Single-parenthood is tough. It goes against the very foundation of God’s desire for family, and assuming the parent’s single status is a result of divorce, it also flies in the face of God’s creation of marriage.
Thankfully, God is a God of forgiveness and second chances. He created man and woman to be together. Looking at the first chapters of Genesis, God makes it very clear that He did not want man to be alone. He created woman.
While divorce is an unfortunate fact of life, adults usually seem more resilient than they initially thought while suffering through the loss process of a civil proceeding.
Matrimonial resilience is shown in the example of remarriage data. Out of all adults married in 2013, 42 million had already been married at least once before. Or, 4 out of every 10 marriages involved a remarriage.
Those are lots of re-tries. Tragically, over 63% of those remarriages will end in another divorce. One of the biggest reasons is often the least considered–children.
Let’s put our pitter pattering hearts aside and take an honest look at what our kids go through during the loss process. Somewhere along the path, the adage about kids getting over it, or divorce not having a residual detriment is wrong.
While children may find levels of relief from the stress and fighting between their parents, the reality of divorce is that everybody suffers. Manifestation may be immediate or delayed, but there will be a processing over the loss of a relationship and family unit.
As adults, we enter into new relationships with optimism. We assume that positive expectation is also embraced by the child. That isn’t always the case. While a remarriage may provide security and stability for the single parent, it still represents a sum total loss for the child.
A few important things to remember are:
- You and the new love interest must consider all of the children despite their ages or attitudes.
- The relationship-building process must include the entire family. Too often adults carve out a fantasy experience that facilitates deep emotional connection without consideration for the reality of family.
- And, adults must be considerate of the time required for each individual child to accept the new relationship scenario. All because you fell in love at first sight, doesn’t mean your kid will.
I was reading Exodus, and I thought about how our children’s attitudes toward remarriage resemble those of the Israelites once led from captivity out of Egypt. No matter how bad the circumstances were that led to the divorce, or how good the new marriage scenario is, children want to go back.
The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the LORD’S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Within a stable single-parent household, most kids naturally want their two-parent environment. Who wouldn’t, marriage was created by God. Within a positive remarriage setting, most kids want the “golden” days of when it was just you and them. Who wouldn’t, they got total attention.
The reality of this is, you and your new spouse must remain as persistent and patient as Moses. He placed God first even as his people beckoned him, and began to turn away. Moses never abandoned his pursuit of God. Even when God considered dispatching the lot of them, Moses advocated for them as we must lead, mentor and protect our own.
Moses had been “shown” the promise land. He possessed an understanding that the others didn’t. Our kids are the same way. They only suffer for the here and now. They can’t see the other side because most don’t have the life experience or maturity to understand that there can be better days.
Equally important was that although Moses would not enter into this promised land, he never bailed on his responsibility to the children of God. He persevered and his legacy remains revered.
We too must cling to God. Even before the new love interest or the pleading children. It’s a Christian example of priority setting that sustains you and stabilizes them.
Additionally, kids require our patience and perseverance no matter how many golden calves they construct or times they blame us for ruining the “better” lives they had under pharaoh’s rule. Moses could’ve allowed his human hurt to bring them right back into bondage and said, “I told you so,” but he loved them and honored God’s commands for leading them despite their disobedience.
We too must not allow powerful emotions like guilt over divorce to drive our parenting decisions. We cannot allow our failure through divorce to curse our child’s future marriage.
Divorce establishes a cycle of divorce for your children once they enter adulthood. Numbers 14:18 talks about the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations. Without the merciful forgiveness of Jesus Christ, our children remain at a higher risk of divorce than children whose parents never divorced.
Moses was a redeemed sinner who led God’s children to the promised land. Your redemption from the sin of divorce makes a new God-focused marriage possible. This example of a Christ-centered remarriage can break the legacy of failure for your adult/married children.
Renewing of the sanctity of marriage will build a legacy of leading your children to the promised land of a God-honored marriage of their very own. They won’t turn back if you don’t. Sorry, pharaoh – we’re not coming back!
God bless you,