For a first week of questions you guys really did not waste any time. Of course, when we are experiencing pain, time is of the essence, right!

In thinking about which direction to go in my response, I tried to think about one of the issues brought up that may affect the most people. I just spent some time with family over the Thanksgiving holiday, as I am sure many of you did, which of course is a whole other topic, right? So who is going to give me counsel on that one?

But, here is a point that I know so many people deal with. I am not going to focus on the biblical/theological issues dealing with re-marriage. That is a very lengthy conversation and one that has much disagreement within the Christian church. In fact, if you ask most pastors, they will be hard pressed to put their true beliefs on paper, and many of them will tell you it is not the issue of divorce that is difficult, it is the issue of re-marriage.

But I digress. ūüôā The issue for this response is dealing with the kids from previous marriages. This is extremely difficult whether the kids are young, or if the kids¬†are grown.

I think my primary principle is two-fold. When you choose to re-marry, you have a new husband/wife. The principle in Genesis is that a man should leave his mother and father and the two shall become one flesh. Marriage is a new union of two becoming one. This is why the issue of re-marriage is so difficult, and in my belief another in a very long line of reasons why God intended and designed for one marriage, one husband and one wife. However, even in the issue of the death of a spouse where there is no theological problem related to ‘is it okay to remarry’, the issue of the kids is still very much an issue.

First principle: If God called you into¬†a marriage, then you need to be committed to God first, then to your spouse, then to your family. Now, I know this is very difficult. But, each person did decide to get married, and with that comes ‘opportunities’ to be faithful to God and our commitment. The real issue in many folks situation is that the person we choose to re marry is not submitting themselves to God and therefore¬†they can cause more problems than¬†they should. These are signs that we should look for diligently prior to getting married or re-married.

You will continue to hear me say over and over again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.¬† But, of course God’s forgiveness is for all of us because we all need the greatest ‘Cure’ of all time, Him.¬† So, any husband or wife dealing with a difficult spouse on any issue, pray diligently for them.

In another blog we posted, Mark Driscoll makes the statement to ‘invite’ your spouse, don’t nag your spouse.¬† I suggest mustering the most patient, kind and courageous attitude, after much prayer, and trying to get an honest dialogue going with your spouse about how you really feel.¬† Not emotional, no ‘angry words’ or ‘tones’, but an honest, calm discussion.¬† No ultimatums, no expectations of immediate relief or change, but an honest dialogue that allows room for God to change both you and your spouse’s heart.

Much of the angst that fills our heart and mind on these issues is that “I just wish I could fix it right away,” it is the sense of being out of control.¬† Well, guess what, we are not in control of anyone, other than ourselves, and the only control we have is to submit to God and live one day at a time.

My second principle is your kids are your kids.  It is always a delicate balance and one that takes much time, self-control, brave communication and trust to guide us through this journey.  Again, the issues of dealing with the kids in any situation, re-marriage, grandkids, are very present and real.

The balance from kids becoming their own families and the right level of involvement are things that must be worked out together and over time, and they will change over time.¬† Of course in all of our families, we all have dysfunction.¬† Humans are dysfunctional.¬† Our goal should be each day by God’s grace and power, to be brave and continue our own personal growth and asking the Lord to lead us to make better decisions and leave the results to Him.

So, for all of us and our families, let’s make a start today to: Get quiet and Pray, be brave and¬†to have calm and honest discussions, and leave results to God.¬† Some of you have tried this, others have not, but again, we all have to live with decisions we have made and trust an all loving and powerful God to work first in our lives, and then in our spouse or kids or grandkids.

Most importantly, God is with you.

To view all of the posts on the Conflict Series, click here.