Dear Dr. Laura,
Your radio show was carried locally in the late 1990s until, I think, the early 2000s. This was the time when I was realizing my marriage was "too destructive and difficult," as you've put it. I thought it all through for years, and tried to work things out with my former husband, but he was not willing and able to do this. After twenty years of marriage, we separated, and after two and a half years of living apart, the divorce became final.
I could write many pages about the marriage and also about what your input meant to me. You helped me to make the most of a bad situation in several ways. As you can imagine from your own values and life experiences, it was not easy for me to separate even when I became convinced it was necessary. I had been raised on "til death do us part," and I took that commitment to my husband and to God very seriously. I was also raised in a very observant Christian home, one where we were taught about God and values in depth, BUT one in which my mother had/has a personality disorder, and was/is an emotionally cruel and dysfunctional woman most of my life.
Your input allowed me to think of some creative ways of making the separation happen, so my husband and the five children and I could continue to function well as a family in as many ways as we could manage. Both sides of extended family have rejected me for initiating the separation despite my original intent to reconcile. I have been slandered and mistreated by my mom and some of my six sibs these nine years.
Nevertheless, based on your suggesting that a separation/divorce allow the kids to see both parents every day, I moved out to an apartment three blocks from the family home. (Couldn't convince the ex to be the one to leave, visit daily, and work on reconciling :-( ) Even the kids who didn't drive could see us both easily. I did indeed see the kids every day for several years, and in fact, six years after the divorce became final, I still see my sons ages 16 to 26 between two and five evenings a week. I visit the home where they live with their dad, make dinner, help with errands and the like, and share some family time. Living close by and continuing with such frequent contact has made for as easy a transition for the kids as I have ever seen or heard about in a divorcing family.
Your support of those of us who want a meaningful and Godly personal and family life is also valuable to me. I live in central NY State, and I do not find much respect for this among my peers (middle-aged professionals). Living fairly simply as to money and material things, and having a stay at home parent if at all possible during the children's young years I don't regret at all having grown up that way and having raised our kids that way. It is so peaceful and rewarding, and I feel sorry for those around me with more material riches but so little wealth of character.
God bless, thank you, and keep up the good work!