To the Spouse who Happens to not be the Parent,
Please tell me you understand.
For starters, it was an overwhelming day.
You see, I had 2 interviews for a position I was eager to fill, a workshop I had facilitated, and only half an hour between all 3 of these tasks. Did I mention that I was working from home and trying to ward off my dog’s barking that kept going off every two seconds because of her spidey senses!
Ugh . . . by lunch, I was done!
By the time I looked up, it was 3 o’clock.
Hubby was going to be home anytime now. I dropped what I was doing and headed straight for the kitchen to start cooking. I made two different meals; one for myself and the other for my husband and stepson. After making a tuna casserole on the side of some jerk chicken- topped by a salad of course; I quickly curled up on the couch to finish off my daily bible study.
I looked up from my bible, and there she was whining and glaring into my eyes. Zena, my dog, had to go out again. Can a lady catch a break?
I texted my stepson to ask him to take her out…no answer.
Just shy of an hour later, I go upstairs to his room and there he was laying in the bed at 6 pm sleeping. That meant I would have to be the one to take her out, again, for the fifth time that day!
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs!
I’m sure you can imagine just how furious I was when hubby got home. I unloaded like it was his business!
I targeted his parenting, his son’s character, and elaborated on how unfair it was that I had to take out the dog continuously throughout the day while working. Meanwhile, his son stayed in bed literally all day!
Whew! When I was finished venting, I felt good…
But I quickly realized, I started something that I wished I had not.
It was a horrible decision.
Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. —James 1:19
That scripture reigned in my spirit as I cried to myself (and God) in the shower.
Monique, what happened to not just hearing the Word but actually doing the Word?
I definitely missed the mark that day. Truth is, I was overwhelmed by the busyness of my schedule, not by my stepson’s inactions. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why this was such a poor, impulsive decision was because I robbed myself of an opportunity to discuss what was really bothering me.
Instead of addressing the problem, I chose to target the one I love.
Shame on me.
I felt horrible, just horrible. The best thing I could do was to apologize quickly. And that, I had done.
Partnering with someone who is already a parent can be quite strenuous on a marriage. My husband and I have worked quite hard to build a happy home, but at times, it still gets the best of us. Our parenting styles are completely different and our upbringings are from two different worlds. For a couple who rarely argues, hands down, when we do, it’s about the kids.
I learned that day, it is never ok to target your spouse’s children. And in the heat of the moment, I know first hand, sometimes that line can become blurred.
It’s better to remain silent than to lash out in anger. Nobody wins and everybody gets hurt.
Sometimes differences in expectations and in parenting styles can get in the way of us demonstrating the love of God. But God’s love is best proven when times are tough, not when life is easy.
I love my husband and I love my stepchildren. But I love being quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger even more.
Obedience to the Word is King!
If you can identify with this struggle, I want to encourage you to go back to the source of your feelings. Don’t be like me who used people as a moving target. Instead, allow God’s love to speak through your hurt, your pain, and your frustration.
This isn’t easy, but it is possible.
Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to see God’s blessing as a burden. They’re a gift. Your stepchildren are a gift from God.