Divorced parents dating again
It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their OKCupid profiles: “My kids come first,” or “My daughter is the center of my world! You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four. Plus, if you’ve gone through divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security. But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.You also want women to know you’re a devoted dad (it’s no secret chicks get hot for guys who are great with kids! It’s no surprise that so many blended families I know struggle with adjusting all parties to a home where everyone is suddenly expected to revolve around the new relationship. One dad I went out with nearly boasted when telling me about a four-month relationship that went sour because his girlfriend did not understand why he’d abruptly leave in the middle of dinner because his tween son would call, upset about some matter with his hockey coach.There is always violence in divorce — a scary, violent, destructive storm within and all around the family. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
A child is an irreducible unit — a singularity cannot be separated from itself. What the parents experience relationally, the child experiences internally. Depression, anxiety, addiction, anger, compulsions, and distractions are all possible effects of being torn, and very often we are not even aware that these things might be related to the “accident.” Scripture uses many different metaphors to speak ethically, but theologians have used at least two terms that are relevant here: the “forensic” and the “renovative.” The “forensic” is legal. In order to heal, we need to be able to distinguish between our brokennesses. But, unfortunately and tragically, it still breaks you.
I certainly didn’t think that God had anything to say, or even cared, about the mangled, overturned vehicle in our living room. This isn’t meant to judge divorced parents, or to deter parents from getting divorced for legitimate reasons (abuse or adultery).
I’m sometimes still tempted to think that way today. The point is to see how, as children of divorce, Jesus Christ is a light in dark places, a hope for the broken, confused, and lonely.
We will piece together some themes from Scripture to explain how God understands and relates to children of divorce, in ten points.
Paul explains, “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Godly offspring.” In the Hebrew, “A child of God.” What does the child experience?