When I met my husband, he was divorced from his first wife because of her infidelity and had a son who is now fifteen years old. We have been married now for ten years, and have two children of our own.
We have been very happy; however, I am worried about my stepson…. Recently he left school, and I believe he needs the love and guidance of his father. But no matter how often I ask my husband to go and spend time with the boy, he says that they have gotten used to being apart and it’s difficult to have a relationship with each other. My stepson does come to our house occasionally, mostly when he needs money. Please help me know how I can help to heal this father‑son relationship.
You are a special, loving person, and your husband is blessed to have you! We congratulate you for putting the welfare of your stepson ahead of whatever feelings you might have regarding the boy’s mother. Unfortunately, many of the women who write to us would be complaining about the boy instead of being worried about him. But you are mature enough to realize that your husband’s relationship with his ex‑wife has nothing to do with his relationship with his son. In other words, you understand that he can have a relationship with his son without threatening your current marriage in any way.
You are following Christ’s example of caring for the little ones. We wish that all step‑mothers and step‑fathers would follow your example.
You are correct in believing that the boy needs a relatioship with his father. Your husband finds it easier to avoid the boy rather than to face the obvious emotional issues in his son’s life. Men, in general, are often able to rationalize their absence in their children’s lives by coming up with excuses just like the ones your husband has given you. Those children grow up with a tremendous emotional hole in their hearts. Many times, especially in the teenage years, they engage in negative behaviors as an attempt to get their fathers’ attention.
We wish we could help you convince your husband, but it is difficult to convince someone who doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a problem. We would encourage you to search the “Cases of the Week” on our message2conscience.com website for cases of children who have been abandoned or neglected by their fathers. In those cases it is clear that the children have been hurt emotionally, and that the hurt sometimes lasts a lifetime.
Our Heavenly Father cares for and loves each of us so very much! He should be our example of how to treat our own children. He is always attentive to us when we call on Him in prayer. At times He may not say yes to what we want, but He always gives us what is best for us.1 And even though we break his rules time and time again, He forgives us and gives us another chance every time we ask for it.
We wish you success,
Linda and Charles
1 Ro 8:28