Stay Married for the Kids the Right Way
The wrong way to stay married for the kids.
Sleep in separate rooms, keep separate schedules, date other people, stay angry at each other, refer to each other around the kids as "your mother" and "your father."
This is not staying married. It's just staying. You and your kids deserve better. But divorce is not the only alternative.
The right way to stay married for the kids.
Look daily for things to appreciate about the kids' other parent. Show enormous respect for the person who means so much to them. Say please and thank you and you're the best to your kids' mother or father. Keep trying until you find things you can all do as a family and really enjoy them. Hug and touch each other. Ignore cutting remarks as you would if they came from Great Aunt Betty whose dementia is worsening.
Tolerate no abuse. Involve other adults, not your kids, in protecting you and the kids and creating the motivation for stopping the abuse or its cause.
Stand together on boundaries and rules for the kids, even if it means you must sometimes defend one you could live without. Use every trick in the book to resolve your differences (e.g., The Floor from Fighting for Your Marriage and PREP, massage to release oxytocin, Third Alternatives, observing The Dance of Anger and leading into a calming dance step, taking an immediate break when there's a harsh startup, flooding, or stonewalling per John Gottman's research).
And never, ever, ever play the Isn't My Spouse Awful game with your kids.