Wednesday, 25 July 2007 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

Stephen Colbert recently interviewed a guy who wrote a book about happiness, and the guy said that people with children tend to report less happiness than people without children.

The Today Show is running a piece about what factors make a marriage happy. Children used to be in the top 5, and are evidently now number 8.

I have lots of friends who are purposefully staying in marriages that are bad marriages or are now loveless, and they stay "because of the children." Children learn by modeling, so if you want your children to go into a marriage like yours, then stay. You are showing your child what a marriage and family are, and this will be their definition… most people never change that definition, which is why patterns and cycles tend to go on rather than tend to spontaneously stop.

When I ask my friends about their parents’ marriage, I tend to hear that it was similar to what they have. Maybe Dad was never around. Maybe there was cheating. Maybe there was fighting and anger. Maybe one parent played favourites with the kids, and the kids knew they weren’t the fave. Maybe the parents divorced early, my friend never really got over it, and now thinks that the WORST thing for a child is divorce. As someone who went into bad relationships and stayed with them because I was (unknowingly at the time) modelling what I saw in my parents’ relationship, I think that teaching me that that’s a marriage is worse than disrupting the home and teaching the children to make the changes that are necessary to have the good life you deserve.

Don’t be afraid to go out there and find your happiness. That’ll be so much better for you, and think about the children. Think about the person they will date and marry and choose when they see Mom and/or Dad with someone they really love… when they see genuine smiles, fun, and care between loving adults. Children aren’t stupid. Especially as they get older, they can tell the difference between what you’re faking and what’s real. Don’t teach them to stay in a marriage and pretend to be happy. Out of all the pretend games children play to model their adult lives, let’s not add "pretend a loveless marriage is happy" to their repertoire.

Find the strength, find the money, find the time, and if your marriage is bad, move on. You deserve happiness, and your children deserve to learn a definition of love that would make you proud. Children need to learn that it’s OK to get out of bad situations. Learning that they should stay in bad situations, and especially learning to hide that bad situation and act like everything’s fine can land children in some REALLY bad and abusive places.

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Categories: Just An Observation

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