Dating My Kids Mom
Almost 20 years ago, I said the wrong name while repeating my vows on our Wedding Day. Yes I know, Tanya and I had a Ross and Rachel moment (it's a Friends reference you can Google it). In my defense, the Rabbi pronounced my wife's name wrong and I just repeated it. To this day, I say my girlfriend's name is Tanya and I married Tonya.
There are several reasons why it's important for a great marriage to date your wife. I wanted to focus on the benefits for the kids to see that Dad is in love with their Mom:
1. Confidence - Kids are more confident if they live in a stable home. Household stability has very little to do with finances, it has more to with the strength of your family unit. With all the things kids have to worry about, the last thing they should worry about is Mom and Dad's marriage;
2. Conflict Resolution - Any psychologist or counselor will tell you that many of the issues that we have as adults, stem from what we experienced as children. No one has the perfect relationship or marriage. However, the impression we want to leave on our kids is that when we do fight, we fight fair, and we have learned to forgive. Teaching kids that Mom and Dad can argue, but we still love each other will help them build strong relationships in their future;
3. The Future Partner - How often have we heard that a son or daughter chose someone who was similar to their Mother or Father? We want our children to choose their future partner in life based upon the values that we find important. The best way to do that is to mirror the behavior we expect from them.
It breaks my heart to hear my daughter or son tell me that many of their friends parents have split up. And to be honest, I don't know their situations and it's none of my business. What I do know is the negative impact that divorce has on the children. Many parents decide Middle School and High School is a "good time" to split. I would argue that's the worst time. The kids hormones are going crazy, new school, and first boyfriend/girlfriend is not the time to break apart their home.
The best advice I can give is for Mom and Dad to keep dating each other. Go to the movies, get a hotel room, flirt with each other (it's ok you're married). It's better for the kids to see that Dad is crazy about Mom then to see Dad moving his stuff out and renting an apartment.