"Our parenting responsibilities are more balanced now. It's like my kids finally have a mom. She spends quality time with them and they look forward to being with her. Sure, I miss my kids, and that's what I tell my friends. But the truth is that, in large part because of the weekly break from the pressures of parenting, I've never been happier or more relaxed. I just wish we could have achieved this balance when we were together."
What are the implications of Divorce's Dirty Secret?
For couples who have already divorced, building on any improvement in their parenting is vital, as children obviously suffer tremendously in the ongoing aftermath of divorce.
For couples who are still together, yet struggling, the implications are especially significant. Perhaps, if parents gave themselves some more time off, they might improve both their marriages and their parenting. Indeed, I make a point to share this secret with my couples clients and urge them to prioritize down-time.
When two people love each other and love their kids, there is nothing better than family time. But there is also a cost to family time. It can be draining to an individual and a couple. So married couples should look for opportunities to take a break from parenthood in order to recharge, both individually and romantically.
I also ask my clients to promise that, once we end therapy, the money they have budgeted to pay me will then be directed into a dating fund. After all, babysitting is cheaper than therapy, and astronomically cheaper than divorce!
Elisabeth's book, Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce; 5 Steps to a Heathy Relationship, was a finalist in the relationship catogory of the 2008 best book awards.