"The best thing for a child is for their parents to be happy. That doesn't necessarily mean they should be together."
The preceding quote was taken from a random anonymous commenter from a reddit thread referenced by Rollo in his excellent post Maddonas and Whores. Rollo's analysis and breakdown of competing male and female mating strategies is well done, but I'm taking this one in a much different direction.
This quote "The best thing for a child is for their parents to be happy..." is one of the biggest loads of bullshit ever propagated by our regularly scheduled mass media programming. At it's root, this pervasive meme is based on myopic, narcissistic selfishness, and is steroids for both male and female rationalization hamsters everywhere.
It is one of the most pervasive and destructive memes, and is the single most influential whisper promulgated to effect the widespread destruction of families in order to shape our Brave New World Order's primary cultural paradigm. It is a primary contributor to the manufacturing of a populace weakened, damaged and dysfunctional, making them much easier to manipulate and control. Nothing creates the damaged psyche of easily manipulated and controlled people better than a family broken apart by a bitter, acrimonious divorce while the children involved are at a young age.
The entire rotten, crumbling edifice of what was once a civilized society, can be pinpointed to the promotion of leading people to think that the key to happiness is to focus on satisfying any and all of their selfish desires. In even simpler terms, it is a message influencing people to adopt a mindset focused on taking and receiving, and not giving and sharing. This attitude is especially corrosive in interpersonal relationships, of which marriage used to be one of the closest and strongest bonds ever created between two human beings....but it also applies to friendships and extended familial bonds as well.
This focus on selfishness is the very anti-thesis of true love.
That's because what most people think of as "LOVE" is nothing more than a feeling. Something you "experience." An abstraction. You'll know it when you feel it. And, oh yeah, without love, you cannot be happy.
This is a corruption of what love really is. Love is not an abstract noun...an ephemeral feeling. An experience like an intoxicating drug that is somehow sold to us as THE key to human beings achieving perpetual bliss.
Love is a verb.
You can only receive true love by doing it yourself to people worthy of it...by loving people who will love you back. It cannot be forced, nor can it be something you do expecting it in return. And it doesn't only apply to marriages or "romantic" relationships. True friendships are founded on the exact same principle.
As the good Captain wrote in Enjoying the Decline:
What makes friends arguably the most important people in your life, is that they don’t have to hang out with you. They choose to hang out with you. Unlike the family you were born into, your friends aren’t “honor-bound” by blood or social mores requiring them to spend time with you. They consciously decide to spend some of their finite, precious time with you. That’s not only a great thing, that’s a very humbling thing. Out of everything in the world those people could be doing, out of everybody in the world they could be hanging out with, for whatever reason they consciously and purposely chose you over all those other things. This is why you should not only be incredibly grateful for your friends, but why they should play a pivotal role in your life. Because without friends, your life is quite hollow, which is all the more reason we need to learn how to appreciate them and incorporate them into our lives.
First, realize how unique and personalized your friends are. While you can’t pick your family, you can pick your friends. This effectively makes them your own “personally built family.” It also makes them the most important thing you’ll ever build.
What is true of friendship, is even more true for marriage. You want to "build" a family? Than you have to learn how to love, and to wisely and shrewdly pick someone to love, who will love you back in the same manner. And when you find that person to love, do they express gratitude? This is why some of the most popular advice for both men and women dating potential spouses are to watch how the other person treats waiting staff and service personnel. Carefully seeing how a person treats those "beneath" them when they are not consciously thinking about it will reveal their level of narcissism and lack of capacity to love another person more than they love themselves.
When Betty Friedan and her ilk spread their incredibly corrosive propaganda that a stay at home mother cooking and cleaning for her husband and her kids was a "slave" in a "comfortable concentration camp," she basically brainwashed generations of women that loving their families was slavery. That the key to "happiness" was to "love yourself first." This damnable lie has led millions of people into true slavery...enslavement to materialistic consumerism. That by "loving yourself" you can "have it all."
Want a good example of "true love?" Here it is, found in an old tale, The Gift of the Magi.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it's a tale of a young married couple who are in love but very poor. Both knows what the other really desires - she, a set of ornate, tortoise-shell combs for her long, beautiful hair, and he, a platinum chain fob for his expensive gold watch he had to use an old, worn out leather cord for a fob.
Unbeknown to each other, on the day before Christmas, she cut off her hair and sells it to a wig maker to get the money to buy the chain fob, while he goes and sells his watch to buy her the combs for her long, beautiful hair.
It's a tale of true love...love the VERB. A husband and a wife loving each other.
The best thing for a child -- or children -- is to have a Father and Mother who love each other. If they're fighting incessantly and constantly, and talking about divorce because it would be better for the kids to have two separated, but "happy" parents...chances are one or both of them are unhappy because they are not loving the other, but focused on "loving" themselves.
Remember JFK's most famous quote? "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
JFK was talking about love. Loving your country. It's the exact same thing in a marriage, or a friendship or any other relationship based on mutual love.
Ask not what your family can do for you, ask what you can do for your family.
THAT is the best thing you can do for the children...not getting a divorce and destroying your child's family because you're