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Pick Between Spouse Or Kid

I recently had a case come before me where one spouse in a blended family told the other spouse that they had to choose between them or a dependent child the spouse has from a previous marriage. I know how I feel about it, but I'm curious as to the common consensus of the community.
What do you think?

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 ---paul on 5/3/11
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i have to agree with Cluny and Trav. Your are talking about a specific case that someone has confided in you about a situation. You can make a the question more general by leaving off the first part.
---Scott on 5/13/11

This situation depends on certain things to make a decision. Is there a problem between the child and the spouse and is the other spouse taking the side of their child even if they are in the wrong. What does marriage mean to you? I had this same problem but it was because I chose pleasing my children over my wife. A dear brother who is very wise and godly told me "they will always just be visiting". Children grow up, but marriage is a covenant in which to two become one.

If there is no cause for him to feel this way then he must chose to stay or to go, not you. Don't put the burden on yourself if this is the situation.
---willa5568 on 5/12/11

James L, your funny, I got almost all of those things, with the exception of cutting the grass and taking care of my kids.
I wasn't looking for anyone when I met her. One day a sister at work told me about a sister she knew who had a great passion for Christ like me and asked me to contact her and gave me her number. After a few months I did call her, then wrote her to find out where her heart was at. And finally met her, and the rest is history. It took me three years to make up my mind to marry or not. I finally did. I believe that God worked in my life preparing me for this and her too. She is just awesome a great cook, hard worker, loves the Lord so much, great mother, and a super friend. Wait on the Lord, His time is always perfect.
---Mark_V. on 5/12/11

Mark V,

thanks for the kind words.

It would be nice to meet someone godly, but I am afraid I do not have the best frame of mind...yet.

Most generally when I think of meeting someone, what I find most is a desire to meet someone who will make my life a little easier.

Plan birthdays for my son, help watch my son, take my son to school and pick him up, plan vacations, balance the checkbook, pay the bills, cut the grass, do the grocery shopping, massage my feet, cook awesome meals, etc etc etc.

I think I'm looking more for a personal assistant.
---James_L on 5/10/11

Donna66, thanks for the response. I believe the case above without knowing more, the children have to be somewhat big by now, because if they are small children, he knew them already and knew what he was getting into. If they were big they are harder to discipline. And that could be a real problem once you live with them. A mom's love for her own children is the most important, much more then someone who is not same flesh. Both, husband and wife need to have a true love for Christ. If one doesn't, it just doesn't work 99% of the time.
I feel so bad because it is so much harder for single women with children to find a god fearing man. But there out there, and it takes so much patience, and trusting in God for their future, way more then men.
---Mark_V. on 5/8/11

I'm not sure the problem here is as uncommon as we assume
---Donna66 on 5/8/11

Just from talking with people at church, I can tell that this problem is probably more widespread than most people think.

The Step Family has become the most popular -- and problematic -- Family Unit in both churches and society in general. The number of Single-Parent families is also increasing. With these increases come more Family struggles. Like the case before Paul.

I believe that Paul is reaching out to these families. Like the Bible says we should do. I wish that more churches did that.
---Sag on 5/9/11

I'm not sure the problem here is as uncommon as we assume.( I don't know, but my guess would be that little girls have been more often abused, as this child obviously was).

These are days when wickedness abounds. And I think pastors should be prepared to help however they can.

MarkV-- Glad your situation has worked out!
---Donna66 on 5/8/11

Paul, I did not see anything wrong with your answer.
James L, I can relate to what you experience. I too hope you find the right person if you haven't already.
Donna66, I took your advice with the two daughters my wife had when I married her. One, 20, super Christian got married. The other 18, has Bipolar Disorder. It took me three years to make up my mind to marry. I did, because she has a passion for Christ as I do. The first year, I put up with a lot, bad mouthing her mom with the "F" word. Finally I step in, what I should have done from the beginning. I walked in during one of her daughters uproars, and showed her the door. Either respect her mom, or move out. She moved out and is very happy. we do help her some.
---Mark_V. on 5/8/11

Cluny .... I have to disagreew with yuo on this one!

I cannot see any breach of confidentiality. We don't even know in which Paul lives. So there is no way the child can be identified
---alan8566_of_UK on 5/8/11

It sounds like you have a personal agenda to promote.
If you have an issue with preachers I pray you will be delivered....---paul on 5/7/11

Do have an agenda. Truth in Scripture. Not doctrinal suppositions.
Old enough now to have experienced hundreds of preachers claiming title. My experience validated hundreds of times. There is no situation where a so called preachers should be in confidence of another living man's wife.
You validated scripture on that point.
It is not a "typical" problem being discussed.
Post this blog where "your" sheep spoken of can see it. Or the rest of your church. Or the husband.
You can't. You won't. It's wrong. It's wrong here. Thats the issue.
---Trav on 5/8/11


It sounds like you have a personal agenda to promote.

