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When my dad left my mum for another woman, he suggested they didn't inform my two brothers and me. Dad figured that because the three of us were now independent adults, small matters like breaking up our family, airing the dirty laundry, selling the family home and fighting over who kept the baby photos were a private matter between him and mum. The idea that adult children are not affected by their parents' divorce is not a special brand of crazy reserved for my dad. The truth is, despite my devastation -- and I really was devastated -- I didn't feel entitled to grieve publicly for my parents' divorce. The second battlefront adult children are dragged into is not necessarily as dramatic, but just as putrid: the role of confidante. The moment the door closed behind my father, the boundaries of appropriate conversation between parent and child collapsed. I expected the role reversal of parent and child to come much later in life, when mum and dad were old or dying. I spent my time either worrying about dad night clubbing and reliving his youth, or helping mum manage the smallest details, like writing a shopping list or feeding herself. And while I was sorting out my parents' assets and playing Florence Nightingale to my mother, nobody even realized, let alone acknowledged, that I might be grieving too. Watching the family home and assets being packed up and fought over shatters your world, no matter how old you are. No matter what age you are, and what you have going on in your life, when your mum tells you "I wasted 32 years of my life," and your dad says, "I should never have married that woman," you can't help but reevaluate your memories of your childhood and question if any of it was real. With the ever-increasing numbers of gray divorce, more adult children will be forced to wade through the debris of their broken families. Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of 4 books 30-Something and Over It, 30-Something and The Clock is Ticking, OMG! The last sentence to this story should be, "And they lived happily ever after." But, remember, you're on a divorce blog, so you know what I'm going to say next. But regardless of whether the marriage works out or not, we all have a story about how we met and fell in love with the mother or father of our children. I'm not a psychiatrist or therapist, but what I can tell you as a mother is, kids want to hear that their parents were once in love, and that they loved each other enough to actually have babies together. I am constantly watching my kids' faces when my ex and I are in the same room at school and sporting events. So, in sitting your kids down and telling them your "Once upon a time" story, they will get a sense of that love between the two of you that's always missing now. When they hear that you adored your ex's beautiful eyes, it will make them think THEY have those beautiful eyes, too. So, please, put your current feelings aside, and tell your kids your "Once Upon a Time" story, and I promise you, if you can tell it over and over again, and compartmentalize that from what you feel today, you will have a better chance of living happily ever after, and so will your kids. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. The survey highlighted the emotional pressure put upon children by some parents during the divorce process.
Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent or using the child as a pawn to hurt the other parent.
Court-connected divorce education programs for parents and children.Programs for parents and, sometimes, children are recommended or required in over half of the counties in the United States. Family therapy, available through public and private mental health centers, and university family therapy centers. Many resources exist for adults, parents, and children who wish to learn more about the process of separation and divorce. If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, therapy with a marriage and family therapist (MFT) can help. A few years ago, I began to write an ironic column for Black Forest Academy’s newspaper under the pseudonym of Genevieve.  A box at the library’s check-out desk allowed staff and students to suggest topics for my column, the majority of which I ignored in favor of the more titillating ones emanating from the suggestion box in my own skull.  Oh, the delightful decadence of rewriting history, inventing a personal biography and poking fun at community quirks under the veil of anonymity! In my current MK-related activities, I find myself being a somewhat more serious Dear Genevieve, answering the questions of perfect strangers who share my passion for the children of missionaries.  They come in emails, blog comments and hand-written cards from families “on the field” and those who love them back home, and I find my own thinking stimulated by the topics and questions they raise. I recently received an email from someone in Europe who inquired about MKs and marriage.  Why is it, she asked, that so many of their marriages seem to end in divorce?  Is there something about the MK experience that makes marriage unpalatable in the long term? I’m not completely sure I understand, but the gist of this seems to be that MKs initiate the divorce and leave.
Wow, yes… as an MK who married a mono-cultured Iowa farm boy I can identify with what Michele Phoenix described as feeling like they are at times your jailer in a prison cell of mundane… How do we make it work? I did certainly jump into the relationship very quickly and deeply, but that was mutual — he moved more quickly than I did.
