Updated: Nov 26, 2018
This relationship is a hard, if not the hardest, to acknowledge and build. Google search either title and you have an array of harsh, passive aggressive quotes, negative images, and critical memes. Nothing nice, that’s for sure.
First, let me admit that my husband’s ex wife and I did not start out on good terms. Who does? I can honestly say I was guilty of doing the exact opposite of what I’m about to share. SO, by no means is this post to make myself look better but rather ‘a do as I’ve learned, not as I’ve done.’ I’m not perfect but I’ve progressed and while we will still have our differences at times, we’re better together.
In the beginning, we were all downright manipulative and hateful. After several exhausting months there was a realization; this type of communication, or lack there of, wasn’t just hurting our kids, it was hurting us too. We were beat down, physically and emotionally. For me, it was keeping me from being the best parent to our kids. For all of us, really.
The complexity runs deep. My husband and his ex had to establish a co-parenting relationship. Even so, I consistently felt tension and unresolved conflict between us. She didn’t sign up for a relationship with me and while I could certainly understand, it stung, deep. She wanted to parent her children with their father and with him only. This felt like a slap in the face and COMPLETELY unfair. I’m bathing them, feeding them, getting them dressed, making sure homework is done, and thought, “what right did she have to exclude me in any decision making?” Well, truth be told, she had every right honestly.
Here’s the thing, while you and your husband should discuss co-parenting together, it’s ultimately up to them, not you. This wasn’t an easy realization for me. So much of my own struggle in our dynamic was trying to figure out where I belonged. Here I am, a new wife with two kids I’m suppose to love and care for as my own but without a voice to speak (and was told to stay quiet on many occasions.) I never wanted to force the relationship between me and the kids but found myself trying to force a relationship with their Mom. Why?
Truth is, my priority wasn’t where it should have been. I harbored anger and dwelled on circumstances between their Mother and I that never even mattered. In return, I abandoned what did; my relationship with God. God and then my husband. My husband and then my stepchildren. For the stepchildren, the relationship with their Mother.
It wasn’t until my priorities shifted that I started to feel my heart changing. Instead of focusing on what is wrong in my relationship with their Mom, I’ve focused on who God is in ours. She too is His child and because of this I am able to consider her side.
These are truths and truths to walk in. Let them lead you to a new place of healing.
She’s their mom...
- No matter what your co-parenting relationship looks like, respect her.
- Stay away from those that want to talk negative and side against her. There are no sides.
- Protect your stepchildren from hearing any negative comments about her. Guard your mouth.
- You are not competing against her. Our issues with each other are really within ourselves.
- Support your husband in co-parenting with his ex, don’t try to sabotage it.
- Encourage your husband to co-parent with his ex-wife and don’t be the source of communication between the two regarding the kids.
- If you feel like you need to assert yourself in any way, your intentions are in the wrong place.
Listen, no one marries and plans for divorce. It is not part of the original design for marriage and it’s a place that holds hurt but I’ve learned this; the least we can do is offer compassion and understanding whether you think that other person is deserving or not.
For me, the change happened when I focused on what matters. God, marriage, children. This is it, there’s no focus on the ex’s. Prioritize and let Him handle the rest