What If My Child Is In Danger?

Mar
2011
20

posted by on Divorce Encouragement

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Lori wrote to us in response to our previous blog. I wanted to share her thoughts to help us gain a better perspective on the real-life issues of raising children in a post-divorce household…
Jeff, before my divorce I would have been a very strong proponent of the idea that “every child needs both parents”, but every child needs loving, non-abusive parents. I was forced to obtain a legal protection order to protect myself from an abusive former spouse and also to protect my child from his abusive co-parent. I think, as Christians, we just need to be honest regarding whether our child is really in danger from their other parent.
I agree that we can’t afford to be simply vindictive, but we also can’t afford to close our eyes to true threats to the safety of our families.
At this season of my life, my heart just breaks when I think of my former spouse. I love him still, I hate him still.  Sometimes I don’t think I will ever get over him. And I think, if I believed that he were capable of really getting what he did wrong in our relationship and he could really be different this time, I would go back to him.

That is terrifying to me. But he doesn’t get it, he really believes that I ruined his life. Right now I don’t believe there is a future love for me. My heart still belongs to him in such a profound way. Despite the “divorce” ring I wear on the middle finger of my right hand(!), I still feel married (at least I think I do). I’m so totally not available. I’m being effortlessly faithful, like a wife would be, when there is no thought of anything or anyone else. I do love that ring, however….

Lori, thanks for your comment. There is so much in your letter that I wanted to respond to it in this forum rather than somewhere else… Obviously, the safety of your family is paramount, and you have a legal and enforceable document that dictates how and when your former spouse may or may not interact with you and your child… If your former spouse has been deemed to be a person who simply cannot interact constructively with your child, then you are free and obligated to use outside authority as necessary to enforce that document. Judging from the tone of your comment, it doesn’t appear that your will to enforce your document to the letter of the law, is much of a problem, but enforcing the rights of the document was really the point…

Most divorce cases are not like yours, and so many times we see a continually belligerent spouse wearing down the will, over time, of a non-custodial parent to exercise his or her rights to interact with his or her child… And not only is that not fair; it is simply not Biblical for a person to relinquish his or her calling to be a constructive, contributing parent simply because the custodial parent has made it so difficult for him or her to do it. So, if a person must use external authority to bring about compliance in these matters, I don’t believe he or she should be intimidated spiritually or otherwise in doing that… So, I just felt it was necessary to interject some new words of encouragement and spiritual boldness into the picture both in the textbook and in the blog…

Your feelings toward your former spouse are probably pretty normal for someone who has come out of a situation like yours… Obviously you were married to an emotionally damaged and broken individual… We know this; because emotionally and relationally healthy people don’t hit the ones they are married to; or the parent of… It really is that simple…

Only you know the reasons you married this person; and only you know if you saw the red flags of this man’s angry, emotional behavior before you married him… If you didn’t see it, that might be an indication that you became “too close, too soon”… Possibly you were blinded by your need to have someone; or you were overcome by the physical or sexual nature of your pre-marriage relationship and it just became a “Runaway freight train to Bad Marriageville and Divorce City”…

Regardless of the circumstances of your meeting and pre-marriage relationship with this man, I hope you know I am totally not judging you at all… The relationship circumstances I described are pretty normal, and I met and married a relationally broken individual as well in my past… But I hope we’ve learned we cannot continue to do relationships that way in the future…

I totally believe you can have a future relationship with a healthy person someday, if you want to. But I share your belief that you don’t really have a relationship future with your former spouse. Even in the unlikely event that real and cathartic change might occur in both of your lives in the near future; usually when so much has been said and done to one another it’s probably best to just, “let sleeping dogs lie”, so to speak…

But you did not emotionally break your former spouse and you are not, nor were you ever responsible for fixing him, and he was never responsible for fixing you… Even though you might have taken that job in each other’s lives; that doesn’t mean the job was doable; or the task was correctly given to either of you… We are all God’s project to fix, and just because we might take on another person as our own “Personal project”, doesn’t mean we will ever successfully accomplish that project, because it just isn’t our job in the first place…

In most cases, the people we’ve gotten into relationships with didn’t get into those relationships purposely to deceive us and to fail in those relationships. In most cases, a destructive person is just too self-willed to stop his or her destructive behavior.  In most cases, a recalcitrant person truly knows when his or her behavior is crossing a “Line of no return” in damaging a relationship beyond repair, and he or she will often do the deal-breaking deed anyway, and he or she will often refuse to repent and/or change the deal-breaking behavior.

We shouldn’t be so surprised at this, because this is the nature of rebellion and self-will. But we must realize that neither of us purposed at the beginning of our relationship(s) to waste our lives and cause this long-term trauma, and we must also recognize that the hurt and scar tissue that our broken relationship has produced, lingers in their heart as well… That’s why, in the Book of Malachi, God says; “I hate divorce”. Because everyone involved in it gets such a mud bath every time it happens…

So if you are angry, hurting and confused right now, that’s pretty normal… Over the course of time, you will begin to get your emotional availability back… You will probably be inclined to remove your divorce ring, or possibly move it to another finger on your hand  ;o} … And you might desire to have another relationship someday, but you must never get yourself into another relationship that is founded upon the same brokenness and lack of time or discipline that possibly characterized your last one(s)… You simply cannot afford the waste of your life…

Well, those are my comments… I hope you’ll respond with yours.

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