By Linda Thomas of Something Beautiful
Should I Marry a Man with Kids? It’s a question worthy of honest evaluation, godly counsel from others, and much prayer. Because every situation is so unique and your relationship with God is so personal, we do not presume to know the answer to this question. As women dedicated to praying for and encouraging stepmoms, we simply want to offer some thoughts to consider before becoming a stepmom.
The reality of stepfamily life is typically not warm and fuzzy for most of us. We'd like for it to be. We dream that it will be...especially before we get married. As you read through the painful situations on our Facebook page, Stepmoms Doing What Jesus Would Do, it becomes apparent this is not an easy life. As a mom of 5 (3 bio, 2 step), I think about how I would respond if one of my sons or daughters chose to fall in love with someone who has a child or children. I would ask them a few things at the very least: What kind of mom is the bio mom? Is she friendly or hostile? This matters immensely - and even if she's friendly now - that could change at the drop of a hat if she feels you have crossed a line you are not even aware of. What kind of man is your boyfriend or fiancé? Is he a godly spiritual leader? Does he stand up for you and your family as needed? Does he show signs that he will cave to the Mom if she emotionally manipulates or lays a guilt trip on him? That is very common.
One situation in particular that took me by surprise as a new stepmom were HOLIDAYS. I didn't even see that one coming; and it hurt a lot. The Mom will have a say-so in ALL of your holiday plans because she shares a child with your boyfriend or fiancé. Where your stepchildren are on any given day affects the rest of your family and your plans. While you may currently be so in love that you think this will be a non-issue, and you’ll do whatever it takes, the reality sets in when you have to give up your own traditions and family time because of a spouse’s ex. It's less than pleasant. It hurts a great deal. Especially when you have children of your own...and even then you cannot plan your own holidays exactly as you would want them to be. Your children's experiences are also now impacted by a visitation schedule you cannot control; and all the emotions that go with it.
Marriage is very difficult even in a nuclear family. Stepfamily marriage is more difficult than most people could ever imagine. The statistics are there for a reason. My best advice is to be open to WISE counsel; especially if it comes from your parents or a trusted mentor. No one wants the best for you more than they do. Too often, we shrug off advice we don't want to hear because it contradicts our desires. God's word says we would do well to get advice from many godly people. "..let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.." Proverbs 1:5
And most importantly, pray. Seek God’s will. If you are walking in step with the Spirit, you will know whether or not this is what God has planned for you. If it is not, surrender those desires and walk away. God is protecting you and has something else in mind. If it is God’s will, cling to him every step of the way. Trust him in the unbearably painful times; and praise him for the amazing victories that will come, too.
We love you all and are praying for you.