And your entitled to your opinion.

But to say it is wrong for me to shed light onto a problem which could be subject to thousands of people in an informative even educational way is misleading and frankly falsely accusing.

I am speaking of a problem not people in particular.

If you have an issue with preachers I pray you will be delivered from your trust issues, sometimes preachers do people wrong but more often then not they are their to assist.

And why do you draw the conclusion that I am not handling the situation, because I posed a question somehow disqualification me from having an answer?
---paul on 5/7/11

Another example is if a parent insists on keeping a mentally challenged adult child at home rather than letting that child get into a facility that can teach him/her to live a more normal life.
---KarenD on 5/7/11


Once more you have failed to substantiate your point.

Sensitive information is detrimental to the identity of a person such a dob ssn address phone number names you know the kind of stuff asked for on a sensitive personal information form.

If it is your opinion that putting a pretty common counseling issue out for discussion is wrong to you then that's fine.

But I'm well aware of the board of ethics committees regulations on confidentiality and I assure you I am not in breach.

If you wish to contribute to the post I thank you, but this exchange is over, my time is better spent building up, not defending myself to someone whose desire is to tare down.

Thanx, Paul
---paul on 5/7/11

Paul one of the most fact finding questions I have ever used is, "Why?" When the one said what they did I'd ask why? Why is it that a marriage has to break up to care for another child? You wil find out quickly that this party is wanting out for their own motives.
I see no where that you have revealed any confidences. No one here can truthfully say just who you are speaking about. I am not sure if anyone really exists in your question. So if someone does they are safe you have revealed nothing about them personally. Continue on in what you are doing.
---Elder on 5/7/11

Your brining up this issue and giving sad details that should NOT be noised abroad is divulging sensitive information.
Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/6/11

I agree with Cluny.

If you don't know how to handle a situation like this the minimum you could do is keep it to yourself. You're drawn like a magnet.
Glad I don't go to any preachers. Wives shouldn't either.
You just reaffirmed it and scripture.
Ephesians 5:22
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
She is a liar first and foremost. 5 year olds don't rape.
This gets back to the're in a mellava hess.
---Trav on 5/7/11

\\Where have I admitted I will divulge sensitive information and break patient confidentiality?\\

Your brining up this issue and giving sad details that should NOT be noised abroad is divulging sensitive information.

Your denial you do not divulge confidences does not change reality.

Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/6/11

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Paul, Consider the source, the dead speak dead words. So pay no mind to the Christian-bashers who foolishly sin by misusing the breath temporarily given to them to bless with, but instead they choose to unwisely misuse this gift to blaspheme the Almighty's children.
---Eloy on 5/6/11


Where have I admitted I will divulge sensitive information and break patient confidentiality?

We are discussing general nonconfidential information in a informative way not constructed to bring awareness to the individual but to the situation.

Not unlike a professor would share with the class.

So again I challenge you to show where I am untrustworthy due to breach of trust.

---paul on 5/6/11

In other words, paul, you are admitting here that you can't be trusted to keep things confidential.

Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/6/11

If my life experiences in life can be used to help others be more stable Im all for it.
We learn by others testamonies, I have not used any identifing information.
Therefore I dont see the problem.
So feel free to use any of my confidences if they will help others.
---paul on 5/6/11

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Paul....Perhaps you are in the wrong line of work. In order to be able to counsel in such serious situations as this, one must have the proper training as well as a right relationship with the Lord to be able to discern when someone is lying or telling the truth.
---KarenD on 5/6/11

paul, remind me never to entrust you with a confidence.

Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/6/11

Paul--. I'm no expert, but the child may be just trying to give and receive affection in a way that some twisted adult has taught him. Professional guidance for both parents and child a must. No need to be frightened by a 5 y/o who doesn't really understand what he's doing.. It's not his fault.

