Friday, October 31, 2008

Love Dare--Day 12--Love Lets The Other Win

If you need a reminder, today's dare was:

Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your children. Tell them you are putting their preference first.

This day was easier in that the same issue applies to all 3 children. It was also very difficult because it meant that I had to put my feelings aside in order to let them make their own decision about an issue that stands between us.

In order to understand my opinion of this issue, I'll have to give you just a little background history, if you don't know it already.

My children's father was and still is in active drug addiction. This addiction led to much physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, as well as stealing from me and my children, forging checks--and well, I'm sure you get the picture here, and I need not go on.

My own personal preference would be that they have nothing to do with their father. But, they do, not a lot, but they still do. When I hear one of them on the phone with him, and they say, "I love you", I literally cringe!!

So, while my own answer to this situation has been to distance myself and have nothing to do with him, I had to look at their point of view.

This is an issue that continually comes up in our lives. They know how I feel--I know how they feel.

We could be talking about anything, and if their father happens to be mentioned in the conversation, they all look at one another and then at me--like they are waiting for an explosion over in my area of the room. I don't explode, but apparently my emotions are written all over my face (at least, that's what I've been told).

This is a particularly touchy subject when my youngest daughter is visiting from Texas, which was just recently. She wants to go see her father, and she knows it irritates me. Maybe that is what she meant when she said I was a little "guilt-trippy". Probably so.

So, this time, when my youngest daughter stated that she was going to visit her father, and the other two were going with her, I just said, "Okay". She looked at me, astounded!!

I then told all 3 of them of my decision--That he is their father, that is a fact that cannot be changed. I told them that they are adults, needing to make their own decisions in this matter, and whatever that decision is, I will not interfere any longer.

This made for a much pleasant visit with my youngest daughter who I think used to tip-toe around the issue of going to visit her father--knowing that this would upset me. The older two feel more open with me about visiting him, and they even talked about their visit which they never have before, about things that were said during the visit that bothered them, things that their grandparents said or did that bothered them.

There are issues between them and their father that they need to resolve themselves, and I was continually stepping in to try to persuade them to see my point of view.

As I look at this now, a few days later, I can see that my just letting go of this with them will actually be beneficial in the days ahead. Since they now feel that they can discuss things with me without my "interfering", maybe-- just maybe, some of the past issues that they have not dealt with--not let go--will come to the surface and can be discussed in a reasonable manner without so much emotional fallout.

And so we move to Day 13:

Love Fights Fair

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3.25

The dare for the day:


Talk with your children about establishing healthy rules of engagement. If your children are not ready for this then write out your own personal rules to "fight" by. Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

Stop by Chelle's if you get a chance. There are quite a few people doing this "Love Dare", and it's very interesting and inspiring to see what everyone is doing to improve their relationships!


Peggy said...

Blessings Beth...As difficult as this is to stomach or tolerate, it was right for you to step back and not interfere but allow God to show them the true colors of their dad.
They are part of him & it's good you see this from their perspective. You're a good mom and getting to be a more understanding mom to see it from their eyes & God's eyes. We can't change history but we certainly can learn from it.

Believe me I know how hard this is!
It will help you get an eternal perspective & allow them the open door to talk with you. Praise God!
The battle's won! God won!

Denise said...

Hang in there my friend, you are doing wonderfully.

Darlene said...

I found you through Peggy. I have a daughter in college who is not talking to me or Joey (her dad). I am looking for advice on how to heal our realtionship. All I know to do right now is pray.
I am not sure if the Love Dare will work for us since she is away for college and not talking to us. What do you think? You can e-mail me if you like. My e-mail is on my profile.

Chelle' said...

Beth- you are doing a great job. You've gone from participating in this dare with one child to three. That's amazing. Not sure I could handle participating in this dare with THREE separate but equally important relationships.

Excited to meet up with you!!!