Key Elements of Parenting Marriage
Some couples headed for divorce may look at the idea of Parenting Marriage and think it’s crazy. However, as each relationship is unique, some couples are comfortable renegotiating the terms of their marriage if they feel they can continue to co-parent. The following are the key elements in order for a Parenting Marriage to work:
- Agreement that the marriage, as it once was, is now over. The acceptance by both spouses that the love-based relationship they once shared no longer applies is a crucial first step towards transitioning to Parenting Marriage.
- Focusing on the kids as the primary purpose for the marriage. Both spouses must agree that being good co-parents and raising their children in a stable environment is the number one reason for their marriage now.
- Communicating about the changing marriage to the children. Parents need to talk to their kids openly, honestly, and in an age-appropriate way about the changes taking place. Some couples may need to take a temporary break and live apart, while others may feel more comfortable transitioning into Parenting Marriage right away.
- Agreement on the terms of the new marriage. Both spouses must agree on the new terms of their relationship, including sleeping arrangements, a schedule of time with the kids, and finances. There must also be consensus that free time may be used as each person chooses and any new relationships must be handled in a consistent and sensitive matter (i.e. – no one can be introduced to the children without permission).
For couples who are willing to stay together solely for their children and can renegotiate the terms of their marriage in a respectful and honest way, Parenting Marriage may be an option before turning to divorce.