving the marriage might set you free, but your children won’t feel the same way.
Study after study has shown that children are strongly affected by divorce and the state of your marriage. If your children start acting up when your marriage is falling apart, the behavior is very likely tied to the drama at home. But even if you and your spouse spend every evening yelling at each other, your children would prefer that to a divorce.
Studies show that children prefer their parents to stay married no matter the cost to the adults. It’s not particularly surprising that children are selfish and want their parents together, even if both adults are completely miserable. This particular fact also throws out the satisfying thought that everything will be better resettled without all this fighting. Your kids prefer the fighting to separation, so long as there is no form of verbal or physical abuse, that is.
Children can survive a divorce and continue to thrive, but it take a great deal of work on the part of the parents. If your marriage simply fell apart, it might make more sense to devote that time and work to patching it back up rather than repairing your kids when it all falls apart.
Protecting Your Marriage and Your Kids
The best way to keep your kids happy is to make your marriage a secure one. No matter what sort of child you have, he thrives on predictability and stability. It’s only fun to be crazy and eccentric when you know you have a safety net to fall back on in the form of solid, stable parents.
When children feel that their rock is getting shaky underfoot, they react strongly which might be why your child is suddenly acting out after you and your husband have a row. To try and protect or repair a marriage, you need to pull that relationship back up into the front of your priority list.
Take time together
You should set aside time for the two of you to talk about anything and everything. Put the kids to bed early one night or arrange a babysitter so you can discuss the day and any concerns that might have arisen. Part of these conversations should be your children and any discussion points to consider, but once you’ve decided who’s taking Janie to swim lessons, turn the conversation back toward other things. Too often we feel disconnected because we don’t know what’s really happening with our partner. Find quiet muments to share your thoughts and emotions and elicit his as well. Your time together should not have distractions such as movies or television if you meant to reconnect through conversation.
Spend time as a family
Your children want to know that everything is solid, even if you bicker with your spouse from time to time. The best way to do this and to build strong ties within the family unit is to spend time together. Just sitting at the dinner table together can make a profound impact on how much you know about each other and your children’s comfort level. Take short trips and schedule a family night once a week to keep those bonds well developed.
Never fight publicly
If you feel a skirmish coming on, take it someplace private, or even better, wait until your children are in bed or away for the day before discussing the disagreement. Don’t just bottle up the emotion to keep from creating waves as that can implode, but do control your temper and responses to keep fights and disagreements as private as possible – especially if they are about the family in some way. You should always present a unified front to your children.