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Why Do Parents Split?
Photo: Marja Flick-Buijs
Shayna Answers:

Parents don’t always tell us everything that’s happening between them, in much the same way that we don’t tell them everything that’s happening between us and our boyfriend or girlfriend. The problem with having a selective view of what’s going on is that when parents announce that they’re splitting up, it can seem as if it’s coming out of nowhere.

One thing you need to realize is that all couples have problems, and most couples prefer to keep them private. But when that couple—your parents, in this case—have children that need answers, things can get complicated. They have to figure out how to explain their actions in a way that’ll hopefully be fair and unbiased, but that will also not reveal too much information that can be hurtful, even harmful, if taken out of context.

I don’t know what your parents’ personal circumstances are, but generally couples split up because they need some space and time apart. I’m willing to bet that this is at least part of your parents’ motivation for splitting up. I know that separation can seem like a precursor to divorce. And, yes, divorce is sometimes the ultimate result of a split. In many cases, though, it’s not.

You’ve heard me talk before about taking “breathing periods.” It’s a time when one or both people in a relationship reflect on the changes that have taken place and how to make better decisions next time. Well, separation may be your parents’ breathing period. It may be their way of figuring out what they value about their marriage, and how they can better serve each other and their children—you.

Your Reaction

Your parents’ split is probably going to be really hurtful to you, if it hasn’t been already. After all, you’re going to be deprived of one or both of your parents, not to mention that your family structure is going to change. Exodus 20:12 tells us that we are supposed to honor our parents, though. But how do you pull that off in the middle of family chaos that your parents have caused?

It’s easy to be selfish as children and continually expect things from our parents without giving anything back. But eventually you will realize that your support for your parents is as important as theirs is for you.

First Corinthians 13:7 says love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Now you might have to be the source of stability for your parents, and maybe your siblings, by exemplifying these characteristics of love when they can’t.

We all have control over the decisions we make, and the way we handle stressful situations. Your parents love you, whether or not their actions seem to reflect it. Keep in mind that their split is infinitely more stressful for them than it is for you.

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God will help you get through this tough family time if you ask for His help. He might even use you to be the glue that keeps your family together emotionally when they’re no longer together physically.

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By Shayna Bailey. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine Online. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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