This blog is about domestic abuse and the abuse of power. But that abuse of power and privilege isn’t just in marriage. It’s in organizations as well. My heart breaks for our country, and I’m praying for us to be able to sit together and have compassionate conversations. There is a lot of pain and anger over another instance of the abuse of power by a police officer towards an unarmed, unresisting, African American man that led to his death. This is a chronic problem, and history shows that the problem has not been addressed systemically or justly.
Do police need better training? Yes. But having a relative who is a police officer, I know most want to do the right thing and daily put themselves in harm’s way to keep our streets and cities safe. And, I also have an African American relative who is profiled, who has been unjustly stopped and questioned because of his skin color. A good man who worries about his safety, not because he’s doing anything wrong, but because he’s judged by the color of his skin. This is wrong. We all need to learn that whatever color our skin is, we all bleed red. God created us human beings first, and we must never forget that. Click To Tweet
Question: I recently asked my husband to leave our home because he wouldn’t allow my 13-year-old daughter from my first marriage to live in our home. There was even a point where he wouldn’t even let me see her. He said she was like food coloring dropped into clear water.
She was bad, and she contaminated our home and family she was 8 or 9 at the time. I don’t know what to do. I want my daughter to thrive and have a stable home with me. We have two children together now. Am I doing the right thing? He makes me feel like I’m in the wrong, that I’m crazy for wanting my daughter in my life.
Answer: I want your daughter to thrive, and so does God. Your second husband knew you had a daughter when he married you. Was he accepting of her then? Did the two of you discuss her, and was he okay with your relationship with her as her mother? Or, was he clear from the beginning that he only wanted you, but not your daughter? And if it was the former and he accepted her, what happened to change that? Did she do something that changed his mind towards her? The fact that he thinks you’re crazy for wanting her in your life makes me concerned that she had done something pretty serious and perhaps dangerous.
Even if she did, she’s a child, and children sometimes do foolish and stupid things, but rejecting them makes it even worse. But if she’s done something dangerous or harmful to the household or to the other children in the family, it may explain why he doesn’t want her living there. But why wouldn’t he allow you to even see her? And why would you allow him to decide that for you?
If there is no rational reason for his feelings for your daughter, it could be he’s jealous of her relationship with you and your love for her. He may also be threatened by her relationship with her own father and feels insecure in the stepfather role. Maybe he wants you to be content with him and your new children and hates that you were married before. Who knows, but Biblically you have every right and responsibility to mother your child and have her in your life. Your second husband doesn’t get to decide that she’s a throw-away child, even if she has done something harmful. However, if she has, it’s important you not close your eyes and that you get her help so she grows up to be a strong, healthy, and stable person.
Biblically you also made vows and promises to your second husband, but in those vows, you didn’t promise to forsake your child. You’re in a terrible dilemma, and I imagine this is one of the reasons that God designed marriage ideally to be a life-long relationship. Children from a previous relationship or marriage aren’t thrown away just because you get remarried and have more children. Most individuals who marry someone with a child, embrace them too.
You asked, are you doing the right thing? From what you’ve told me I believe you are, but there is a lot about this situation you haven’t told me. For example, what effect does your daughter have on the household (you, and the other children) that your husband opposes her living there? Sometimes one child can create a lot of chaos or even danger for the others in the household. If there is a history of this, are you addressing this now so that you’re all safe?
Also, it seems you have given your second husband a lot of decision-making power in your life. He makes the decision that you are not allowed to see your own child. To not allow her to live in your home with you. And to question your love for her and even your own sanity for wanting to have her in your life. I’d encourage you during this season of separation that you get some expert help from a licensed counselor to help you process some of these issues – so that you get healthier and stronger so when the time comes to discuss your marriage with your husband, you don’t get as easily intimidated or controlled into doing something that you later regret. All your children need a healthy, stable, and strong mother.
Friends, what words of wisdom can you share with this anxious mother?