One factor was certainly that I failed to learn conflict resolution skills in childhood (as my parents insisted on instant obedience, no questions allowed, nor did they ever disagree majorly in front of us), but that was compounded by being married to a conflict avoider, a factor I only realised fairly late in the game. How much did perfectionism play a part (which made me vulnerable to any criticism) and taking too much responsibility for the relationship (a good deal of co-dependency going on), how much was it his refusal to seek help once the cracks became apparent?
Since my separation 4 years ago, two of my siblings have also had major marriage issues, and what it seems we share in common is that we each (inadvertently) married emotionally disconnected spouses. Here is an observation I have made now that I am older and have met younger MKs coming to college. While your post is directed towards MKs (I had to look up the meaning), there is another large population of adults in the exact same boat that you describe. As I hung on, talking myself out of divorce every day, I began to realize (like pmk above) that I sucked at conflict resolution and rather than acknowledging the warning signs I had been given, I avoided them and hoped he’d love me enough to understand. I also realized that I coped with all the change and mobility in my childhood by being very compliant. This was quite a revelation since in other areas of my life, including work, I’m regarded as quite a rebel and can be pushy and intolerant of people not thinking about the consequences of their actions.
I’m still married because I somehow recognized that some of what I learned to do as an MK to survive that life was damaging to my marriage, a long term, stable, and permanent relationship. In response to Michelle’s article on MKs and marriage, I would like to offer some words of encouragement for those that are and have gone through the death of their marriage. I have seen MKs destroy themselves and everyone in a relationship with them by using their MK-ness as a crutch. I went to Mamou where all suffered from emotional, physical and spiritual abuse, and may suffered sexual abuse from dorm parents and teachers.
The most vivid and painful memories many kids from divorced families have of early childhood aren't of playground scuffles, skinned knees or getting in trouble. After working with hundreds of families -- and observing the behavior of kids as they struggled through the breakdown of their families -- here are the top 12 things kids think about divorce, but don't have the world experience to say directly. In a perfect world, couples wouldn't fight, and they certainly wouldn't do so in front of their children. After a Wall Street Journal article sparked interest in the subject, "TODAY" invited HuffPost Parents managing editor Farah Miller, dad blogger David Vienna and child and family psychologist Jennifer Hartstein to discuss how problematic it really is for parents to let children see them in conflict. Arguing might be a little bit of a bicker, a short disagreement -- but fighting is when there's much more emotional involvement, things are escalating, it might be bordering on disrespectful interactions because our emotions are running the show. A study published in the journal Infant Behavior & Development revealed that the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" has little to do with reality. In fact, when my brother told his friends about our parents' split, they laughed -- such was their lack of concern and understanding.
If our parents managed to stay unhappily married for over three decades, why bother to change things now? Unlike when children are young, people don't concern themselves with the emotional, physical and financial toll of divorce on adult offspring. Rather than being shielded from much of the conflict, adult children are often conscripted to the frontlines of their parents' war.
Both parents felt compelled to run down the other with intimate details about their relationship, sex life and past transgressions. If you are a woman, you remember the exact day, the place, who you were with, where you were in your life at the time, and even what you were wearing. Well, I care, of course, but what I'm saying it, regardless of how or why things ended, and what your relationship is with your ex now, one thing is certain.
You may want to block it out because your ex turned out to be a completely different person than you thought. I'm not really sure what made me choose my "Once upon a time" story with my ex, but I began telling her about the first time her dad and I met, and I went into all the funny details about meeting him and what I was feeling, and how he asked me out, and even the first time we ever kissed.
I could see the excitement and anticipation on her little face, I could see her hopeful expression, the joy in her eyes that her parents really did love each other at one time. They want and need to hear that there was a time their parents connected and acted completely differently than they do now.

And when they hear that your ex said he loved your laugh, they will realize that THEY love your laugh, too.
Wouldn't it be a nice, refreshing break from the constant animosity that sadly enough is part of their everyday lives? She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE, about life after divorce. You don’t have to have been through one to know how damanging they can be for children. Nearly one in three said one parent had tried to turn them against the other and more than a quarter said their parents tried to involve them in the dispute.
