30 Days to A Better Stepfamily – Day 5
I do not have a PhD in physiology, though there have been so many times that I wished I could download such a degree for immediate use. But even a PhD in physiology does not have all of the answers we need to deal with a Stepfamily.
Like it or not, an Ex is a part of my family and probably yours as well. Here is the long and short of it all. You cannot control the behavior of anyone except yourself. And isn’t that hard enough? I know it is for me!
I am an Ex-wife, I have to engage with Doc’s Ex-wife, and I have to engage with my Ex-husband’s wife. When there is an Ex in the mix of family, there are usually issues that must be dealt with in your home.
Here is truth about my life and working with Ex’s, I have had to grow up more, dealing with a stepfamily, than with any situation I have ever encounter before in my life. It requires maturity that I simply do not have. It requires wisdom that I do not have to cope with the many and varied issues that exist in stepfamilies. It has taken someone much smarter than me to make this stepfamily functional. It takes prayer, it takes God; and it takes mental, emotional and physical discipline!
Mental discipline requires that I have a positive thought regarding others. I have to find positive things to say and think about the children and former spouse. If you can only make one change to yourself, then choose to change your thoughts. I promise you, this step alone will make a huge difference. Tell the former spouse something positive next time you are around her. Compliment her clothes, hair or maybe something you liked in her interaction with the children. Your comment must be real, and genuine. You may have to look hard, but do it! It is important that you give the compliment with no expectations. Do not look for her to be nicer, or to like you, or to be more cooperative. This is about you being an obedient child of God.
Emotional discipline is my greatest challenge of the three disciplines. It is so much easier to believe the bad about people than it is the good, isn’t it? And when we believe the bad, we respond with the corresponding emotion. That is why I said to watch your thoughts toward others because they can trigger unhealthy emotions. My emotions can be just under the top layer of my skin; and, one emotional bump and I am having an emotional nosebleed all over my husband.
Ladies, this kind of emotional outburst is not attractive to your man!
Allow your actions of love to be what others see and not an emotional nosebleed. Grab you thoughts captive, find a positive thought, keep your mouth closed, and reign in your emotions. Yes, this is easier typed than done.
Physical discipline is just as important as the previous two disciplines. Keep yourself in the best physical shape that you can. I’m not talking about getting in shape for a marathon, unless you are into that, but take walks, lift weights, and add a few pushups. If you are feeling confident in your appearance, it is easier to let go of self-conscious thoughts when you are interacting with the former spouse. Increasing your endurance with exercise is also beneficial in keeping up with the children, wisdom with the former spouse, better ability to sleep, and sexual energy for when you have time with you husband.
All of these disciplines need to begin with prayer. Prayer for the children, prayer for the former spouse, prayer for unity and peace in the family and pray for the former spouse’s finances to flourish, and for her to have good friends. Sister, you cannot accomplish this without help; and the only one who is able to help is our Father.
Ask our Father to strengthen you in all areas, because like it or not you are on the mission field, and it is part of you job to help feed and pray for God’s flock that He has placed in your care. This includes the former spouse.