Hey mums and dads. There’s something I want to talk to you about.
This is not meant to make you feel judged. It’s not meant to make you feel guilty. It’s not even meant to inspire you to change. This is just about how the state of your marriage affects your children.
Do with it what you will.
My marriage isn’t perfect. There are three topics we try and avoid discussing because they always lead to fights. We occasionally break our rule about not fighting in front of our kids. We don’t always back each other up when it comes to disciplining the children. We don’t spend enough time together.
And here’s how all that affects our kids:
Sometimes our children become aware of tense silences, when my husband and I are avoiding each other so we don’t have to discuss something in particular.
Sometimes the kids hear us arguing and become incredibly unsettled.
Sometimes the kids play us off against each other knowing it will work.
Sometimes our children crave attention and affection, and become upset that one of us isn’t home.
I try to be aware of how my marriage affects my children because while it is normal for marriage imperfections to affect our children's sense of happiness and security, what isn't normal is facing up to the consequences. And I know of too many couples who forget this important part.
My friends and I are all in our late thirties and early forties. Most of us have been together or married for a decade plus. We have children. We have problems. We're normal. Our marriages affect our children in too many ways to mention and not always in negative ways. We can positively affect our children as well, by increasing their sense of happiness and security.
But the positives don't need to be discussed.
What needs to be discussed is our reluctance to explain ourselves to our children. Our relationship is the centre point of our family. It isn't a separate entity. And while there's lots of things our children don't need to know, there's plenty that we do need to tell them.