You Want Emotionally Healthy Children? Stay Married.

You Want Emotionally Healthy Children? Stay Married.

There’s an incredibly heartbreaking article written by “Laura” about her life from a divorced home. There is no easy divorce. This is a lie being perpetuated upon our culture to give parents an easy way out of their covenant of marriage. Divorce devastates children and this is why God hates it.

In many posts, I have written about the importance of mothers being keepers at home. It’s been proven that children who are raised by full-time mothers grow up to be more emotionally stable and secure than those who are not. Another important ingredient in raising emotionally stable and secure children is to stay married until death do you part.

Laura wrote, “My experience with psychiatry made one thing clear: kids with severe mental health issues rarely come from ‘normal’ families. Most of us lived with a parent and stepparent; others had single parents; some didn’t have parents at all. The kids I went to school with almost all lived with their mother and father; the ones that didn’t all had their own demons.

“I coped. I went to college; got some distance from my family; had time to process and figure things out. It still took me a long time to form healthy relationships with other people; I grew up in a world where marriage didn’t mean anything, and nobody stuck around for very long.”

I asked the women in the chat room what their experience was if they were raised in a divorced family. They were all heartbreaking.

“It was devastating and I was already married with two children when they divorced. My dad had been a preacher and they were married for 28 years, then it seemed like out of nowhere they were getting divorced. Watching my siblings that were still young and at home was terrible. It absolutely destroyed them. My brother who had a call to preach joined a rough biker gang recently. My sister went through countless boyfriends from age 15 -19 then became a lesbian. Now, she is finally turning her life back around and my youngest brother has been in trouble with drugs. My youngest sister sister has turned to sex as a way to cope. It’s been awful to watch.”

“My parents separated when I was 15 so I was a little older than most. I think they assumed that I could cope with it better since I was a teenager but that wasn’t at all true. Neither of them told me they were separating or divorcing; they just told me my dad was moving out forever and they both started dating other people. My mom started clubbing and sleeping around. My dad started dating a woman who was closer to my age than his. It was a nightmare. I went from doing well in school to flunking out, from wanting to wait until marriage to have sex to seeking out random guys for any bit of attention. I was a train wreck. Thank the Lord for saving me at 18 before I could do more permanent damage to myself.”

“I was 24 when my parents began their divorce proceedings. It was a very drawn out, awful process. It took about four years to finalize. It destroyed any resemblance of a family that was ever there. My mom and dad have not been in the same room in over 23 years. My one brother hasn’t spoken to my dad since. We do separate holidays and birthday parties. My mom wishes my father dead and has bitterness to her core. It has been awful!”

“I don’t remember being sat down, but my childhood was HORRIBLE. Devastated. Although it took me YEARS to work through and I still continue to work through the effects it has had on me. (I was six and am now 31.) I do know it has taught me what I do not ever want. My childhood wasn’t safe, secure, so ugly, so scary, and so very rocky. I hope my children have none of that to ever recover from. I do say, though, that God has shown me, molded me, and is still working on what He has intended for me. How merciful and graceful He has been to me! I just never want to relive my childhood again.”

“I was five so I didn’t fully understand. As I grew up, I thought it was fine. They were civil. They lived close to each other so my brother and I got to see them both, and I was thankful for that. However, as an adult, God has begun to reveal to me the deep damage that the divorce caused. It has been a factor in my anxiety/OCD, my relationship struggles/promiscuity, drug addiction, and general distrust before I was saved, and the list goes on and on. It made me very insecure and I felt I had no control in my life. I also know it has impacted my brother in similar ways, though he is not a believer and isn’t aware of it.

“I can honestly say now that there is NO such thing as an amicable divorce! Our culture, including the church, has downplayed the deep tragedy that divorce is for parents and especially children. It is TRAUMATIC! We wonder why so many millennials like myself are addicts and can’t grow up. They are traumatized! I’m not underestimating our own responsibility just emphasizing the seriousness of broken families.”

Women, do all you can to live a godly life and stay married until death do you part for your sake and the sake of your children.

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Mark 10:9

12 thoughts on “You Want Emotionally Healthy Children? Stay Married.

  1. This is where my MIL gets a ton of credit. Her husband molested a young relative and went to prison. Even though it severely messed up the relationships he had with his kids, his wife has never spoken badly of him and has done the best she can while remaining married to him. She is very admirable and loves the Lord with all her heart. He professes to be a christian but my husband isn’t interested in a relationship, since there has been no attempt at repentance.