The current divorce rate is calculated to be between 40 and 60% for those recently married and up to 10% higher for remarriages. While great diversity exists in children’s adjustment to divorce, and a majority of children weather the transition and become competent adults, up to a quarter of children whose parents divorce experience ongoing emotional and behavior difficulties (as compared to 10% of children whose parents do not divorce). A majority of former spouses are able to establish a relatively conflict-free parenting relationship for the benefit of their children. Parental conflict can hinder children’s adjustment and good co-parenting skills are very important to a child's adjustment. As time goes on and anger dissipates, parents may develop some version of "cooperative parenting." In this arrangement, parents communicate directly and in a business-like manner regarding the children and co-parenting schedules.
During separation and divorce, family members experience uncertainty, emotional upheaval, and changes in their family roles and rules. One influence in the pro-marriage column that you did not mention is the divorce rate (or lack thereof) among missionary couples who have served together in the field. A lot of insightful stuff in here, and I think you hit a lot of nails on a lot of heads here. My husband and I’s marriage was quickly falling to pieces after 2 easy years and 2 very very hard years of being together. Going through those rough waters feels like death, but if you’ll trust God and hang on to His principles and each other, the other side is a deep quiet river that is so much better than anything you’ve experienced until now! I did an Exploratory Study of the Impact of the Missionary Kid Experience on Marital Satisfaction.
In coming to terms with that loss, I’ve struggled to work out how much being an MK was a factor and how much other factors played a part. I did seek help on my own, and learned much that was valuable, but wasn’t a magic fix to the marriage. We had been in ministry together for 12 years (most of that time in South Asia) before settling in England (his home country) so I could be stable at long last. How much was that influenced by our upbringing,as our parents were not emotionally engaged with us and honest expression of feelings was suppressed behind a facade of spirituality.
I have, by God’s grace, come through to a place of stability and some measure of healing.
So I realized that I needed to become more that way (in an appropriate and healthy way) in my marriage. I also realized that my need for cross-cultural experiences, travel, etc might need to be dealt with on my own in a way that allows my husband his security while I feed my need for adventure. I helped with MK reentry at my Bible College and one of the things we urged MKs to do was INTEGRATE.
Issues for marriages to fall apart are the same for MKs and non-MKs: lack of loving others (=your spouse) more than yourself and God above all.
Two people, at one time so in love they committed to spend the rest of their lives together, find themselves communicating through lawyers and dividing assets and possessions so they can start their lives over again -- on their own.
I really don't care which one of you gets the car, the timeshare, or Nana's ashtray collection, so stop telling me about how pissed you are about it and how you feel it's "unfair".
When you're talking to each other about visitation, please don't talk about me like a project that needs to be "managed". Don't use your failed marriage and bitterness toward the opposite sex as your reference when you lecture me about my friendships and relationships. When you start dating again, don't assume that I am going to love every person you bring home. Don't insult or make fun of the gifts and things I receive from my other parent or the experiences I have with them and their family. I would really appreciate it if the two of you could stop acting like children and come up with a plan that allows you to be in the same space at the same time without being mean to each other. Please recognize that there are some things that my other parent is better at than you … and that's OK! When kids are involved, it becomes necessary to open a door for conversation and realization of what your child(ren) are going through -- and what they desperately need from both parents. Don't pretend that arguments aren't going to come up -- and when they do, try to show effective problem-solving skills. Those things you don't want to do in front of your children, but that little bit of arguing is going to happen. When 253 college students were asked to rank photos of the same individuals as infants and young adults (without being told who was who), there was no relationship between how cute the students found the babies and how attractive they found the grown-ups. Even if you consciously decide not to take sides, your inaction may still be interpreted as a breach of loyalty. You have a "Once upon a time story" that will always mean something, whether you want it to or not.
