Last night I went to see some of my favorite people. I go every Sunday night to the same place and I get to fellowship with some of the most honest and brave individuals I have ever met. Last night I arrived in full make-up and false lashes. It was quite a change from my normal gym attire, so naturally people were confused.
I explained that the love of my life and I had taken our engagement pictures just before I arrived. This brought up the question. If you have ever been a bride you know what chilling question I mean. “How is wedding planning going?”
Fortunately because my groom’s mother and sister are absolute angels and because my mother has been pinning things left and right for me on Pinterest, I was able to avoid gulping before answering. I feel a lot more empowered than I did two weeks ago and I truly believe we may just be able to pull this thing off.
When you bring up weddings around women who have been married, they naturally visualize their wedding day. Suddenly the room lit up and women were telling me all sorts of ideas. As the room began to spin, the conversation took another direction. It went straight to the D word. If you have ever had a marriage fail, you know what word I am talking about.
In the past I have waited for openings in conversations like these to share how awful my marriage was with my son’s father. I had a list of reasons of why I was the superior parent or why I tried harder to save the marriage than he had. I am not even sure how either of us survived the custody battle. It nearly killed me.
Instead of offering anything like that to the conversation, I just smiled and listened. I have watched my son’s father grow and I have been able to encourage him more now as a co-parent than I ever could as a wife. I want him to do well because our son is watching. It took a while for me to understand the bigger picture was always that little boy.
I feel grateful because I know that the problems I had in my first marriage won’t be problems that will reside in my lifelong marriage. I learned so much about what it was to be a wife. I learned that husbands have needs too. I learned that I cannot stop being a wife just because I am a mommy.
I can see my ex-husband has learned a lot of valuable things too. It gives me so much hope for my son’s future step mother. A story I did tell last night was when my ex walked into my son’s 3rd birthday and shook the hand of my fiance. It was a moment I will never forget. My ex-husband thanked my fiance for putting on his son’s party. There was no pride or ego, it was just about my son. I have never been more proud.
Even more wonderful things have happened since then. We have gone trick-or-treating together and I have seen my ex talk to my step kids like they were just my son’s siblings. My soon-to-be husband has discussed t-ball and drop off plans with my son’s father. They are kind to one another. They laugh at the silly things the kids do together. They have similar hopes for my son. They get it. It is about the kids.
There is a level of forgiveness and a lot of healing that had to occur before any of these moments could be actualized. By seeing my own part and being honest enough to claim my part, my ex-husband became more human. He was no longer this monster I had always seen him as.
I never wanted my son to be a child that would go to his daddy’s house and say things like, “my mommy said you better…” I never wanted my child to not be able to tell me all the fun he had at daddy’s house. I want to know everything he is excited about! I never could imagine my son being taught that one parent was better than the other. I’m not a parenting expert or psychological genius, but I am aware that children internalize things that are said about their parents. I never wanted my little boy to think, “My mommy or daddy is bad, so I must be bad.”
I just want all of our children to be kids. It is going by so fast and they deserve that privilege. I want them to be confident and considerate of others. I want them to be kind. None of these things are possible if we refuse to forgive. The father my ex was when we were married is not the father he is today. Why would I hold him back from being the dad he is now by belittling him over his past? Who wins? Certainly not my son.
Healing starts in the hands of our Heavenly Father. There is nothing too big or too small that I cannot give to Him. I have been known to pray about a broken dishwasher! I go to God for everything and although it took time, He gave me the ability to let go and forgive. I don’t need to keep score anymore.
Colossians 3:13 tells me: 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
I had to really dig deep as a Christian and find the ability to forgive. I couldn’t stay angry and jealous and victimized if my son was going to have a shot at what he deserved, which was both parents. No strings. No exceptions. No mean words or judgements. Just his parents. Just love. We are currently the best versions of ourselves and I’m happy my son gets to have that.
I look at my fiance in utter amazement. He is an incredible father. He works hard and he cares so deeply for his children. He is someone I love my son looking up to. The way he loves me gives me hope for the standards of our children. They will know pure love when they see it!
I wouldn’t change a thing. Nothing. There is nothing about our situation that I feel shame about. We are not a “blended family”. We are just a family and we all belong to one another. Everything I have walked through and every hurt or injustice I have taken for my child has given him a beautiful relationship with all of his parents.
If God gave us our spouses to mirror His convenant with His people and our children to show the true depth of His great sacrifice and love, the very least I can do is forgive and move on. I have to make the most of my blessings. I feel it is my duty to the God that gave them to me.