Huffpost Divorce

3 Ways Your Unhappy Marriage May Be Hurting Your Kids

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By Nancy Pina for

We're often warned about the detrimental effects divorce can have on children: It can make them insecure, worried, or harm their ability to have a successful marriage later on in life. But do you really believe all that? Relationship expert and marriage and relationship coach Nancy Pina is looking at things from the flip side. Here are three reasons a divorce may just be the healthiest thing for all of you.

1. Your relationship will be your child's "norm" in love.
This is the most important reason a couple should not stay together if they have reached an understanding that reconciliation is impossible — and have exhausted every avenue to work through their challenges. By staying together under those conditions, modeling emotionally healthy love is impossible. The dysfunctional behavior displayed toward each other will be your children's pattern in love as they become adults. In other words, they will attract and have the highest chemistry with those who remind them of your relationship.

In unhappy marriages, the lack of positive displays of marital love is very toxic, and fills the home with stress and tension. The children may be too young to know what is wrong, but they will sense all is not well. Unfortunately, when parents tell children everything is OK when it is not, kids eventually stop trusting their instincts. There is also the strong possibility that your children will fear commitment as adults, and vow never to have the type of relationship you do with your spouse. They can end up attracting a string of short-term relationships, which they sabotage when anyone gets too close and they feel too vulnerable.

2. The facade will break you, emotionally and spiritually.
Putting up an armor of denial creates pretense and that takes a great deal of energy to maintain. You may have told yourself that you are capable of living a lie for the number of years it takes for your children to grow up and then your life can begin. What you have not factored into the equation is the stress — physically, mentally and spiritually — that will happen during those years. When your children turn 18, there is no guarantee that a divorce will not affect them just as much as it would now.

The just below the surface anger you experience from living in a loveless marriage needs an outlet. Generally, that rage will be directed at situations that do not call for such an outburst. You end up taking out those feelings of hopelessness and isolation on those you love most.

3. Inner peace is impossible.
If you stay in a loveless marriage, you will not be able to show emotionally healthy love to your children without receiving nurturance yourself. You cannot continually run on an empty emotional tank year after year.

Staying together for the kids denies yourself chance of working through relational issues and closes the door on the possibility of finding real love. If there is no peace in your heart -- if you are living a lie to family and friends alike -- you will suffer more from staying in the marriage and cutting off your authenticity than anything you would experience through a divorce.

Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit her website at for coaching options and recent books. Subscribe to her free report, Is He The Right One or schedule a free coaching session with Nancy.

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