Should We Stay Together for the Kids?

A writer sent a series of questions about the topic “Should we stay together for the kids?” I share her question and my answer.

QUESTION: Do you think it’s a good or bad idea to stay together for kids? Please explain your answer.

ANSWER: Since 1994, we’ve worked every year with hundreds of marriages in crisis . We regularly hear from one or both spouses statements such as,“I come from a broken home. I know what it did to me. That’s why I’m fighting so hard to save my marriage. I don’t want my kids to go through the pain, insecurities, and questions they wind up having about themselves and their own value…whether they are loved…if somehow they caused the divorce…and so much more. I don’t want them torn between two homes, having the tension at their wedding that I had at mine with step-parents and rivalries.” Occasionally, someone says that they are happy their parents divorced because the anger and rage that existed in their home calmed when one of them moved out. However, they are the minority in what we hear.

In my estimation, every adult should consider this: Your children didn’t ask you to bring them into the world. Therefore, they don’t owe you; you owe them. Rather than thinking primarily of yourself and how “happy” you might be if you end this marriage, ask yourself what it does to the happiness – even the self-esteem, sense of security, and more – of your children if you end this marriage.

If someone – spouse or children – is/are in danger emotionally or physically, I think separation and even divorce may be the path to protection. However, by far the marriages we see in crisis are in trouble because one or both spouses are so focused on themselves they don’t place equal value on their spouses or children. Therefore, it appears to them that the better solution is to find someone else and seek happiness in a new way rather than to work through the problems and redevelop happiness in their current marriages. Our experience is that most marriages in trouble can be saved AND that they can be made good again if both parties are willing to stop their damaging behaviors and start doing the things that make love revive.

If you are willing to try to save your marriage and make it good again – even if that seems impossible to you – please call us toll free at 866-903-0090 or email us at

See accompanying blog: Can a couple be happy if they stay together for the kids

See accompanying blog: How does a staying together for the kids affect the kids?

See accompanying blog: Should a child choose between divorcing parents?