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Listen to these two tapes before taking a big step you may regret.  Read this letter.
Then if you still want to divorce, then you were warned.
Dr. Knapp

Listen now to tape:

Tape 1          Tape2

Download mp3:

Tape 1          Tape 2


Dear Parents

If you are considering divorce or having great difficulty in your marriage, you need to think about what you are getting into by leaving. We used to think that the children were better off in a divorced situation than stay in an unhappy home. Wrong! It is much more devastating to them to have their parents divorce.

When I council parents about teenagers, I tell them of a fact I noticed. We behave worse for the people we love the most. We would never talk to our friends or co-workers like we talk to our spouse or children. We act worse for our family because they love us, forgive us, and are stuck with us (well sort of - could get a divorce or run away from home.) If we talk to others the same way we talk to our family, then our friends would not see us again. Our teens are the same. They are nice to people they don’t like all day long and come home and let it out on us. If they can’t let it out at home, they explode or go crazy. So we are the escape valve for the pressure cooker. The same is true of our spouse. "My wife (or husband) is such a gripe!!" My spouse is so mean to me. And this other person at work is so nice and polite. So we divorce our spouse and marry that other person. Guess what? She or he then acts like our first spouse….. because we act worse for the person we love the most!!! Sad but true.

There is another important concept. If we are feeling angry toward our spouse but we wait for our "feelings" to change to loving and kindness and then act that way, then nothing improves. We must first have the behaviors and then the feelings will follow. So if we start to act respectful, kind and loving toward the other person and do the little caring things for each other, then we will start to feel that way toward them. If we wait to "feel" loving and kind toward that person and then act loving, it never happens. So we must first act and then feelings will follow. All marriages have months or years where the feelings are not strong and can even be unloving. But if you keep doing the activities for each other, then the feelings come back and the marriage continues. It is called commitment. This carries you through the rough times.

If you were eating in a restaurant and a gun man came in shooting at everyone, you would cover up your children, take a bullet for them, and die for them. But we won’t stay in an unhappy marriage for them. We want to be happy and it is out of selfishness that we divorce so we will be happy. But in a few years you will not be happy knowing you put your children through this for your needs. The vast majority of children are better in an unhappy home than in divorced homes, competing with other step-children and spouses. There is more physical and sexual abuse from step parents. Believe me when I tell you that your temporary "happiness and sexual excitement" will dampen quickly. You will be more sad than before you divorced. Although not perfect, you will be happier staying married than divorcing. There will be worse fighting with your ex-spouse who is in another house or town.

Like they said on Apollo 13, if "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION", then you two can find a way to work things out. Get back together and find some fun things to do together. Accept each others faults and quit trying to change each other. You can find a way to get along and the end result of staying together will make you proud of yourself. You will find the deepest most satisfying love when you stick it out together. At least be cordial and polite to each other as you would a guest in your home. Have your own separate friends and stay in the same house. Continue to both parent your children. Most couples will fall back in love later and if not you can divorce after the kids leave home.

When you had a child, you took on the responsibility to stay and raise it. It is an extremely difficult job and one that you can take great pride in after all is finished. You cannot take pride in something that is easy to do. It is easier to run away, the coward’s way out. Stay married and do the difficult task. Take pride in yourself when you look into the mirror. Look for the good in each other and ignore the faults. Just get along …. for you and your child’s sake.

Dr. Knapp

For advice to help children if you still insist on your selfishness:

High Conflict Divorce

Parents' Guide to help children with divorce