It can be said that, overall and in general, divorce has a negative connotation. I agree wholeheartedly, however there’s much more to it than black and white matters, and it is far more extensive than your average break up. Let it be known that I am in no way, shape, or form condoning divorce but I am also not condemning those who have gone through it because it is a true tribulation of this world and I recognize the pain of the experience.
I come from a divorced set of parents (could you tell from my jaded view of the world?). Make no mistake, I wouldn’t have it any other way. From that divorce I gained two outstanding step parents, a myriad of step sisters, and two fully extended, extended, exponentially extending (seriously, both are gigantic) families. And let’s face it, my parents together would be more miserable for all of us than it ever could be with them divorced. That’s the positive side of things, but, as you might imagine, things weren’t always so…..tranquil?
My parents divorced when I was around 7 years old, old enough to understand the situation but still young enough to be totally affected by it as well. I still remember the day they broke the news. First, they took my sister, then about 13, back into their room because they knew she could hold it together for me. Then came my brother, who, at the time about 10, couldn’t have cared less so long as he got two Christmases filled with video games. Then it was my turn. I already knew something was wrong when my parents said we were going to have a family meeting. Family meeting was code for we have bad news.
So there I was, sitting between my parents on their bed where I had slept many a night before, being told that my world was about to change drastically. Boy did I throw a tantrum. Thrashing, crying, and looking back, probably a little dramatic. I’ve always been dramatic. I will never not be dramatic. Take me as I am.
Anyway, I ran out of my parents’ bedroom and into my brother’s room, where he comforted me the way he always has. Zelda and the Ocarina of Time. From sixty to zero just like that. There isn’t a problem that a Nintendo 64 can’t solve.
That was just the beginning. Soon came the fights, especially over money, which consequently resulted in my siblings and I being dragged into the middle of the mess, unintentionally I hope. Most kids are used as weapons in a divorce, which is a shame, and shame on you if you’ve purposefully used your children in such a way. Custody, child support, insurance. At one point I actually had to carry two cell phones because my dad refused to let my mom call me on the one he paid for and vice versa. It was all pretty stupid in my eyes, and still is. There was no respect given to the person who contributed half of our DNA from either side.
That brings me to my first point. If you get divorced, fine. Well, not fine but fine. DO NOT under any circumstances let your child hear you speak ill of its other parent. DO NOT under any circumstances forget that half of your child is your spouse or ex-spouse. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a child feel smaller than when its mother/father tears down its mother/father because that child carries half of them inside it. All parents would do well to remember that no matter how ugly the end of the relationship was, that other person gave you the child perfectly fitted to God’s plan for you and you would not have that gift without them.
My second point. It may be difficult, but if you must fight claw and teeth with your spouse, try as hard as you can to hide that from your child. Children should grow up believing in love. An environment where the two people who brought them into the world are publicly expressing their hatred for one another does just the opposite for a child. Be it as it may that I am only seventeen, I can speak from experience when I say that an ugly divorce turns a child’s view of love sour. I am jaded. I am scared. I am actually terrified that if I do get married one day, it’ll end the way I’ve seen it end. No one when they think of marriage should imagine an end, let alone be frightened of an ugly one. My grandparents, God love them, have dealt with one another’s shit for 50+ years now and they wouldn’t dare speak of living without the other by choice. The hope that they give me is the kind of hope that every child should see from their parents. So next time you’re thinking of picking a fight with your spouse over something as trivial to a child as money, think about how it WILL spoil your child’s view of love. Because I promise it will.
Today, the divorce rates absolutely sicken me. Although I am aware of the necessary cases involving domestic abuse and things of that nature, I also see quitters. I see people who view marriage as a merriment time activity, especially when I see those who have been married 3, 4, even 5 times. All I ask is that you remember that no matter how definite you are that your spouse is no longer the one for you, they are the one who gave you your children and your children wouldn’t be the ones you tuck into bed every night with that sweet, sleepy smile without your “horrific” spouse.
This was in no way intended as a jab at my parents, whom I love and care for very much and who did a wonderful job raising me and my siblings. It is simply my story and hopefully a lesson to some adults. Marriage is not a hobby and divorce is not a game to be won.
-H. Duckworth, 17