It may disgust you to recall the memories of those passionate kisses that took your breath away, only to see him or her now and be completely repulsed to the point you might throw up. But, telling that story to my daughter didn't make me upset or angry about the way things are now. She wanted to hear the story over and over again, and I've probably told it to her about 100 times since. Every time you don't say hello to each other, every time you use that formal tone when you are telling your ex something, or when he uses that tone with you. And when they hear that you and your ex once stayed up all night talking, they'll understand more why they were born. However, about a third have difficulty in establishing a workable parenting relationship, even years after the divorce. Marriage and family therapists can be helpful to families as they formulate or define their post-divorce parenting relationships. Family therapists can assist in the process of redefining relationships and addressing family members’ responsibilities and needs. A few books for parents are mentioned in this brochure; check libraries and bookstores for other titles.
A quick inventory brings to mind about a dozen missionary couples I know (or whose children I taught) who got divorced. We aren’t used to having people around for long, so there is rarely the need to develop deep trust, or we ignore the warning signs of someone being untrustworthy. Either way, thank you for giving me (and my almost-fiance) something to chew on and discuss this weekend. In addition to your points in this post, I wonder if there should be another point that addresses the shame, guilt and stigma in the evangelical missionary community toward sexual relationships.
My results suggested that the same things that impact marital satisfaction with non-MKs are the same as for MKs. Ultimately he wanted out, and I realised that the most loving thing I could do was to let him go if he wished.
This is in complete contrast to my childhood where I never mourned the loss of any friendship — so perhaps in mourning the loss of my marriage, I have also mourned some of the other losses along the way? In addition, my husband has been to Kandern, and fully engages with my childhood culture when he comes to visit.
He grew up on a farm in Iowa and I grew up living on three continents and meeting many different people and making many wonderful friends for life. MKs who learn how to blend with their American peers as opposed to being the focus of attention and continually talk about being on the mission field seem to adjust well and make great friends their first year of college. I was pretty convinced that I am not going to leave him, but it has probably taken me 10+ years to truly believe that he won’t leave me. My mono-cultural husband didn’t understand my needs for change and mobility and opted to default to his deep seated for security.
My husband does too and understands that in critical areas we are drastically different and that’s okay. And if by some chance they fall for a non-MK and mask their feelings, those feelings are sure to pop up as soon as hard times come.

We have survived 3 lay-offs, ordination, 2 mission agency evaluations and acceptances, 3 field visits, 2 field assignments, support raising, financial set-backs, 3 daughters, one daughter lost to leukemia, and most recently, a move to Germany for missionary service. But for families with children, there's a whole other layer of complication and planning, and too often kids don’t have a voice in what’s happening. Kids of all ages -- some barely aware of their own roles in the world -- are acutely aware of events, situations and actions in families divided. I know you hate everything about "your ex", but your ex is still my other parent, and I still love both of you. When you start putting all your energy into material things, you make me think that's all you care about.
If it's your weekend to spend time with me, consider the fact that I may really be excited to spend time with you before you let me overhear you say things like, "I have a date. I have my own opinions, and just because you like them doesn't mean I'm going to automatically hit it off with someone you're dating.
For example: my birthday, sports events, recitals, concerts, and basically any time my other family, friends, coaches or teachers are around. When -- out of spite for each other -- you let me get away with stuff that even I know is wrong, you confuse and frustrate me. I won't think less of you if you let Dad teach me how to catch a ball or Mom show me how to drive. The one who leaves needs to justify the decision and the one who is left needs to mull over why they were left and convince themselves -- and everybody else -- that they did not deserve it. My parents we so engrossed in their own pain and anger they no longer had any concern for me, other than as a pawn in their own drama. What it did was bring me back to a time in my life with him when we were truly happy and in love. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids.
Then you throw in the other pressures of life such as finances, work, etc… that everyone faces it can be overwhelming. The actual divorce rate in the United States is closer to 30% and is getting lower every year. He jokes about it a lot, but even then I take it as him recognizing something that is part of who I am. I can’t speak for my siblings, but I myself have spent most of my adult years learning to engage with my own emotions in a more honest way, and to find more healthy ways of relating to others. He knows the places I am talking about, is willing to visit and understand, and is understanding of that MK part of me.
