A few days ago on Twitter, a poster asked: What is love? Elon Musk of space travel fame (amongst other things) responded with this shot of his (presumably) adorable child. Like all new parents, I too was taken aback by the strength and uniqueness of the emotion which ties us to our children.
It’s not the passion love that you feel toward a sexual partner. It’s not the bonding devotion love you feel toward your parents. It’s the I care about every detail of your life, every atom of your existence, type of love. The I will be pathetic in support of your interests type of love.
In most cases, there are two people with this magnetizing pull to every child. This they share even when the bond between each other maybe thinning. The couple can go to the school play and revel in their child’s performance while at home they are putting on a show of a happiness between them.
And if the marriage becomes too strained and talk of divorce crops up like thistle in a bean field, then the wisdom dished up is, Stay together for the kids’ sake. The cliché advice is to put the interest of the children (the implication here is that the children receive guidance and support from both mom and dad) first and suck up the tedium that settles in after the first decade of marriage.
But this is all wrong. It’s backwards.
Isn’t the joy and satisfaction of watching a child succeed amplified when done with the one other person who shares that same interest? Aren’t there synergies when additional care and support is needed to bolster that child up when shared between the two people in the world who can be counted on to step in?
Sharing the job of parent is a benefit not just to the child but to the parents. And it’s a relationship that last a lifetime. The logic of love says that parents should stay together for themselves, the group, and not just the children.