How your marriage affects your children.

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.

Be aware that the state of your marriage does affect your children, and face up to it.

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.


We need to tell them that just because we're cranky with each other, doesn't mean we don't love each other.

We need to tell them that when we fight we're sorting something out, and not to be scared, or if they are to come and talk to us.

We need to explain that just because we're family, doesn't mean we'll always get along, it just means we'll never stop trying.

We need them to understand that sometimes we have a lot on our mind, and to trust us to do the job of worrying.

As parents we have to accept that we're going to make mistakes in our marriage that will affect our children, but to not leave them out of the equation when we're trying to deal with what's been going on.

My children ask me often, "Do you love Daddy?" I always tell them, "Of course I do." Sometimes they say, "But I heard you fighting last night" and instead of brushing them off I explain...

"I'm sorry you heard us fighting but don't be scared. Mummy and Daddy sometimes get upset when we're trying to work things out. But I'm glad you told me you heard us. Because I can explain to you that all mummies and daddies argue, but we never stop trying to sort it out."

"And no matter what happens, we both love you very much."

How does the state of  your marriage affect your children? What are some of the things you say to try and make them feel better.

Like this? Then try:

Newlywed husband confesses: Marriage isn't for me.

Is it ever okay to fight in front of your kids?