Don't Ever Quit!
If you have children, you know how quickly each stage of childhood passes by. One minute they’re babies, swaddled in your arms, the next off to work or college or building families of their own. A popular car commercial which features dad handing over the keys to his daughter captures this perfectly: A teen is behind the wheel, only dad still sees his little girl. Where did all those years in-between go?
Often, they can be trying ones, too. We think the terrible twos are bad until we’re hit with teenage angst. Even with all the problems, however, one thing remains constant – we never give up on our children. Indeed, rare is the parent who renders the situation hopeless, washes their hands and never looks back. When we brought our children into the world or adopted them, we made a lifelong commitment to do whatever it took to assure their lifelong well-being, no matter what.
The same goes for marriage, or so it used to in our society. We still recite the same vows, only we’re not nearly as good at keeping them. We used to say "’til death do us part" and mean it, literally. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough today, nearly one in two throw in the towel and get going. We ignore the reality that couples who are willing to exercise patience can and do overcome their marital hurdles and emerge stronger because of it.
Kids Against Divorce believes that parents must begin taking to heart the same advice they give to their children. Whether or not your marriage is on the brink of divorce, it is never too late to begin attending to whatever needs fixing. To do something big and bold and wonderful to touch the hearts of your children and let them know how special they are to you. If you’ve any doubt your efforts will be worth it, just listen to the voice of your own child:
Imagine not having dinner with me tonight.
Imagine not hearing about my day at school.
Imagine not tucking me in or reading me a bedtime story.
Imagine not kissing me good morning tomorrow.
Imagine not seeing my excitement after the tooth fairy has come or watching me open my presents on my birthday or Christmas Day.
Imagine not holding my hand on Halloween while I trick or treat.
Imagine not being there when I go on my first date or consoling me over my first heartbreak.
Imagine not helping me move into my college dorm.
Imagine not dancing with mom – or dad – at my wedding.
Imagine these things and a million more because that’s what parents miss out on when they give up on their marriage. It pales in comparison, though, to all their children miss, a loss which no amount of presents or rationalizations can ever compensate for. Divorce doesn’t solve marital problems, it only creates a whole set of new ones for you and your kids. Children simply want their parents and family together more than anything else in the world. And except for abusive marriages, they’re entitled to it.
So recommit to your marriage, no matter how many years have passed, no matter how far apart you think you and your spouse have grown. Start now. Start wherever you are. Begin in the present and look to the future. And remember that it’s never too late because giving up on your marriage IS giving up on your children, too. And that’s unthinkable.
Please share your stories with us. Tell us about a particularly difficult time in your marriage and how you managed to pull back from the brink of divorce and reunite your family. Tell us how your own children impacted your decision. Tell us, too, how you and others you know are setting an example for others in your community.