Perhaps both parents together could explain to him in an informative, not punitive way, that his "privates" are private. And that no matter what he has been taught, his behavior (be specific) is not how grown ups and children show they love each other. Give him some alternatives e.g. kissing on the cheek, a bear hug, what ever is acceptable. End with a positive note and maybe an ice cream cone. I'm praying for you, Paul.
---Donna66 on 5/6/11

The husband and the wife are joined together into one flesh and into one body, the children are not. Woman you did not marry your children, and man you did not marry your children, but you married your spouse. The spouses married or merged into each other, the husband married the wife and the wife married the husband: the spouses did not marry the children, nor did the children marry together with the parents: thus, love God first, then your married spouse second, and lastly the offspring from the marriage.
---Eloy on 5/6/11

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Why do you always have to be so condescending?
I understood your suggestion, that doesn't mean I agree with it.

You see I like getting a overall perspective on things which cant be accomplished with one view.

Thanks for your concern toward the welfare of the individuals involved but I feel I am helping them by seeking godly testimony from others into this scenario.

Again, if your not for me don't be against me, pray for Gods wisdom into the situation.
---paul on 5/6/11

\\If anyone desires to focus their attention on me as opposed to the question then focus it on me in prayer for wisdom in this situation.\\

In case you need help recognizing my suggestions, I will make it easy for you.

Get the help of ONE other person experienced in dealing with the sexual abuse of children, as it's obvious this poor boy has been a victim.

Little boys very seldom know about things like you say he's doing without being initiated by another.

And then, it's always possible that the new wife is either mentally ill or lying.
---Cluny on 5/5/11


Thanks for your understanding.

If anyone desires to focus their attention on me as opposed to the question then focus it on me in prayer for wisdom in this situation.

God Bless, Paul
---paul on 5/5/11

\\So where am I ethically wrong?\\

If you don't understand about about the seriousness of direct or indirect revelations of professional confidences and such, your preparation for ordained ministry (which you say you are) was seriously deficient.
---Cluny on 5/5/11

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I think Paul is seeking some input (and hopefully insight) on a very perplexing problem that he is presently dealing with.
His description is every bit as anonymous as a textbook case study. Without the details he gives, none of us would be able to address the real problem. (And even then, I'm not sure how much help he can get on this blog)
---Donna66 on 5/5/11


You are absolutely wrong in accusing me of breach of trust.

Everything I have said is completely anonymous.

Do yo know me
Have I used a name
Have I used an address
Have I used any sensitive information.
Have I identified anyone involved.

I have came on an open forum and discussed the core principals of a situation without divulging any sensitive information at all.

So where am I ethically wrong?

---paul on 5/5/11

If a "dependent" child were a physical threat to anyone it would need to be dealt with. I agree with Cluny that a minister does not need to be discussing counseling cases in this forum.
---KarenD on 5/5/11

Easy answer to this one. The child is a part of me. No accepting child-no accepting me. Period. I could never love someone who was that cold and callous. Anyway you slice would still be distasteful to me.This person who gave the ultimatum wants out of this darn relationship and he is using the child as the excuse to run. Let him/her go. Good riddance.
---Robyn on 5/5/11

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I need to mention that I heard a similar story involving a 4 year old boy decades ago.

Little children don't know about such things unless they have been molested by someone much older.

Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/5/11

paul, I just read your recent post.

These are professional pastoral confidences that you should NOT be discussing here publicly.

At the very most, you should discuss them with another professional with expertise in this serious problem, and then ONLY with the permission of whoever came to you originally.

Never mind the principals in this sordid story. YOU YOURSELF are guilty of a breach of ethics. At the very least, you have set yourself up to be the defendant in a clerical malpractice suit.

All this is assuming you're telling the truth here.

Christ is risen!
---Cluny on 5/5/11


My own sister is in a remarriage relationship. Things are going well for them. However, they have a problem with their "Biological" son that is similar to what you explained earlier:

Their 5 year old son thinks it is FUNNY to: Chase Adult women -- and SCARE them -- Hit the family dog until it Growls/Yipes, Mouth off to his pre-school teachers, and use Dirty/Salty language/phrases.

I am not sure if this is all a result of: Too much TV, Parenting, etc.

Maybe this is all just Normal. I don't know. I've never had all the valuable child-rearing experiences that parents go through, and learn from.

Any ideas, recommendations, etc. on what to do here?
---Sag on 5/5/11

Is the kid's name Chucky
by any chance?
---Nana on 5/5/11

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Paul That is a curious story. A five year old commit rape???
---alan8566_of_UK on 5/5/11

Child... thats an easy one.

I wouldnt want to spend the rest of my life with someone that doesnt love my children.
---Jasheradan on 5/5/11


Do you feel their is ever a valid reason for a paternal parent to abandon their children?

