Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Dad, you’re single but not alone.
We asked our social community what new content they would like us to write and got some feedback on single dads’ content. Since the divorce rate usually hovers around 50%, many men not only struggle with divorce but with the aftermath as well. For those men who want to spend time with their kids, it can be a challenging time in life that can impact you for years to come. You have to share time with your children with your ex-wife and maybe a new male figure in their life.
It’s hard enough to parent children when you spend every day with them, but to only parent for four days, a month can seem impossible. The average visitation time for a divorced father is every other weekend and maybe 2-6 weeks during the summer. That is sobering indeed, as it’s almost impossible to parent in all the areas needed in that timeframe.
So what can you do to maximize your effectiveness? Well, it’s complicated at best and will demand flexibility, forgiveness, a big-picture perspective, patience, and much more.
My parents went through a divorce when I was about 11, only to get married again about two years later. They dragged me through hell and back during those years, which was a difficult time for me (the child) at best. So I understand how frustrating this process can be.
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid complaining about your wife to your children.
- Try not to put your kids against your wife. They may hear how bad you are when they are with your ex-wife. They ultimately get caught in the middle.
- Reflecting the character of Jesus to your children is impossible if you’re always angry at your ex-wife.
- Building a relationship with your children is hard if you focus only on your wife when they are with you.
- You can’t buy your children’s affection.
- Don’t argue with your ex-wife in front of your children.
- Don’t move a new love interest into your home too soon.
Things to Embrace:
- Be with your children when they are with you. Speak with them, pray with them, and build memories.
- When you are not with your children, communicate with them by text or email. Let them know you are thinking of them when they are not there.
- Life may have changed for the foreseeable future, and you’ll need to build a life that works for you.
- If you have something to apologize to your children for, do so when they are with you. Discuss the issue and the steps you’re taking to avoid this from happening again.
- Be as involved in your children’s lives as possible as they won’t be this age for long.
- Spend some time in prayer about your situation. Seek God’s will and input into your life.
- Seek out a mentor that may have some input.
This list could be three times as long, but I wanted to at least put us all on the path toward God and recovery. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way through a divorce as it damages all those involved.
The important thing is to seek God in this storm. If you’ve done something you need to repent for…repent. If you need to apologize to your ex-wife, children, family, etc., then do so. Repair what you can and keep God at the center of this process.
Once you have done everything you need to, pray that God gives you wisdom into the next steps in your life.
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