Josh hasn’t spoken to his dad in 3 years. Sarah refuses to come to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Divorced families? Nope. Everyday run-of-the-mill families.
One of the problems adults with divorced parents have is the trap of thinking “normal” means “perfect.” When raised with the image of a family that often looks more like a face in a carnival’s fun-house mirror, it’s easy to believe the myth that intact families are problem free.
Granted, parental divorce can add layers of complications and chaos that can make normal look like a dot on the horizon. For example, those from intact families don’t have to decide which parent they “love” and which they “hate” based on who gets them during the prime Thanksgiving hours versus Thanksgiving morning or the day after. However intact families are not problemless. Most are just problem-less.
When we start to dream of the normal (perfect) family we need to ask:
- Do intact families have disagreements and tensions?
- Do intact families have siblings that don’t get along?
- Do parents in intact families ever fight and sulk?
The answer is “Yes.” Behind their Sunday smiles is the true reality show. Consequently, we must not shoot for a “normal” that doesn’t exist. But what do we aim for?
- First, we must pursue wholeness in our self. Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourselves.”1 Many adult children of divorce don’t love themselves in a healthy biblical way. We’re bound by fears, anger, father hunger, and anxieties that must be dealt with. Click here for resources that can help. Click here for audios and videos on the impact of parental divorce.
- Second, many of us need to learn how to have a healthy marriage. Fortunately, strong marriage-building programs are out there. Love and Respect and Family Life’s “I still do,” “Weekend to Remember,” and “The Art of Marriage” seminars are just a couple of the strong marriage tools that are available.
- Third, many of us need to learn how to raise children in a healthy way. There are a wealth of resources at Focus on the Family for moms, dads, stepmoms, and stepdads.
- Lastly, prior to Jesus talking about loving ourselves and neighbors, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”2
Being committed to and spending time with God in prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with other believers builds and strengthens our relationship with God and the foundation for the biblical wholeness.
Will these steps guarantee a perfect family? Nope. Not even a normal one. But it will foster a loving relationship between a husband and wife who can provide a divorce-free (or second divorce-free) home for their kids.
1Matthew 22:39, NIV
2Matthew 22:38, ESV
Families by bass nroll
Family Feet by Jeff Golden
Bible with Cross by David Campbell