One of my biggest considerations in making this decisions was the children. I cannot say it was the same for the Mister, as he was consumed with self survival. I am now amazed at how many men have a woman and a family that loves them, yet still spawn bastard children and believe in the very core of their being that the betrayed family should grin and bear the consequences of their deceit.
What also sends me is when the female parent of said misguided men-beasts support the son and touch and agree that this can be worked out, r undermining and maligning another woman. I have only one response for these special breed = #saddown real close to Jesus so I don't end up in forgiveness camp for what may come out of my mouth when all restraints are loosed. Really. Stand down.I digress.
When I was deciding whether to go or stay, our 22 year old was in college, and we had a 4 year old son, and a 10 year old daughter at home. I prayed so much about them and their well being that I know God was tired of hearing from me. I was torn between whether it was better for to stay in this humiliating and unhappy position or whether it was to leave and show them what is and is not acceptable in any relationship.
In my mind, if I stayed, I was showing my sons a picture of womanhood that I did not want them to have, and reinforcing an age old stereotype that 'boys will be boys'. I was showing them how to be the wrong kind of man. If men look for the characteristics of their mother in a mate, I surely did not want them looking for a woman who would stay for anything and stand for nothing.
I was also showing my daughter what a relationship should look like between a man and a woman. How much did I want her to think was too much to take from a man who supposedly loves her? How was I giving her a picture of what real love looks like between a man and a woman? Did I want her to think that it was okay to trade dignity, risk health issues, humiliation, degradation - all for love? I am going to plead an Amy Winehouse on that one...No, No, No.
I spent a lot of time feeling like I was 'breaking' my children, and I tussled with how to spare them as much hurt as possible. I researched how children of divorced families fair emotionally, psychologically. Eventually, it was the word of God that reminded me these babies are on loan to me; He is the real father. I cannot negate His ability to protect and sustain them unless I am also willing to negate my faith.
So what about the children? Our kids went to a Christian counselor because they needed somebody safe and unbiased with whom they could talk and work some issues out. We had designated Aunts, Uncles and cousins they could talk to at any time they needed to find comfort. I talked to their teachers and administrators about what was going on, so they would understand any changes in behavior and notify me as well. Friends, pastors, family members - covered us in prayer.
Once their father got his head unstuck, he came on board with the plan. We agreed to a very basic agenda about our children that superseded our own desires or comforts.
In theory, it seems like it was a smooth transition, when it was anything but that. The girl blamed the Father for breaking up our family and our home. The oldest son blamed the Father for everything wrong in the world at large including rainy days and gas prices, in addition to being angry at my mistreatment. The youngest son didn't blame anybody but he was sad all around the edges.
My babies and I spent a lot of time in therapy, prayer, consoling each other, conversation, and in healing. Still there, too. We work hard at it, and I can only pray that in the end, they will be stronger for the journey. I know they have picked up some good tools in this valley and they know how to use them. One of the biggest concepts that we have all embraced is that while divorce is the end of a relationship, it is the beginning of a new conceptual family. We have morphed into a different entity, tenuously at first, but more solidly as time passes.
For the children, and to some extent for ourselves, we embraced forgiveness, and invited God to take the helm of this entire family. He is working it out, one day at a time.