Sometimes, what we won’t do for ourselves, we will do for others. Women, especially, are notorious for putting their own needs on the back burner to those of their families, career, and other aspects of life. We often suffer in silence when we feel physically or emotionally subpar if it means that the ones we love will have what they need. Women are immensely strong, yet occasionally all too willing to sacrifice peace or happiness to maintain the status quo.
Whereas many couples remain in dysfunctional marriages “for the sake of children” or because they hope for positive change, many women vacate a marriage because they want better for their children. They desire a peaceful home environment, healthy relationship models for their children, and a decrease in stress and other negative factors that accompany a decaying relationship.
Many studies have long reported a higher divorce rate between parents with daughters. Although speculation has swirled around the possible reasons (including blaming the children), a most probable cause emerges: daughters inspire and empower mothers to want and do better! We don’t want our daughters to endure hardship and pain, we want to set the right examples for them, and we will do anything to rescue them from bad situations.
Perhaps we fearless about the negative influence of marital dysfunction on a son or his vulnerability to mimic our actions or become victimized? Some have also suggested that the emotional connection and support offered by a daughter may offer the incentive her mom needs to go through with divorce. Whatever the case, many women, myself included, decided to divorce for the sake of a daughter.
A son is a treasure, without a doubt! I would do anything for my son, and I hope for him to find his joy in life and become a man who will be a loving partner to a future spouse. My daughter, however, inspires me to live my life as an example for her. I want her to know she can accomplish anything! I hope for her to strive to be educated, independent, strong, and completely fulfilled. One of the best ways I can teach her how to be these things is to show her by my own example!
When I was married to my children’s father, I came to realize that my terrible marriage was wrong for my children in so many ways. Not only was a home with two constantly arguing parents a terrible environment for them to grow up in, but they were being raised with us as their models of how to be not only husband and wife, but also adult men and women. I became conscious of the fact that the way we lived is not what I wanted for myself, let alone my children.
Perhaps I could have suffered through my marriage if it was only me affected by the circumstances; but, I couldn’t bear for my children to witness the way I was treated or to develop the perception that ours was a “normal” marriage. I wanted my kids to know what it is to be in a relationship defined by respect, sharing, compromise, and a true partnership. I bristled at the thought of my children growing up to expect distance, apathy, disgust, or sadness from their future marriages.
For my daughter, in particular, I want her to develop into a woman knowing that she is not just a housekeeper or sex object, but a valuable being capable of achieving anything she puts her mind to! I didn’t want her to absorb all the wrong messages and mirror my faulty example to the point that she accepted less for herself, tolerated disrespectful treatment, and sought the same kind of relationship her father and I had. In short, I had to take a leap of faith to do better for myself and my daughter!
I’m always very careful to convey to my children that marriage is very special and important and should only be ended as a last resort after vigorous attempts to first save it. I do not want their father and my divorce to set an example of giving up too easily, not keeping promises, or make them fear that love really can’t last forever. I have shared with them that making the decision to divorce was painful, thoughtfully considered, and followed counseling and other interventions.
The lessons my divorce, and life after divorce, can teach my children are many. They have seen proof that hardship and adversity can be overcome with hard work and perseverance. They have witnessed the power of the human spirit to regain peace, happiness, and discover fulfillment again. Because they have experienced my divorce journey right by my side, they know that any storm can be weathered, and the possibility of a better life is always on the other side of the dark clouds.
It is my duty to demonstrate her worth to her through the choices I make, the way I advocate for her and myself, and the treatment I accept.
My daughter has had the benefit of seeing her mom take care of it all. There should be no doubt in her mind that a woman can handle all manner of business by herself, if she needs/wants to! Her mom (and any woman) can educate herself, work hard, provide for her family, be brave in the face of turmoil, solve problems, and succeed against the odds. Her mom is proof that a woman can stand on her own and doesn’t need a partner to make sure it will all be okay!
As she develops into a woman, she will have the knowledge that she is better off forming relationships because she wants to, not because she has to. She will know that she deserves better from a relationship than to be talked down to, mistreated, or thought of as less than. She will be able to recognize the signs of a relationship in trouble and be equipped with tools to try to mend it. But, perhaps most importantly, she will know that she does not have to stay in any situation where she lives in fear, isolation, sadness, or can’t live as the best version of herself!
I hope that neither of my children will ever have to experience divorce; however, if they do, they will already know that it is a terrible experience, but they can survive it and have the capacity to thrive after they have healed. My job, as their parent, is to teach them all the skills they need to know to become happy, healthy, and self-sustaining adults. This includes their knowledge of relationships and dealing with some of the hardships they may encounter in life.
I have a special responsibility to prepare my daughter for life beyond her childhood. Who else, but her mother, will be as impactful in shaping, guiding, and laying the path for her toward womanhood? It is my duty to demonstrate her worth to her through the choices I make, the way I advocate for her and myself, and the treatment I accept.
Divorce is not something I ever wanted for myself or my children, but it became a necessary solution to an unresolvable problem. I came to embrace my divorce as an opportunity I could give my family to have better and become the best we possibly can be!
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