On another occasion I watched a mother leave her son who was ravaged by cancer. She had birthed him, raised him for years, given him a mother’s love. However, when "Prince Charming” came into her life, she no longer felt any obligation to be there for her son as he struggled to live. “He has plenty of people to care about him. I need to do what I need to do for myself,” she stated with little evidence of emotion. She had once been very religious, so I asked her what God thought of her abandoning the helpless child to the care of her husband while she started a life anew with someone else. “God loves me. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to do this.”

These are heartwrenching examples, and certainly, many parents do agonize over their children's needs in the face of separation. But the lure of perceived happiness "out there" can quickly override those concerns - or even blind a parent completely.

What do children pray for?

Back in 1998, my wife and I saw the Sandra Bullock movie, Hope Floats.

I hope never to see it again.

Nothing against Sandra or the other actors; rather it was the scene where the daughter followed her father to his vehicle pleading, sobbing, and begging him not to leave. I remember reading at the time that the young actress became so distraught in the scene that Sandra impulsively came to the girl’s emotional rescue. The girl threw herself into Bullock’s arms continuing to sob in deep distress. It was the most emotionally devastated I have ever been at a movie. All I wanted to do was help that girl.

Of course, it was only a movie. Just acting, though at quite a cost. But it’s real in so many ways. Tonight, there will be thousands of children praying alone in their bedrooms, begging God to stop Dad or Mom from fighting. Pleading with Him to lead their parents back into love. Fearing the apparently inevitable divorce that will split their family apart.

Over one million divorces will take place in the USA this year and the majority of those involve families with children. Many look for excuses to make them feel okay about not working out the marriage for the sake of the children. This approach helps them deal with the emotions, but it doesn’t help the children. It doesn’t help their faith. It doesn’t keep them from worrying that somehow they are being abandoned by a parent that they thought would live in the same house with them and love them forever.

It is worth saving a marriage for the children.

No child has asked to be born. We bring them into existence. They don’t owe us. We owe them. If we have the capability of reproducing, shouldn’t we have the capability of responsibility? Parents need to work hard to not only save their marriages, but make their marriage good.

Impossible?

Absolutely not. Since 1999 I’ve personally witnessed “impossible” marriages saved. Not only saved, but husband and wife learning to be in love with each other again.

The only problems I believe are not solvable are those that involve continuing violence or abuse. No one should stay in a violent situation. As Kelley was quoted above, children in those environments actually feel relief when divorce comes. Nearly everything else is fixable. It takes two elements:

1. Each spouse has to stop doing the things destroying the marriage.

2. Each spouse has to start doing the things to make love grow.

This process will look different for each couple, but if both commit to it, there is hope for you, your spouse, and your children.

Joe Beam founded LovePath International, an organization that provides marriage help to hurting couples. Follow him on Facebook. To learn more about saving your marriage, get more information on my intensive weekend workshop that saves marriages in crisis.