We're Getting Divorced: How to Tell the Kids? | About Islam
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We’re Getting Divorced: How to Tell the Kids?

Questioner

L

Reply Date

Nov 04, 2018

Question

I'm married to a good man for 12 years. We have 3 kids: 10, 7,5. The problem is that we're not happy with our marriage any more. I think both of us stopped to love the other and life has been too dull for many years. We are thinking about divorce nowadays and the most hard thing about it is the kids. I don't know how to approach them regarding this decision of separation between myself and their father. Please tell me how to talk to them about the matter ,especially the younger ones.

Counselor

Answer


Divorce

In this counseling answer:

” I would kindly suggest that both you and your husband sit down with your children at a time where there is no stress. Preferably on a weekend or an evening when they do not have school the next day. I would explain to them that you both love them very much and that while you have respect for each other you have decided to divorce/separate in order to have happier lives.”


As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to us with your very important concern. While you did not give much details on why you wanted to divorce other than you stopped loving each other and life is dull, I would encourage you both to first look at how you can change your marriage so that you both feel renewed, in love and excited about being married to each other. While I know that was not the question (and I will get to your question) I do feel that often times couples fall into a “rut” wherein day in and day out it is work, childcare, household tasks, and doing things to keep the family going.

While this is necessary in life, it is also important to have a balance in marriage. That means for the husband and wife to take time out for each other. Every relationship needs to be nurtured to be kept alive, especially marriages. I encourage you sister to please insha’Allah try to save your marriage first before giving up. Set up a date night. Yes, a date with your husband. Try to make it a weekly date wherein the two of you go out and get to know each other again. Do something fun, different, challenging you both to rekindle that love you once had. You may also consider seeing if your local Islamic Center has classes for married couples in regards to “Rekindling the Love”.

I know in my area some Masjid’s held seminars and a series of weekly classes for married couples who had “fallen out of love” or were in need of some marriage revival. Marital counseling may help sister as well as each of you making a list of the reasons why you feel in love with each other in the first place. This is often done in marriage counseling classes but can be done independently as well. I highly suggest it, as it often acts as reminders as well as brings couples closer to each other and to solutions to their issues. When we can recall why we loved someone, it is easier to repair a lost love than if we do not know what it is we loved in the first place.

As you have been married and have had 3 children in 12 years, you both have probably been very busy with them, with little time for yourselves. When was the last time you laughed together? Did something silly? Went away for the weekend or even for a night out alone? In rediscovering each other, you may rediscover your love as well. It is worth a try. As you said he is a good man, and you offer no other complaints sister, please do reconsider. Give it a try. You may find the charming best friend you fell in love with and he may find her as well!


Check out this counseling video


If you both are insistent upon divorce I would highly suggest that you do speak with an imam about your status concerning the availability of divorce to you. Divorce is a serious action which Allah does hate but is permissible under certain conditions. As I am not an Islamic Scholar, please do consult one regarding this decision. And please sister, ensure that both you and your husband make ishtakharra prayer regarding divorce. As far as telling your children, I would kindly suggest that both you and your husband sit down with your children at a time where there is no stress. Preferably on a weekend or an evening when they do not have school the next day. I would explain to them that you both love them very much and that while you have respect for each other you have decided to divorce/separate in order to have happier lives.

Please do tell them that they are wonderful children and nothing that they did-or did not do caused this. Explain that the reasons are strictly between both of you and this decision has nothing to dob with them. Insha’Allah, please do have a plan of action to present to them which will include the date of the separation (when one of you leaves the home), how the children will communicate with the absent parent; how often and what days they will see the absent parent; how this may affect things in their future home life; any immediate changes in their home life; as well as how interactions with in-laws will be.

Please do insha’Allah give them time after you have told them to ask questions, express emotions (there may be anger, crying or silence) or respond otherwise. Please do be patient with them an answer their questions honestly and fully.
Divorce is never easy on children, especially if they do not see outward signs of dysfunction such as constant arguing, abuse, etc. Even then it is hard on children but in their minds they often are not as surprised as children who feel secure that their parent’s marriages are intact.

Insha’Allah sister, you and your husband can find it within your hearts to try to renew your love and relationship for both of your sake’s as well as for the children. If not, we wish you the best and you are in our prayers.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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