…an ex- who doesn’t communicate?
…an ex- who doesn’t share your morals?
…a controlling abuser?
You don’t. You can’t.
I have a friend whose ex-husband feels compelled to text her with the ways she’s making their children’s lives miserable. I have another friend whose ex-wife doesn’t do what she’s supposed to do in their parenting agreement on a regular basis. She doesn’t pay her share of co-pays and kids’ activities, she drops the kids off early and cancels and doesn’t do her part of driving them even when it’s her parenting time.
Again, I proclaim that divorce day does not end all the problems. Co-parenting with someone that you do not get along with can be one of the most maddening situations that follows divorce.
I was recently struggling with an issue of my own, and all the ways I wanted to (immaturely) handle it, and I had this one thought:
We can’t change our exes.
So, instead of giving you a list of tips on how to deal with specific situations, like when your child gets blown off at the last minute (horrible) or when the check doesn’t come in (awful) or when you get a super-long and inappropriate text from someone you are not married to anymore (sad), I’ve just got one thought for you (and me) today and it’s this:
We are responsible only for ourselves. We need only keep our side of the street clean. We need only be the best parent we can be.
Is it a shame that our children are getting the shaft in the parents’ department? Yes, of course. (And I put us in that category because post-divorce, we’re struggling too.)
But, really, is there anything you can say or do that will magically make your ex-spouse stop doing what he is doing or start doing what she should be doing? No.
So in that moment of absolute frustration and yet another disappointment, we take some deep breaths. We vent to a friend all we want to say to our ex- (but we don’t say it). We do the next right thing by our kids. And we give the situation to God, begging him to intervene on our children’s behalf, to soften hearts, to bring healing, to calm us down.
I know: it sucks. Nothing can work me up more than something regarding my kids and their physical, spiritual and emotional well-being being shoved to the backburner.
But I have to remember that I’m human too. That God’s got them. That hearts can be softened when we pray. And that God will set everything right eventually because love always, always wins.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. –Exodus 14:14