A Marriage for the Kids’ Sake
Parenting Marriages can help you start a family or keep the one you have intact
Posted Aug 28, 2016
Did you know that there are websites these days where people can go online and choose a partner to have (and raise) a child with? Sites like Modamily.com and Pollentree.com. Some call it Parent Partnering.
If you’re like me, you may feel utter shock and maybe even a bit of disdain about the idea, but once I investigated, it actually made good sense.
As it is now, we normally search for a mate to fall in love and start a family with.
The problem with picking someone based on an emotion is emotions change. What happens when the love goes away? The whole family is at risk for becoming disrupted.
When it comes to having children, those who pair based on love often have no idea—and no criteria—as to what the other person brings to the table regarding parenting skills. Alain de Botton writes about the silliness of this in his novel, The Course of Love. His belief is that basing marriage on a feeling or even an intuitive sense is no smarter than trying to fly a 747 based on intuition. And, he says, this is why we so often marry the wrong person.
As if the Universe were playing a cruel prank, those in romantically-inclined unions want to show their love by having children together, but the children can kill the romance (parents are often too tired and too busy to connect at the end of the day) and, in some cases, the children may even be contributing factors in the split.
Those are normal circumstances. What if the person you love ends up not being a very good co-parent—or worse, mentally unstable? The only thing harder than being married to that person is being a divorced co-parent with that person.
In fact, I spoke with a woman recently who told me she’s afraid to set limits with her ex because he’s so volatile and unpredictable. She didn’t see his character disorder until after the kids arrived and obviously by then it was too late. She couldn’t “undo” the kids.
Clients of these parent-partner matching sites run a fairly thorough background check on the other person prior to committing to the tremendous responsibility of raising kids together.
That’s not to say that a mental illness couldn’t get past the screening or emerge later on but the vetting process certainly weeds out many problems and issues that the love meter doesn’t catch.
Absolutely. If you are one of the many thousands who are unhappily married and you really don’t want to get divorced because have children, here’s something you should know. There’s another option worth looking into and this one may be one that can help you stay “for the kids,” but have a separate life too. It’s called a Parenting Marriage and it’s all about staying married to raise kids together.
Terminating the family unit when the love is gone can be likened to selling your house after an earthquake puts a crack in the foundation. You can do away with the problem and start over in a different place, or you can reconstruct.
A Parenting Marriage takes away the parts of the relationship that no longer work (most often this is the sexual aspect, but it could be social and financial aspects as well), and keeps the parts that are working and builds on those.
So much of the fighting between couples is around feeling disappointed, rejected, isolated and unloved by their mate. Spouses are expected to be best friend, lover, co-parent, financial partner and social companion. I’ve found that when couples take away the romantic aspects of the relationship, they no longer have the same issues. Instead, they can focus on what’s best for their kids. By simply being co-parents and financial partners together, they find it easier to agree and get along.
I realize I’m making this option sound as easy as flipping a switch yet, for many people, it may feel impossible to go from romantic partners to just friends.
There are important considerations and it also may take time to acknowledge and accept that your romantic partnership is over. This option is not right for everyone but it’s good to be aware that this is possible.
Parenting Marriage QUIZ
Have you and your spouse been stuck in the Marital Indecision Cycle (unsure whether to stay or go) for years? Y ______ N ______
Do you and your spouse share the same goals for your kids’ future? Y ______ N ______
Do you and your spouse have similar parenting styles (i.e firm but fair, very strict, very lenient) Y ______ N ______
Click HERE to take the full quiz and see how you score.
To learn more about what a Parenting Marriage entails, click here. And, certainly, if you have questions that aren’t answered on the website, feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.