Good fathers are good husbands.
How you treat your wife will be mimicked by your boys and expected by your girls. Guiding their mother is guiding one of your children’s main role models, so it is a job to take seriously.
At a minimum, this means you should stay married. It is one of the most important things you can do as a father.
It proves you are a man of your word. You keep your promises. If you don’t have integrity, you will be hard-pressed passing anything worthwhile down to your children. If you try to wiggle out of “til death do us part” then your children will find themselves wiggling out of their own commitments.
On the broader scale, a stable home is required for your children to flourish. Life will attempt to churn and toss them about, but they can weather the storm as long as they know that one thing will stay consistent: mom and dad.
This does not change as they get older.
Even if they have moved out of the house and have established families of their own, a divorce will negatively affect your children. It will reach back in time and cast doubt, uncertainty, and regret on all of their memories. It will make them question their own marriages.
It then affects every family gathering. Every birthday. Every holiday. A noxious fume that is harder to ignore than the stink of a skunk.
It will have consequences for your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. Your legacy is forever tarnished.
So stay married. Work it out. You made vows and promises. Keep them.
If you treat your children’s mother as disposable, they will rightly suspect that you think of them as disposable. Unimportant. They might nod and smile and act supportive of your decisions, but inside they will be squirming.
Remember, marriage is not just a private contract between two individuals. It has ramifications for the entire community and culture. It has a purpose and a direction, and your personal emotional fulfillment is not it.
You might get satisfaction and fulfillment out of your marriage, but that is a happy side effect and not the intended purpose.
Its purpose is to serve as a building block of civilization and to extend the life of that civilization to subsequent generations. To form pockets of loyalty that can push society to progress. To define boundaries within which children can feel like they matter.
So stay married.
My parents divorced when I was 29. Immediately, everything changed for me, my wife, and our children. Suddenly, my wife was married to a child of divorce. She didn’t sign up for that.
It was not an amicable divorce. My mother did not want it.
However, both of my parents have now remarried.
My mother was eating lunch with a friend one day, and the friend remarked how everything had turned out okay in the end. Both were married and moving on with their lives.
My mom looked at her and said “You should go and ask my children if things are ‘okay’.”
That shut the other woman up.
Because no, it was not “okay” and it never will be.
And if you get divorced you are crippling your chance at building a lasting legacy.