---paul on 5/5/11

Thank you for your empathy and prayers, my friend.
---James_L on 5/4/11

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As a woman once said to me...

"My kids are my flesh and blood. My spouse is just someone I found on the street!"

There's your answer!
---John on 5/4/11

I would need more information on why this decision is being forced upon the spouse.
---KarenD on 5/4/11

The opposing spouse is the female and from what I can gather she views the mans child as the flesh of the child mom and a reminder of a sexual encounter between her now husband and the ex-wife.

The reasons she gives is that the curious 5 year old little boy has pressed his privates against her and allegedly attempted to remove her undergarments in her sleep and well you know.

She claims she has been molested and raped by him and is afraid for her life and that one must go, her or the child.

God Bless, Paul
---paul on 5/4/11

This is never a valid choice, but there is obviously a problem behind it. We are not told what it is...but I will take a guess.
I've seen way too much of this: Wife has children from a previous marriage. New step-father comes on the scene. Wife is happy, in love, ready to start a new life. Child is UNhappy. Does not want a "new" father. HIS dad lives elsewhere or is dead. Does not welcome a relative stranger taking the reins. Child drives a wedge between parents.
The answer to this is let the birth parent (not the step-parent) discipline the child. Behind the scenes both parents should agree on a plan for disciplining child, but the step parent should not be the one to enforce it until the child fully accepts him.
---Donna66 on 5/4/11

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When I get interested in a lady who has a child, I right away get ready to support her to take full and good care of her child. And I delegate this to her, fully, in my attitude . . . so that I am free about how much attention she gives to him/her/them, because I love them as myself so I want a beautiful person like her loving them as well as me (c: And I understand that I get nothing unless I win it by obeying God and He has me getting accepted and trusted because my example wins > "nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:3)
---Bill_willa6989 on 5/4/11

As a kid, I always wished that my family was as Funny, Jolly, and Happy, as The Brady Bunch. Unfortunately, The Brady Bunch was only fictional. In real life, blended families are often the opposite.

In most Step-Families, the spouse with the kid(s) will be number #1, the kid(s) will be next, and a new spouse -- Husband or Wife -- will be dead last. A little bit different from what the Bible teaches. A recipe for a troubled marriage, possibly, but it can all work out.

How do I know all this even though I've never been married? I once considered marrying a woman with three children. After doing my homework, and concluding that it probably wouldn't be like The Brady Bunch, I gave up on that dream. My date was furious!
---Sag on 5/4/11

This is a disgusting scenario.
---James_L on 5/3/11

Stories like yours are difficult for me to read. I'll admit that I DO NOT understand all of the Family Dynamics involved.

I've learned that despite our best intentions to help others, they can end up Betraying, Gossipping, Whatever. Often a Discouraging/Disgusting outcome.

Divorces, Remarriages, Blended Families, Step-Parents, and Step-Children all involve some degree of: Anger, Hurt, Unexpected Surprises, Future Disillusionment, etc.

I'll pray that you have peace about your situation.
---Sag on 5/4/11


I couldn't agree with you more, but we are talking post marriage not pre marriage.

What to do when it is going on.
---paul on 5/4/11

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This very thing happened to me.

I had a son from my first marriage, and my second wife demanded that I choose between her and him.

I made the mistake of trying to accommodate her. It didn't help at all because...

My elderly father came to live with us, at her suggestion. After about 3 months, she demanded that I choose between him and her.

I told her she had rocks in her head if she thought I was going to go through that again.

She ended up leaving me for a "cool" boyfriend. She was merely looking for a "way out".

She was gone and I had lost three years with my son, and it has never been the same again for me and him.

This is a disgusting scenario.
---James_L on 5/3/11

The most important thing is the child is depending on the parent. No question. The child needs the parent. Say so long to the spouse with a hard & selfish heart.
---Reba on 5/3/11

Let me tell you all a dark secret of mine. I have AIDS -- Against Instant Dad Syndrome [AIDS].

As a single, young, male person, I've become opposed to ever marrying a woman with children. For the very reason this blog question illustrates. There are just too many "family variables" at work. It doesn't matter if the woman is "widowed" or "divorced". It will be a SUPER challenge for another man to become her next husband.

Most churches are complete SILENT on this issue. Yet, the Dr. Phil TV show talked about this recently. Step-Parenting is very hard. On both the children and the step-parent.

All I can say is that the people involved should have done their homework, before tying the knot.
---Sag on 5/3/11

A single parent's first responsibility is to the depeendent child or children before choosing another spouse.
---Cluny on 5/3/11

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