No matter what, we all take lessons from our parents-things they did well, things they didn’t handle well and of course, things we vow we’ll never do. Those lessons guide how we live our lives and I think it is helpful to know that these lessons helped form our beliefs. Ashley’s lessons, not surprisingly were about marriage and children. Here’s Ashley:
When I was in high school a friend of mine got pregnant and the father of the child was not sure if he wanted to commit. And I remember telling her, “Don’t marry him just for the name. It would be better if the child never even knew he existed than for you to marry just because everybody tells you it’s the right thing to do. I think, it would be better for you to raise the child on your own, than to put the child through misery.”
Another time in my life, when I was in my mid-to late twenties a friend of mine was getting married to somebody who we were all very sure, she should not marry and I had very frank conversations with her. It was one of those things, that just days before the wedding it was almost called off. It was really that bad.
I said to her, “I don’t care if you decide to go through with this, just promise me, you won’t get pregnant.” I didn’t want her to have a kid with him, especially in the first few years, until she knew whether she should stay or not. When she did get pregnant, she was terrified to tell me. She told me and I congratulated her and she then said, “Really? I was more afraid to tell you than anybody else because of your strong reaction.”
I explained, “Well, you’ve decided that you are going to do this and I’m going to embrace the fact that you’re doing it. If you feel that you really can bring up this child with him, then I’m going to support you in it.”
As a little kid, and still today, I do not think people should stay together. It’s not going to do anybody any good to stay together. It especially isn’t going to do the kids any good if you stay together just for them.
However, my viewpoint has changed a little bit, due to the fact that I now see families using their kids as a tool to get back at the other one. I just see people doing some really bizarre things with their kids where they’re either giving the kids too much or fighting with the other parent, not respecting ground rules for both parents homes. It’s kind of pitting the kids against the parent. That bothers me just as much as people staying together for the wrong reasons. That doesn’t help the kids and it doesn’t help them heal from the bad marriage.
To me, it’s always been, don’t bring kids into this world unless you know it’s right. That’s been a pattern with me. I’ve been very, very concerned for the kids.
I don’t have kids and I said that I didn’t want kids though I love kids. I didn’t want kids because I didn’t want to watch them go through the emotional struggles that I went through. I felt that my childhood was so devastating. It was so difficult for me that I didn’t want to watch somebody else go through that. And so I never wanted to have children. And the person that I’m with, we’re not married. We’ve been together for eight now and he has no intention of getting married because he had two bad marriages.
I really never cared whether I got married or not. To me it was more important to find somebody who really got me and wanted to be in their life with me than to have a wedding and a legal acknowledgment of our relationship.
The Divorce Coach Says
I remember as a teenager telling my mum that I wanted to have children but I wasn’t sure about getting married. Back then, pretty much the only way that was going to happen was by accident. I don’t know why I felt that way – my parents had a good marriage so it wasn’t a reaction against that. I suspect it may have something to do with my independent streak. Obviously, I wavered on that but I since my divorce, that streak has been growing stronger and I know I need to honor it. While I would like to be in a committed relationship, I’m not looking for marriage.
What did you think about marriage and having kids growing up? How was that influenced by your parents’ marriage? How do you feel about marriage now?
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