I’m struggling in my marriage lately, and maybe some of you with blended families can identify. I am wrestling with and reeling from the multiple roles I play: wife, mother, homeowner. I am particularly disturbed when I cannot resolve the conflict when roles collide. The hardest one for me is wife and mother. I find very divided loyalties when my husband and I disagree about our children (my biological, his step) or when the children ask me to play arbitrator in a dispute between them and my husband.
My problem is that the Bible never directly addresses the blended family situation (or at least not in a direct way that I can identify and process, but I digress). I suspect this is because the Lord hated divorce and remarriage, but the religious leaders even Moses permitted it because of humanity’s frailty.
I’ve got the commands to bring my children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord (fancy way of saying to teach them what Jesus would do and how to do it in this world), to not exasperate my children (seriously, is this an effective command in the teenage years), and so on.
As a wife, I am to submit to my husband in everything. This does not mean tolerating abuse or immorality; submission is just a choice to say “we’re in this together, we’re headed in the same direction, and I’ll choose to go your way even when I don’t think it’s the best way in the absence of moral instruction.” (Saul of Tarsus in Ephesians) I have to respect my husband and accept his authority over me; in addition, I have to choose a pure and reverent life. (Peter in 1 Peter) I have to enrich his life and do him good all our lives. (King Lemuel in Proverbs)
Order of precedence is my particular issue. With divided loyalties, which side is the primary one for me in God’s eyes? I don’t know if I should be supporting the kids because they aren’t yet adults or if I should be supporting my husband because he’s my husband.
What is a Christian to do when these roles and instructions clash?
I wish I had answers for you.
There are days when prayer and Scripture bring good results, and things resolve rather easily. Then there are days when nothing seems to work, my back’s against the wall with no way out, and I’m questioning the sanity of myself and my Deity (yeah, not a wise position).
In the end, it’s about recognizing that many sinners under one roof requires grace and the sanctification only the Holy Spirit can bring. And there’s no knowing what He will do, except adhere faithfully, habitually, unchangingly, eternally to Scripture… and turn your world upside down.