Advice for a close friend.

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SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#1
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
36,688
13,843
113
66
Tennessee
#2
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
Being furious is not a sin. Even Jesus got angry in the temple. Your friend has a right to be angry. He is the dad of his children and not some stranger. I have been where your friend now is. It is good of you to support him.
 

Gideon300

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2021
1,709
1,161
113
#3
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
Anger in his case is due to wounded pride and unforgiveness. The fact that he is able to see his children is something anyway. My ex simply disappeared and I did not see my kids for 15 years. By then my daughter was married. She had her second child just after I found them. My son was working and still living at home.

I had zero reaction to my ex when we met again. I had no reaction when she told me she lied to the kids to stop them pestering her about why I wasn't seeing them. How is this possible? It is not because I did not care. At first I was utterly depressed and suicidal. It was as if my whole life was suddenly worthless. But God is gracious and showed me the keys to overcoming the grief and sense of loss, and the hatred and unforgiveness that poisoned my soul.

I had to realise that my family had become an idol, especially my son. He was 6, he seemed so vulnerable and wounded by the whole sad business. I had to let go and entrust both kids to the Lord. I had to accept my part in the marriage failure. There is almost always fault on both sides, but God holds the man responsible as he is the head of the home. I had good friends who steered me through this minefield. I had to learn to be objective. God forgave my sin and life went on.

Unforgiveness is a blight and a curse. It hinders fellowship with God and we only hurt ourselves. I was blessed with this article that follows. I'd recommend it to anyone who suffers deep wounds that result in unforgiveness.

https://www.christianlife.org.au/can-you-forgive-from-your-heart

Now for the good news. My now adult children are doing ok. My daughter has four children. I don't see them often as they live a fair way away. My son has graduated from cleaning barrels in a recycling plant to admin for Apple. We prayed for a better job and God came through big time. He's been there about 10 years. He starts a new and better job at the end of this month. We have grown quite close over the 10 years since we met up again. COVID has not helped but the restrictions will be over soon.

God is well able to take care of us and He will turn our troubles around so that they work for our good. But that will begin when we get the right attitude to the people and events that have caused us grief. They will have to answer to God. We need to take care of our side of things and let God take care of everything else.

He needs to ask God to bless the stepfather and the ex, if only so that the children will be brought up well. I know how hard that is. But by the grace of God, it is possible.
 

SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#4
but God holds the man responsible as he is the head of the home
I'm honestly not trying to be snarky here, but can you show me in scripture where the man is at fault for all divorces?

He needs to ask God to bless the stepfather and the ex, if only so that the children will be brought up well. I know how hard that is. But by the grace of God, it is possible.
So, what you're telling me to tell my friend is, "Hey man, it's really all your fault your wife had an affair, took the kids, and remarried this guy you've known since high school. And by the way, he has full parental rights now since you're unwilling to hold hands with him now."

I don't think I'm quite ready to say that to him just yet.

I appreciate your efforts, but I think you may be listening to too many radio preachers tell us all men are horrible husbands and fathers. And if they don't live up to the perfect expectations of the wife backed by the church, then she has every right to leave.

If you can offer some helpful verses to support that notion, I may be on board with preaching that to him, also.
 

SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#5
Being furious is not a sin. Even Jesus got angry in the temple. Your friend has a right to be angry. He is the dad of his children and not some stranger. I have been where your friend now is. It is good of you to support him.
Thanks for the support. But I'm trying to show him that there's a difference between righteous indignation and prideful rage. And I think he's managing it better than most people.

But what should he do concerning the kids? To this lady's credit, she is letting him see them every weekend. But do you think that's enough? Should he try to fight for more time with them?

In the state we live in, parents are often awarded dual physical custody. That's where the kids alternate between parents every seven days. He's thinking about it, but he's worried that it would be too hard on the kids. What do you think?
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
36,688
13,843
113
66
Tennessee
#6
Thanks for the support. But I'm trying to show him that there's a difference between righteous indignation and prideful rage. And I think he's managing it better than most people.

But what should he do concerning the kids? To this lady's credit, she is letting him see them every weekend. But do you think that's enough? Should he try to fight for more time with them?

