DIVORCE EXPOSED – INSIGHTS FOR STAYING MARRIED AND INSPIRATION FOR SURVIVING DIVORCE
This episode is for someone thinking about getting divorced or who is in the middle of a divorce. I want to share some insight on your parenting arrangement and why putting your children first matters. It’s just an idea and it might not work for you but maybe you can take the idea and mold it into something that is a little bit different and does work for you.
The inspiration for this episode is from separate articles on 2 couples that are also public figures and what we see publicly about their divorce. I thought what they were doing was worth a conversation. Of course, mixed into this episode are my thoughts on what they are doing and the impact it is having on their children. You’ll find a link to the articles in the resource section below.
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In this episode about putting children first:
The first public figure I want to talk about is Ben and Jenn. Benn Aflick and Jennifer Gardner. Now keep in mind, I’m really not a celebrity follower but I have always liked Jenn from the series, Alias. So when her name pops up, I take note. I heard awhile ago that they were separating and recently I’ve seen a few headlines that they are trying to work things out, one because they love each other and two for the children
I absolutely love the fact that they are trying to work things out for the children. What goes on behind the scenes with them is not something I want to know about or even pay attention to. However, I have seen a few pictures of them off and on over the past two years and they always looked like they were trying to be a happy family. To me, this only benefits the children. If they can be civil to each other when they are in front of the children, I think it is amazing.
Now you might have more inside scoop than I do, about what is really going on behind the scenes and that’s ok, because what I am really trying to focus on here is the hope that they are trying to do what is right for the children. I believe that when parents do things with the children they reinforce family values which often get lost when there is a divorce.
As a child who’s entire life was torn upside down when my parents divorced, I might have a different view of this than someone who’s parents never divorced. In my opinion, and I want to be clear, this is my opinion only. The two of you as adults made the decision to get married and you made the decision to have children. They didn’t ask you to do this.
Remember, if you can’t keep the marriage alive, it is not the children’s fault and you shouldn’t disrupt their lives because you want to change yours. As you listen to other podcasts for divorce exposed, you’ll probably hear me say this a lot because it is something I feel very strongly about. As someone who has lived it, I felt the pain of having to move because my parents divorced. It wasn’t just moving, it was adjusting to a new life with only one parent.
If you decide to end your marriage, I think you should do everything in your power not to disrupt your children’s living situation.
In my ideal world, every couple with children getting divorced should keep the primary residence and the parents should rotate in and out, not have the children move from home to home. In many situations this might not be practical. It can be expensive and extremely awkward if you have to be in a space where you ex is sometimes, but if you want what is best for the children, you as the parents have to make sacrifices. You made them when you had children, you can make them until the children are grown and independent.
With so many marriages ending in divorce, what does that do for family values. I’m not professionally trained in this area, but common sense tells me that it must have an impact on our future generations.
Another article I read that I also posted on our FB Divorce-Exposed page is about someone who runs a blog called ‘Scary Mommy; She is someone who has gained a large following from a parenting blog she runs. There was an article written about her on today.com and it talks about she and her husband planning for their separation.
In the article they talk about how they planned for several months on the best way to break the news to their children. Now, in their scenario, Jeff has decided that he is gay and therefor wants to end their marriage.
Losing your spouse because they are gay presents its own set of issues which we’ll save for another episode but they seem to have gone out of their way to make this easier on their children and sought professional help in the process. I applaud them for making the extra effort to get direction for helping their children through this difficult and emotional change.
Please also know that I have zero issues with someone being gay and I completely support the gay community. One of my best buddies is gay, and several of my family members are as well.
In reading the story about Jill and Jeff, I was impressed by how they planned the process rather than just springing it on the children but the one part that bothered me as I read the article, was that after they talked about the separation, they went shopping to pick out new bedsheets for their beds at their dads new house nearby. Now that could just be the author’s reporting, but what this says to me is that when they want to see their dad, they have to go to his house. Their world is turned upside down.
This takes me back to let’s keep the children in their home and have mom and dad rotate in and out rather than having the children rotate back and forth. I know that the thought of sharing the same home with your ex so that you can keep your kids put is a difficult concept to swallow.
The issues that you might have to work through can be enormous and too much for this episode, but the divorce shouldn’t mean that mom and dad’s life becomes easy peazy. In my opinion, it needs to be about the children first. And mom and dad still need to make sacrifices just like they did when they were married.
With some divorces, the couples can’t be in the same room together. But we are the adults and we need to do our best to rise above the petty crap for the sake of our children. Trust me, I feel this with both of my ex husbands. I honestly wish I could say I was successful with this. But I failed in this department and to this day, for the sake of my kids, I wish things were different.
When I grew, my parents got along very well. Heck, my mom had her third wedding reception in the backyard of my biological dad with his third wife (yes, follow that one). I’ve always been impressed with how my mom got along with all of her ex’s. And me, I can’t even be in the same room with them, much less have a conversation with them.
When I left my first husband I had every intention of getting along like my parents did. I had the best role models and I thought for sure I’d be just like them. I thought we be sitting on the deck drinking beer together like we did when things were good. Instead, I ended up taking him to court several times trying to get him to be a better parent.
It’s easy for me to say I blew it, but the reality is that his actions over the years caused me to build a wall. As a person I don’t like to be around people that bring me down and his actions were making my life more difficult than it needed to be. I could also see the hurt his actions caused my children and that caused me pain for them.
I really feel like for the sake of our future families, if we are going to get divorced, we need to put the children first in the divorce process. I understand that there are financial issues that also need to be addressed, but we are talking about innocent lives that are at risk when parents divorce. Putting children first isn’t law, it’s not something that the court will mandate, but as parents, do we some sort of social responsibility for our children? If nothing else, it’s something to think about.
If we approached divorce as thoughtful as Jill and Jeff did, but created a plan where the children could remain in the same home, instead of going back and forth between two homes, I’ll bet that there would be fewer problems in the long run.
So hat’s off to Jenn and Brad for trying to make things work. It truly makes my heart smile when I hear people are trying to work things out because of the children. And to Jeff and Jill for getting professional help to make this easier on their children – best wishes.
As we bring this episode to a close, I really hope that you were inspired by the concept. I know that it’s not something that is easy to do, but if you really want to do what is right for your children, you’ll find a way. If nothing else, maybe this idea will inspire something else that is even better than what I am suggesting!
If you are in need of new photo’s and are near NYC, reach out to Rick Becker of Becker Studios. Maybe you want a new happy couple photo or you need professional looking photo’s for a dating site. He’s amazing to work with and I know you’ll love the end results. You can get his information in the resource portion of the show notes and also on our resource page of the website.
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Until next time……..keep finding the positives in everything you do.
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Here are the articles that inspired this episode:
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