Our marriage is strong not because we lived a specific life but because we are both committed to focusing of Jesus Christ and not our needs. The MKs who take time to learn about America instead of putting it down appear to do better. I now realize that I had been guarding myself carefully for a long time convinced that he would leave (not because of anything he did, it was just what I was used to). You won’t make any friends by slamming the only home your classmates and (potential) friends have ever known.
Please stop talking badly about each other to me or in front of me; it just makes me disrespect you. Honestly, you should be more angry about losing our family than you are about losing your gym membership. I don't have all the right answers, and my feelings get hurt really easily, so please stand up for me.
Can't you just keep her and I'll cover your weekend?" And when it comes to big events, keep in mind that I have family that I love on both sides. My friends are my escape from all the stress your divorce is creating, so you may want to not talk badly about them right now, that will just make me rebel against you more. If you could manage to put your own selfish crap aside and be civil with each other every once in a while, that would be great for everyone. BUT there are so many who do succeed at marriage despite the great stresses of ministry, and those need to be recognized and celebrated! Also, shared experiences abroad does help, and our international adoption somehow helped as well…. Unfortunately I did still make some major mistakes that contributed to the demise of our marriage, but I do think it is fair to say that of the two of us, I was (overall) more engaged emotionally than he was.
It takes work but through prayer and other MKs who laugh with you about mistakes and chuckle with you about those jokes that only MKs get can be a big help. I think I got over it during our 11th year together and I am now experiencing a closeness to him I never thought was possible . Ever since I have used it to reassure myself and my husband on multiple occasions throughout our marriage as the marriages of family and friends have fallen apart. Even though we have a European connection, there have been cultural issues that we have had to work through. They taught us love, commitment, a love and dedication to the Lord, and how to see the good and bad in any culture.
So how about instead of letting a judge decide who I get to see on the holidays -- ask me what I want.
But insulting the things I like, enjoy and am proud of just because they came from my other parent, only makes you look like a huge, petty brat.
Now, after being in the States for 24 years, I am still an MK in my heart as well as being an everyday person who loves where God has put our family. What about the feelings that accompany a house torn apart, and their unspoken expectations of a life lived with a whole family? As a matter of fact, I might fight with them on purpose because I want you take sides -- my side.
And from my perspective, you simply stopped loving someone who made you angry, so how long will it be before I do something to make you stop loving me?
I know you want to be able to do this whole parenting thing on your own, but I don't want you to!
Saying that you see things in me that make you think of the things you despise in them makes me feel unlovable and self-conscious -- and it destroys my already damaged self esteem. As hard as he works to understand me, I have to put forth the effort to understand and validate where he’s coming from as well! We have a passion for missions and pass that on to our children and have gotten involved in our church so our kids meet many missionaries. Every time he was more than half an hour late I would be convinced that he had left me for another woman, or another life, and by the time he would get home I would be quite a wreck!! They have no idea what I am going through, and I lose trust for you when you let them push me around or hurt me -- even if it's unintentional.
And on that note, now that I have realized your love has limits, be prepared for me to test those limits almost daily.
If you want me to clean up after myself or speak more respectfully, then show me how, or make a rule, or talk about it. My life has become richer because of it and I truly believe that my husband feels the same way. I love seeing you smile when I do something you've taught me, and it makes me very happy when you compliment each other by saying things like, "You should ask your (other parent), they're really good at that." When you allow me to learn from and value both of my parents, that teaches me to appreciate the gifts in others and to ask for help when I need it.
Just stop putting in my head that my actions are just as offensive to you as the person you divorced. It goes both ways, I had to learn what it was like to have family close by and go to big family reunions. Since they don’t trust anyone they do not have the ability to judge who someone really is before marriage.
When you add abuse to all the reasons above it is not surprising that marriages do not last. We got together for Christmas and both had taken grand steps to pulling this back together and have set new goals for the next 3 months in our faith, family, and lives with the final goal of reconciliation and a long healthy marriage by June (ish). But I do know of some who have married spouses who have been a big help and their marriages are good.

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