No matter where you live in the world today there exists this idea that a family should be “whole” or “complete” — but what does that even mean in the first place? Where do we get the criteria that states: “this is the ideal family and the standard to follow”? Parents staying together just to fulfill a notion of normalcy is completely insane.
Having a family that may not match up to what is “normal” doesn’t make my family worse. Having parents who are no longer together doesn’t make us any less of a family than others.
Calling my family “broken” simply because my parents have separated implies there’s a wrongness in it. It says that there is some shame in having parents who are mature enough to realize they are no longer happy with one another. It insinuates that parents who recognize their children are better off when they exist individually should forget that truth. Even worse — it forces the idea that children or families can only be happy when they are ‘completely’ together.
But that is so rarely the case. There are a myriad of reasons and situations that leave families better off separated than forced together. Children who are made to witness their parents fighting day in and day out, living under the constant stress of it all are not happy. Children who watch their parents fall out of love and into something closer to resentment are not happy. Families that operate on a thin line and are taut with the tension of keeping it together are not happy.
Often, all anyone wants in these situations is for someone to admit that happiness would be easier found apart than together.
Forcing people to stay together just for the sake of being together is not healthy. It’s not healthy for the couple, and it’s not healthy for the family. Whether it’s a loss of love, a realization of incompatibility, or anything in between, it takes maturity to admit and accept. It takes even more maturity to act on it and do what is necessary to keep the family ‘whole’ in the truer sense of the word.
My family is not made complete simply due to the presence of my dad next to my mom. My family is made complete by the love and care we have for each other despite our differences, despite estrangement, and despite any “missing” family members. A family becomes even more broken when people who no longer get along are forced to stay together, fighting everyday and harboring resentment.
How do you feel about this?