  2. Study after study shows that divorce increases the odds of a child acting out, engaging in risky behavior, or having trouble becoming a well-adjusted adult. Divorce and parental separation is considered an adverse childhood event (ACE), and children with higher ACE scores (ie, more adverse events) are not only likelier to abuse substances or have rocky relationships, but are even likelier to suffer poor health outcomes such as autoimmune diseases.

  3. My wife and I talk about how we will be celebrating our marriage each year, long into the future. Divorce is not spoken in regards to our marriage. This was a decision we made when we were married, almost 29 years ago. It simply isn’t an option. Rejecting divorce as a valid option moves the mindset from one that says I have an escape to one that says I have no choice but work through the hard times, which all marriages encounter to one degree or another. I also believe that talking about the future together reinforces the commitment we have for one another.

    I find it incredibly concerning that so many “Christian” authors have begun to excuse divorce in the church. It is not right and goes against God’s will. Even in cases of adultery, God allows divorce because of the hardness of our hearts, but He wants to restore the marriage and will if both individuals seek after Him.

  4. Perfect Chris!

    We did the same things when we were married. Divorce was off-limits, even the mention of the word. It forces a couple to work it out. And if we are both in Christ, there is never a reason not to work it out. Hard at times, but keep choosing love as a choice over feelings.

  5. My in-laws just divorced and it is awful. My husband hasn’t told our children yet, they’ll be devastated. Even though it is our children’s grandparents we are concerned about its effect on them.

  6. My maternal great grand parents separated and my great grandmother left the home and crossed the border to a neighbouring country, never to be seen again (she remarried and we met our half-relatives decades later, but not her because she’d passed away long before) She left my grandmother, who was an only girl and the eldest, to raise her four brothers herself. She was only about 11. Many women came in and out of the home but none stayed so my grandmother was the “mother” to her brothers.

    English missionaries came to our country and preached the gospel, set up schools and hospitals. My grandmother was born again and she learned to read and write. Her Bible was her most prized possession. She vowed that when she married, she would honour God by never getting divorced. She didn’t want her children to endure what she had. When she married my grandfather, she bore him 2 sons and 7 daughters. She was a committed home maker and a loving wife. My grandfather’s family, which was wealthier, and more influential was not happy that the marriage had produced only 2 sons (he was an only son) so they mounted a campaign to either oust her or find my grandfather a second wife (polygamy is constitutionally recognized in our country although the church denounces it). Back then people didn’t know enough to realize that the sex of a child is determined by the father indeed many still don’t today, in Africa. My grandmother trusted in the Lord to keep her home intact and she extended kindness to her in-laws in return for their disdainful regard for her.

    Eventually, my grandfather had an affair with a much younger woman that his sister had recommended would bear him sons. He left home and moved in with her. She bore him 2 daughters in quick succession, and the relationship was rocky. She was not a good home maker and a little self centered perhaps because of her youth. My grandfather missed the comforts of his home and bitterly regretted his affair. His mistress was quarrelsome and depressed because she hadn’t had sons and felt threatened. She made his life miserable complaining night and day and accusing him of secretly planning to return to his wife. In the meantime my grandmother prayed that her husband would come home.

    She continued to run his farms and keep all his businesses in good order in the hope that he would someday return. Once when he was away working in a different part of the country (he was in the post colonial armed forces) word came to my grandmother that the other woman had run away with a lover and abandoned the little girls in the house she shared with my grandfather. The older girl of about 4 had a horrible skin infection on one of her legs. My grandmother set off for their house immediately. She wept to find the children all alone, hungry, dirty and afraid. It reminded her of the days after her own mother had abandoned them as children.

    Determined to keep her history from repeating itself, She fed the girls and cleaned them up. She took them to a nearby dispensary and had a doctor treat the poorly older girl. She thanked the neighbour who had tipped her off and took the girls home with her. She introduced them to her children as their sisters and enrolled them in the missionary school. It was a number of weeks before my grandfather returned to his mistress’s house and found it abandoned except for a letter from my grandmother. He came back home to find his daughters in robust health. His wife welcomed him home and forgave him. Their marriage was stronger and my grandfather loved and appreciated his wife more than ever. She later went on to bear him two more sons and years later, my grandfather was born again too. None of my grandmother’s children are divorced (the mistress’s older daughter is divorced and alone after several failed relationships, but the younger was married until the day she died).

    My grandmother’s faith in action had a profound effect on my mother and on me. Our love for God is in a way, an inheritance from her. My own mother faithfully loved my father through thick and thin and was by his side as he breathed his last. During one of our pre-marital counseling one on one sessions, the pastor’s wife (who had been trained by my grandmother in the church’s mothers’ union) said to me, “your mother left her home and family to marry your father and create a loving home for you and your siblings and never looked back. So did your grandmother. Remember these women always. Honour their commitment by keeping yours. Go and marry for life like they did.”