In the state we live in, parents are often awarded dual physical custody. That's where the kids alternate between parents every seven days. He's thinking about it, but he's worried that it would be too hard on the kids. What do you think?
If he gets them every 7 days who watches the kids, assuming that he is going to work during the week?
 
Nov 26, 2012
3,095
1,044
113
#7
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
According to Mosaic Law he could just kill the dude. Problem solved! Unfortunately the courts may disagree. Clearly righteous indignation is inevitable. My advice: be the best dad you can. If they have another positive male role model the rest of the time, it’s irritating but still beneficial. The kids know who the dad is.
 

MatthewWestfieldUK

Well-known member
May 13, 2021
871
491
63
#8
Protect your connect with your kids. Stand up and challenge. Encourage your friend. Backing down easily is not ok sometimes.
 

SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#9
If he gets them every 7 days who watches the kids, assuming that he is going to work during the week?
Great point. In my area, schools have after-care programs available. But it's a problem for most two-earner families anyway.

But it's the back and forth the kids have to endure that I think would be difficult for them (and the parents).
 

SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#11
My advice: be the best dad you can. If they have another positive male role model the rest of the time, it’s irritating but still beneficial. The kids know who the dad is.
Okay, I'll encourage him to do that. Thanks.
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
1,518
1,099
113
#12
How old are the kids and is the stepdad a good dad/good person? It can be a tricky situation when both men serve as dads. This is a situation where both men, and the mom, an perhaps potential stepmom, have to learn to get along and put the children's interests first, as they are likely to be in the children's lives for many years/decades. The kids have three parents, maybe four later. If the stepparent doesn't want to be called by his/her first name, and depending on the age of the child, I believe they have that right. The kids can refer to them with another affectionate name for parent, or something else.
 

SteveEpperson

Junior Member
May 12, 2018
209
93
28
#13
they are likely to be in the children's lives for many years/decades
Yeah, that's a good female perspective there. I mean that sincerely.

If the stepparent doesn't want to be called by his/her first name, and depending on the age of the child, I believe they have that right.
That's an interesting perspective I hadn't thought about. What else would he call him, uncle?

The kids can refer to them with another affectionate name for parent, or something else.
Maybe pappa or poppy for the biological father?
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
1,518
1,099
113
#14
That's an interesting perspective I hadn't thought about. What else would he call him, uncle?
Maybe pappa or poppy for the biological father?

I don't think uncle is appropriate, since from the child's perspective, the mom would be married to the uncle and that could cause some confusion. Also, the relation with uncle is different from parent/step-parent. I think ideally the name for the step parent, especially for younger kids, should be another name for mom/dad (something along those lines, maybe the term in a foreign language). Kamala Harris' stepchildren call her Momala.
 
Jul 27, 2018
176
192
43
The Garden of Weeden
#15
I am going to go with my standard advice for questions like this. Advise him to focus on God and let God focus on his problem. Keeping yourself focused on CHrist tends to make you a better parent, employee, friend, student, just closer to God, and that will draw people in, even possibly spiteful people wanting to hurt us. It also allows us to forgive and love the unlovable...All in God's timing.
 

Icedaisey

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
1,398
467
83
#16
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
First, ask your children how they feel about the new guy asking them to call him dad.

Secondly, count your blessings. You have children.☺️ Wives, husbands, come and go but our babies are in our heart and part of us, literally, forever.

One word of advice for your babies sake. Never talk bad about your ex, mom, or the new guy, to or in front of your kids.

The calling him dad part is pretty hard to stop from happening on his part.
Your children on the other hand, if old enough, could nip it in the bud by refusing to call him dad.

Your ex living to spite you, the father of her kids, is in a bad place.
As long as she works to hurt you, her new marriage is going to suffer for having that other man in her relationship. You.

Then, soon enough, she'll be on to hubby #3.
In which case you could always petition for full custody. Granting her limited supervised visits.

One thing. If she contacts you about her spiteful agenda, record everything. Be sure to check telephonic communication recordings laws as pertains to your state first. One party consent, or two party, makes a difference.

If she's taking on the adversarial role you need to be prepared.

May God keep you strong and your babies safe and happy.
 

Gideon300

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2021
1,709
1,161
113
#17
I'm honestly not trying to be snarky here, but can you show me in scripture where the man is at fault for all divorces?



