Children Of Divorced Parents, What Have You Learned About Marriage?

“Fight to get better, not to bring the other person down.”

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“Not everyone is meant to be monogamous forever and that’s totally OK. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”

“Divorce will ruin your perception of how relationships should be, even if it’s just temporarily. You might expect things to always go wrong or fall apart, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right person, you’ll feel the ground underneath your feet again.

There will be a moment in time when you are all together years later, sitting at a table, maybe even laughing. You’ll think, ‘This is what life could have been like.’ But it’s not, because that never existed. That doesn’t mean you can’t create it yourself.”

“My parents got divorced when I was 21, and I learned that if you hate your spouse, you should not stay together for the sake of your kids because you’re not doing anybody any favors. Also, to be successful at marriage, you need to be a good apologizer.”

“It’s a piece of paper to some; to others it’s a bond between people to express to others that we have connected on almost every level and that you can’t live without the other person. A unity to become one unit.

To look at it negatively: Its a piece of paper that says I own half when this shit comes tumbling down.”

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“Even if you love someone and think you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them, always be independent, make your own money and don’t rely on anyone else but yourself.”

“It’s a convenient way to share money, legal documentation, and health insurance. However, when it doesn’t work out these formerly convenient things become a nightmare.”

“Don’t marry really young ESPECIALLY if you haven’t lived out of your parent’s house yet. Each person really needs to encourage the others’ growth as an individual: professionally, emotionally, etc. for the two to be strong together. Remaining independent while livin’ life together as a team is really important.

Also this is kind of morbid but only marry someone who won’t be a gigantic asshole in the event of a divorce. I feel that speaks a lot to someone’s character in general because if you think they’d be selfish in the worst case scenario, they’re probably not a good person to go through other tough stuff with either.”

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“Marriage is weird and complicated and probably not a particularly natural state of existence for most people. Also, marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the feeling of being in a family. Looking back on it, the best moments I’ve had with my family happened after my parents got divorced and started co-parenting. The only thing that sucks more than going through a divorce, in my experience, is living with two people who need one. I think about whether or not I’d ever get married and I usually half-joke/half-honestly believe that I’d rather have kids before I ever even considered getting married. Marriage just seems like a really expensive way to slowly let down the person you love until you hate each other.”

“Don’t let your kids become the only thing you can talk about with your spouse. If that’s the only topic of conversation, that’s a big red flag.

Fighting is important. My mom tells me all the time that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Not sure that’s entirely true but I think she makes a good point. You don’t want to bicker constantly but if you become indifferent, that’s a bad sign too.

It’s the little things that go a long way when you’re married for years. Love notes, flowers for no reason, thoughtful little gifts. These things all add up. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can stop trying.

Don’t live separate lives. My mom was always so busy with us and my dad was working a ton. Even though we ate dinner as a family every night, sometimes it felt like my parents were living different lives despite living together. I think it’s important for kids to see their parents doing things just the two of them (date nights, activities, etc).

TL;DR: Marriage takes work. A LOT of work. Even after 23 years (the length of my parents’ marriage), things can fall apart.”

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“I’ve learned that ‘marriage’ doesn’t always mean that everything works out all happily ever after – but it does mean you still have a life together, at least in some way, if you have children together. I’ve learned that ‘family’ isn’t always composed of fully-related siblings but that doesn’t mean you don’t love each other as if you are.”

“That it’s unnecessary unless you are bound to it for some religious reason. To me, marriage has become something I don’t understand in the slightest. Why do I need another person to confirm my love for someone else?”

“That your parents made just as bad decisions as you do now (but probably worse). That some people should never get married (definitely not 3 times, ahem, dad). Not sure this is about marriage, but I’m much more concerned about ending up in a relationship I’m not happy in than friends whose parents are still together and happy.”

“Growing up you don’t know any better so you think that maybe constant arguing is normal. But what I realized as I got older was that while disagreements are totally understandable/expected, there has to be some compromise and resolution. Just talking past each other is a surefire way to ensure that the problems will persist and eventually overwhelm the marriage.”

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

“Even if you are wonderful co-parents, divorce will affect your children all the way into adulthood. What we considered troublesome in the marriage and what you’ve told us about it has created a checklist in our mind as to what should be important in a healthy relationship. It might be something that we never saw and secretly wished we did or something that we saw too often and now wish never happened.

Be open, trustworthy, and willing to change. Try to understand that you might not be the person you think you are. Fight to get better, not to bring the other person down. Just because you’re mad doesn’t mean you should stop caring. Do things together, just the two of you, especially when kids come along. Know that what you say can last a lot longer than the breath it took to say it.”

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