    Those words have stayed close to my heart. My prayer always is that my great grandmother’s divorce may be the last one in my family tree. And so my mother and I vowed to tell these stories candidly to our children so that they can remember that divorce destroys, forgiveness and restoration are possible and wholeness can be restored in a hopeless situation by God’s Grace. I urge wives to be the one guaranteed place in this harsh world where their husbands can be assured of finding grace and forgiveness because we too have been redeemed and forgiven so much more by God’s Grace.

  7. Thank you for sharing. I dare anyone to read these words without tears in their eyes. The power of a transformed life is beyond anything else this world has to offer.

  8. My parents divorced when I was 9. My Dad moved out four years previous, claiming he had no objections being married to my Mom, as long as he didn’t have to live with her, and he could do as he pleased with his time.

    He came over sometimes. He would tell Mom to take some time for herself, go out with a friend. But then she discovered what Dad made us for dinner when she was out: a big pot of rice, and water.

    So, then she always fed us before going out. His idea of watching us was to make sure the house didn’t start on fire, and yell for us to quiet down once in a while! He converted from Catholicism to atheism when I was about 5.

    I always had my Bible on my nightstand. Dad would select a bible passage, take me to the library, and show me scientific proof the passage is incorrect! He taught me atheism, tried to get me to stop reading the Bible, by bringing me books on paleontology, anthropology, Archaeology, astronomy and evolution to read instead!

    Dad taught by example the measures of human worth are academic credentials, personal productivity in the economy, personal income and wealth, intelligence, and being svelte.

    He mercilessly criticized everyone who were not direct contributors to productivity; salesmen, advertising people, politicians and management personnel; and praised doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, skilled tradesmen.

    I wouldn’t give up my faith, or reading the Bible! So, when I was old enough, he began expressing his desire that I make a career working in a fast-food joint, just cause misery to a Christian, even though it was his own son.

    Back a few years, Mom finally divorced him for emotional abandonment. He still supported us financially. But we saw him maybe once a week after the divorce.

    It strikes me as more damaging than divorce, the objectionable traits found in parents who find cooperation impossible, who want things their way more than they want to be happy, who believe sadistic treatment is acceptable in marriage, who haven’t the emotional maturity to get along themselves much less raise a family, and who are utterly deceived as to what ‘reasonable’ expectations are!

    Dad always said, “Feelings!, feelings have never done anything toward the advancement of civilization!” and again, “The first order of business in any argument is to pin blame!”

    Mom has always been emotionally slight, forever trying to smooth things over (trying to sweep the white elephant under the rug), while utterly ignoring the truth!

    It took some counseling, diligent prayer, and determination to take on the true masculinity of Christ: strong in the face of wickedness, gentle on the face of discouragement, patient in the face of trial, willingness to give one’s own life in defense of justice, righteously speaking truth, defending the weak, and having an iron will completely turned over to God.

    But I made it! And it requires work to keep it up. My parents left me so far from the truth, I resolutely determined to find it, no matter the effort or cost! But God always wants his people to become better, no matter how much progress they’ve made.

    So, I was given and extremely attractive wife with a rebellious dsiposition! She needs a husband like me, to slowly win over her heart completely, and show her the power of masculine forgiveness. And I need her, to grind off my sharp edges, and polish me like gem.

    If a husband keeps his eyes on Christ, he will always prevail against evil interference in his marriage!

  9. My parents divorced when I was 18. They said “we still love you and will support you, don’t worry, you can still go to college”.

    Of course when the time came, all those promises went in the toilet. That was the betrayal that left my formerly loving heart crushed with bitterness. To be betrayed by those you thought had loved you. Oh, the ashes I tasted at a young age.

    My father, who had for all those years pretended to love me and care about me…his only son…just disappeared. He sent me a card now and then. He got remarried and had another child who he lavished 30 years of love and support on, while I struggled to survive.

    I grew up in a well to do neighborhood. All my friends went to top colleges. I had to scrape in the gutter for years to go to the bottom of the barrel local college. My career never went anywhere. Every dream of helping the world crushed.

    My father also barely cares about my son, his only grandson and the only male to carry his name.

    I will not attend his funeral, nor will I speak kindly of him to his grandchildren.

    He would be utterly shocked to hear any of this. LIke most divorced dads, he’s off in a new fantasy life and refuses to acknowledge or even recognize the ruin he left behind.

    Nobody tells the truth about divorce. The web of lies, from therapists and books and the culture, is incredible. No one will challenge these lies because, remember, the victims are children, who are utterly powerless to protect themselves.

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