So, what you're telling me to tell my friend is, "Hey man, it's really all your fault your wife had an affair, took the kids, and remarried this guy you've known since high school. And by the way, he has full parental rights now since you're unwilling to hold hands with him now."

I don't think I'm quite ready to say that to him just yet.

I appreciate your efforts, but I think you may be listening to too many radio preachers tell us all men are horrible husbands and fathers. And if they don't live up to the perfect expectations of the wife backed by the church, then she has every right to leave.

If you can offer some helpful verses to support that notion, I may be on board with preaching that to him, also.
You misunderstand me. There is always fault on both sides. I had to deal with the areas that I failed in. When we get clean before God, we can get on with our lives with a clear conscience. God gave the responsibility to the husband as the head of the home. When so he is primarily responsible. Marriages do not break up for no reason. We should at least allow God to reveal our side of it so that we can learn something out of the disaster.

As to responsibility, Ephesians 5:23, 1 Corinthians 11:3 .

I don't listen to radio preachers at all. I do recommend Mark Gungor to all adults, all who are, have been or are contemplating marriage. He is a relationship counselor who does not engage in man bashing. Believe me, I know what that is like. I had one friend who refused to take sides during the breakup. The rest dumped on me, not bothering to find out what really went on.

Please don't get me wrong. I am well aware that most Christians assume that the man is entirely to blame and that the woman is entirely innocent. It's not just my personal experience either. However, we can live in unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment or we can forgive and get clean hearts. That includes forgiving the people who take sides against us. My ex maintains that she is a Christian. I found out years later that it was her former pastor who advised her to do the disappearing act. So I had to forgive him as well as others who sided with her.

We are responsible for our actions and attitudes. Others are responsible for how they respond to us. God will deal with them accordingly. Everyone reaps what they sow. If we allow God to sort us out, our lives can get back on track. If not, we will make no progress in our Christian lives.
 

Icedaisey

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
1,398
467
83
#18
It's always an odd bit of reasoning that comes up in a Christian community in times like this especially.

On one hand there will be those who will claim certain matters in scripture pertain not at all to Christians today, because those things were exclusively applied to Jews in the OT.

Then, for example in issues like that in the OP, we'll insist first century and older morals and relationship practices apply to this day in marriage.

God forbid a Christian family adopt and practice Old Testament marriage and family rules and standards.
In for a penny in for a pound.

We can't admonish and advocate one practice, like the man in a marriage is primarily responsible for the family dynamic, making marriage a Patriarchy , when God said the two become one, equals, in marriage, and ignore the rest.

And as pertains to the divorcees in the OP, holding to Biblical marriage rules, the ex-wife being remarried is technically an adultress.
Making any children with her new husband, should they have children, bastards.

If marriage rules according to scripture worked, and if it were true, the family that prays together stays together, Christians wouldn't qualify as a divorce statistic.
 

Jocund

Active member
Jan 14, 2021
687
231
43
#19
Hello, everyone.

I have a good friend whose wife divorced him a few years ago and took their children. She has since remarried and they all live in the same town. It really is quite awkward for everyone involved, especially since he knows the new hubby.

Anyway, this guy is already insisting that the kids call him dad out of spite for my friend. And his ex-wife is on board with it, apparently to add to the cruelty and vindictiveness.

The saddest part is, my friend is a godly Christian man who apparently didn't make quite enough money to keep up with her maintenance. So, she found someone with deeper pockets.

The custody arrangement was the usual weekend visitation. And to his credit, I don't think he's missed a weekend yet.

But he is battling over the anger issue. He doesn't want to be so furious, because he knows it's a sin. Yet someone else is actively trying to take his place as a dad to his children.

What advice would you give him?
On the topic of anger to usurpers:

Love is patient, love is kind, yes. But when scripture mentions that love is slow to anger, that doesn't mean it is never angry. Not all anger is sinful. There is such as a thing as righteous anger. Even Jesus got angry at the money changers.
 

SophieT

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2020
4,217
2,364
113
#20
Please don't get me wrong. I am well aware that most Christians assume that the man is entirely to blame and that the woman is entirely innocent.

that's baloney and yes I saw where you said it's not just your personal experience. it's still baloney

perhaps you are reflecting on your personal circumstances. that does not help the op in the least with regards to his friend

advice should be objective...actually trying to help