Live, Love, Blend:
Help Children in Broken Families
The title of this post is also the title of the short video below, a video that is very hard for me to watch. The boy you’ll see sharing his pain is my son.
When a producer from Marriage Today contacted me to see if I knew any teens who would be willing to talk about their parents divorce on camera my son immediately came to mind. He’s comfortable on camera, well-spoken, and has very strong feelings about the people and choices that have impacted his life.
“If your kids are young it might be the defining moment in their lives”
What I didn’t realize is how hard it would be for me to hear him share those feelings, those hurts. As most mothers who’ve divorced the father of their children can relate, the guilt never fully goes away. No matter who or what brought the marriage to an end, watching a video like this you can’t help but ask yourself if it was your own selfishness that caused such intense pain for your child.
“I always thought my parents would stay together forever”
That was the point of the video. Pastor Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today used it in his XO Marriage Conference as a tool to remind couples of the importance of a ministry dedicated to saving marriages, as well as the importance of strengthening their own relationships. I hope the willingness of these kids to share their experiences helped make an impact.
But what about families like ours, the blended families. Has the damage already been done? How do we help our children heal? I mean, in the video Jimmy Evans says, “the scars of their childhood last into adulthood”. We know that, don’t we? Our own scars probably played a role in the failings of our previous marriages. Does that mean we just resign ourselves to the fact that our children will carry their pain into their future relationships too? Heck no!
I refuse to believe that our children are forever broken. For one thing, while my son expressed some intense personal struggles in the video, I am happy to say he is on the other side of those now. He is thriving in many areas of his life and has improved relationships with the adults he once fought so hard to build walls against.
Here are the keys, I believe, to helping our children repair the damage of divorce….
- Pray for them. God not only heals but can actually create beauty from the ashes.
- Love them unconditionally and show it daily.
- Strengthen your current marriage. Your children are still learning from your example. Start today and be intentional about demonstrating to them what a healthy marriage looks like. If you don’t know what a healthy marriage looks like, start learning. Marriage Today has a whole series of teachings called Blending Families (which I consulted on to create). That might be a good place to start.
- Get counseling. Find a good counselor to help your children work through their feelings. If you can, find one for yourself and a couples counselor for you and your spouse as well. I know it sounds like a lot but you cannot go wrong when you invest your resources in your family.
Basically, the grass is greener where you water it. Other people’s kids aren’t any better than yours. Other people’s marriages aren’t without strife. Don’t compare. Focus on paving the way to a brighter tomorrow. How do you really help children in Broken Families? Don’t be one.