Last week we talked about mature love in the couple relationship. This week let’s focus on loving a stepchild that is, shall we say, difficult.
As we said last week, mature love is a choice. You have to develop trust in the couple relationship for it to flourish. Mature love loves your partner or child as you love yourself. You’ve decided to do that. Doesn’t mean you’ll do it perfectly however.
Steffy’s stepdaughter drives her crazy. This child, we’ll call her Suzie, knows how to manipulate her dad to get what she wants every single time. She also tries to come between Steffy and her husband. Is this child spoiled? Heck yeah, at least in Steffy’s eyes. And can this child scheme? Oh yeah! Steffy hates it when she comes for her visitations. So much so that the tension now builds between herself and her husband even before the child gets to their home
So what should Steffy do? Her relationship with Suzie is beginning to affect her relationship with her husband. Her husband feels caught in the middle of the two people he loves most. “Why can’t my wife just love my little girl”, he asks. Steffy says she does love his daughter; she just doesn’t want to be around her.
Steffy has a choice. Suzie will always be a part of her life as long as she is married to Suzie’s dad. So she can choose to leave her husband or she can choose to learn to accept his child. Loving and accepting his child doesn’t mean she has to have the same wonderful feelings toward Suzie as she does her own children.
It means realizing and maintaining being the adult and not resorting to childish tactics. And it means that if she really just can’t stand the girl, let her dad be the one to deal with her. Let her dad pick up after her. Let her dad put her to bed. Let her dad deal with her manipulations. Steffy needs to choose to let go of trying to change or fix Suzie and decide to just accept her the way she is. That doesn’t mean Suzie gets to do whatever she wants in Steffy’s home but it does mean she can step back, take a breath, and let dad take the lead. She can remove herself from being consumed with Suzie’s behavior.
This scenario can take on many forms. But how we as the adult, choose to handle these kids, can mean the difference between peace and upheaval in our homes. We are not powerless; Christ came to give us peace, His peace. Even when dealing with a very difficult child.
We can choose to love that child even though in our eyes, they are unlovable. My friend had such a stepdaughter. I have always been in awe of how she handled the situation. Her stepdaughter hated her and wanted her gone. But my friend chose love. She finally after many years, won her stepdaughter over. You know, the kids do grow up and understand things they didn’t when they were kids. Now my friend and her stepdaughter are the best of friends. Her stepdaughter has thanked her over and over again for loving her and her dad. Rewards do come. Sometimes they take longer than we would like, but they do come. We reap what we sow.
There are lots of difficult people out there and some of them are in our own families. If we are in Christ, He has given us the power to walk out what He asks us to do. He says to love our neighbor as we love our self and that includes those in our families. And sometimes that means letting go and letting God do what He alone can do.
If you need to unload and just talk to someone about that someone in your life that is so hard to love, I’m here. I’ve had to walk this walk myself so I certainly understand.