Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Someone should be committed

With all due respect to this columnist, he has missed the point. Apparenty, in an earlier column Neil the columnist advised a man to leave his wife. A reader offered this protest:

This life is not all about you. Your happiness is not the center of the known universe. This man has three children, a wife and I imagine friends and extended family who will also be fractured from this, and all you talked to him about is his happiness. Do you think children or young adults will be happier because one parent decides to pursue their own happiness?

Unmoved, Neil the columnist responds:

No, I would argue that couples, even couples with children, should not stay together if they are psychologically divorced — or if one of them is. It’s too cold an environment to bring kids up in, and it’s unhealthy for everyone involved. Few marriages are made in heaven, but no one should have to tolerate hell forever.

What Neil fails to realize is that the end of an unhappy marriage for the person who feels trapped in it may feel like an escape from hell for him or her, but it is really just the beginning of hell for the kids whose lives will never be the same. And, can't you just imagine this conversation: "Kids, as you know, I psychologically divorced your mother five years ago." Huh?

Now, try imagining this conversation between a father and his adult child: "Son, marriage with your mother has been difficult and not at all what I expected. Still, I made a commitment to her and to you kids and no matter how difficult things were, no matter how much I was tempted to think that I might be happier if I left, I couldn't do that to you all. I love you and I want you to know that commitments are important and you are important. It's important to stand by your commitments, Son, even when they are difficult to follow through on."

Hmm. That's probably just too crazy to imagine.

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