My parents are divorced. My wife’s parents are divorced as well. Those divorces lead to some head-scratching for our kids, 6 & 4. When we say that Poppy was married to Nana before married to Gramsy and Papa, it gets confusing. Same on my wife’s side of the family.
It’s not a bad thing but it does bring up some questions. Like this one at the dinner table the other day:
“When did Poppy and Nana start arguing before they got divorced?”
The question came as a shock, like when one of your favorite characters in a book or movie suddenly gets killed. You shake your head and aren’t sure how to respond.
“Well, that’s not a simple question, buddy,” I said. “Yes,” said my wife. “Sometimes when people are married or even friends, they argue.”
Then, 6 hit us with the uppercut follow-up question:
“When are you guys gonna get divorced because you argue a lot.”
My wife and I exchanged glances and briefly smiled. We were surprised by his question but also surprised at he interprets life in our home. My wife and I do argue. It’s not “Leave it to Beaver” around our house. We’ve also known each other for almost 20 years and have developed a way of communicating that works for us.
“Mommy and Daddy might argue sometimes but we’ve been together a long time and we know that we love each other and we’re not ever planning on getting divorced,” my wife told him.
His concern did cause my wife and I to inspect our relationship, however. Here’s what we do:
We hug in front of our kids.
We tell each other that we love each other.
We do hold hands and are physically demonstrative to one another.
Yet 6 hears us argue from time and time. Our arguments usually aren’t screaming matches that rattle the walls or send the neighbors into a panic for our safety. We tend to argue with sarcasm and exaggeration. It’s not healthy, I’ll admit. But our arguments do not linger. They happen. We get over it and move on.
Still, if that’s how 6 sees us — as arguing and sniping — and he’s wondering if it will lead to the break-up of our marriage, we need to work harder to make him secure in the security of our union.
Has this ever happened to you? How do you argue? How do your kids view your arguments?