“You’re not my real dad.”
Okay, maybe those weren’t the actual words a 12-year-old Jesus spoke after he’d left Mary and Joseph for three days without their knowing where He’d gone. But, it was kind of the same sting after his mother said in Luke 2:48-49:
“Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Jesus replied, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
What would Joseph do as he stood there gazing upon the boy he’d raised and loved as his very own since birth?
Equally important what would or have you done in that same situation? As his biological parent, would you have agreed or scolded Him?
As His step parent, would you have reacted to the cutting dismissal?
Real Life WWJD
As a man, a father and a stepfather, I can relate to Joseph in this moment. How is the role of being a stepfather addressed in the Bible? Just what role do step-fathers play in the lives of a blended family’s children?
Consider this for a moment. Jesus the Lord and Savior of the world was raised by Joseph, His stepfather. I never really thought about it in that context, but after marrying into a family of four new kids, I sought out direction to best prepare for my new role.
Doing The Right Thing
The interaction between a young Jesus and his parents, Mary and Joseph in the second chapter of Luke, says plenty about Joseph and his character as a stepfather and a parent to a young boy.
Like many men, he could’ve easily snapped back by asserting his earthly authority as an adult. Instead, he understood and encouraged the relationship Jesus sought with His real Father. It didn’t diminish Joseph’s role, it strengthened it.
Guys don’t handle emotional assaults or ego jabs very well. Even the slightest slight can come across like a major attack on your manhood.
Many relationships fail fast because the man of the house can’t, or won’t invest the time and effort to mesh with the children.
I’ve heard it, and I pray I never feel or say it, but “I don’t need this junk. I’m not going to be talked to like that by a child,” is an all too popular battle cry for retreat and eventual failure. It’s usually countered by the mother’s natural defense of her child.
And just like that, the battle lines have been drawn.
Without blending your family on biblical principles, each spouse stands a greater chance of fading further from that line in the sand. Gradually, neither will be willing or able to meet in the middle.
Men, this is for you. Moms, this is for you to share with your husband:
– You accepted her AND her kids.
– Her kids are not your competition. They are your responsibility.
– Believe it or not, you and her kids are vying for the same things from her – love, time and attention.
– Her kids have already been through enough. Either add value to the family unit, or don’t ask her to marry you.
– Part 2 of number 4 – If you’re already married, and have hard feelings toward kid(s), pray for God to change your heart.
– They need a Christian male role model, not a job-site foreman.
– No matter their ages, they are your beloved wife’s children. Give them that respect.
– You are the adult – always hold yourself in that humble esteem.
– You are not in competition with their biological dad. Encourage a healthy relationship with him. They will respect you.
– Always consider the way you as a child would want or how you want your own child treated.
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Have you found yourself in these situations of being dismissed or disrespected by your spouse’s kids? How did you handle it? Would you handle it any differently?
I recently read an article about two well-known sports figures who thought they’d dismiss their current spouses and live happily ever after. Cris Evert and Greg Normangave matrimony a try at the expense of their own families. It failed 15 months later.
Their children’s disdain for their new parent was one of the many causes of their high-profile divorce. Like it or not, children can become powerful equity brokers in their parent’s remarriage and divorce.
Approach it the biblical way, and experience the joy of God’s second chance.
I Am 2nd,