A Guest Post by The Satisfied Wife
I am writing this as a general warning to single women who are totally single, dating, committed to, or engaged to a man who was once married and has children from the previous marriage. I am writing from my own experience in marrying a man who was once married with two children. April has some very helpful information on the blog about this situation, and I want to say that all of it is true and I pray any single lady might seriously consider this before thinking of marriage in general.
Ladies, I am the chief of sinners, and I honestly grieve over the choices I made when I was not in Christ, and even after in Christ, but following carnal pleasures. I did not understand what the Lordship of Christ was, and I pray all of the Body of Christ will have eyes opened to see the meaning of His Lordship and Cross, that we might walk in a way that is worthy of our calling in Christ, and that we will truly honor and bring Glory to His Name. Unless the Cross is being worked out in our own lives, it will be hard to bring glory to God!
The Red Flags I Wish I Looked At Most
When I met my husband, I honestly didn’t think anything of him having been married with children because I was a single mother and I felt we had a lot in common and that I really didn’t need to worry about this red flag. I felt that because I was the “ex” to someone with their child, that I knew everything about this situation (pride), and that however my relationship with my son’s father and his wife was, it would be the same with my husband’s ex.
My husband was married and divorced before he was in Christ, and he was divorced for 3 years before he and I met and married. The reason they got divorced was because there was adultery on her part and after several attempts to reconcile on his part, she left for good, and my husband filed the divorce.
He and his ex had A LOT of issues WAYYY before I ever entered the picture.
Mistakes I made at the beginning of marriage that I REGRET:
- I encouraged my husband to be more friendly and open with his ex because I was looking at the situation from MY OWN WOUNDED HEART and what I would have wanted my son’s father to do for me
- I encouraged my husband to file for custody of the children (which led to a 1.5 year battle, all resulting in NOTHING happening, except that we lost a lot of $)
- I took over all the child support/lawyer issues
- I started personally dealing with his ex, leaving my husband out of it all
- I became obsessed with finding out the truth about how his ex was living (in a totally different state) and as I started discovering lies she was telling us, more and more chaos and strife arose as my husband became enraged at her for lying to him about very important things concerning his children
When I decided to do all the above things, I was EXTREMELY PRIDEFUL, CONTROLLING, and I felt as though the entire situation was on my shoulders to make things turn out right. I felt personally responsible for the welfare of my husband’s children (that I never even met), and I felt that it was my duty to make sure my husband got custody of the kids. My fiercely independent spirit came to life like never before in this situation as I tried to do everything in my own power to get control of the money, kids, and his ex.
The more I tried to control everything, the more it was uncontrollable. The Lord had to show me that I was trying to control something that I had NO business controlling. I had to learn to literally let go of the whole situation and realize that God is Sovereign over the children and if He wanted them to live with us, then He would make a way for that to happen. And if it didn’t happen, then I would accept that that was God’s will for the kids and I was ok with that. By the grace of God, I have let go and I am at peace with that.
What I wish I would have done differently in the beginning of marriage:
- I wish I would have NEVER tried to tell my husband what to do with his ex and kids
- I wish I never would have encouraged him to file for custody
- I wish I never would have talked to her at ALL and stayed out of it
- I wish I never would have tried to control the child support
What happens when you marry a divorced man who was married to an unbeliever?
- She gets EXTREMELY jealous that my husband is no longer under her “power” or control
- She gets EXTREMELY jealous that my husband loves me and that he no longer loves her
- She gets EXTREMELY jealous that my husband is taking care of me and my son and is not taking care of her (only his children financially)
- She gets EXTREMELY mad that my husband is putting me and our family above her and the children now
- She gets EXTREMELY upset that my husband treats me a lot better than he treated her at one point in his life when he was not in Christ—she feels like she made him into the better man he is only for another woman (me) to benefit from it
- She CALLS all the time to nag, criticize, belittle, and demand things from my husband
- She tries to CONTROL my husband with guilt, manipulation, and playing the martyr
- She LIES about everything to deceive my husband and to guilt-trip him into doing what SHE wants him to do
- She tries to DIVIDE me and my husband by telling him I said things about him that I didn’t say, etc. She does this in hopes of him getting mad at me and leaving me (which is not going to happen)
- She uses the children by keeping them from my husband on purpose and telling them things like “your daddy chose his wife over you”. It is so sad to watch happen :/
- I became obsessed with trying to control the situation
- I became insecure wondering if my husband is still in love with her
- I become jealous of ANY attention he gives her in phone calls, etc
- I become jealous, Angry, bitter, and resentful when he gives in to her demands that are against my wishes as his wife
- I become very upset when my husband has to constantly deal with another woman at the expense of my own marriage and having a healthy marriage
- I feel as though my husband is choosing her and his kids over me and our family at times
- I have become so bitter at times that I have wished that she would either die or disappear
- I feel like the only way I can ever have the marriage and harmony I want is if he lets go of that whole situation
- I’ve had to grieve the loss of my dream of ever being married and having my own child. I have gotten extremely jealous that she has kids with him and I never will. We both agreed before marriage that we didn’t want anymore children, but now that I am married, my heart has changed, but his hasn’t. Now, I will never know what it’s like to be married to someone, and have a child with them. That is a crushed dream for me. I feel like I could cry just thinking about it and typing these words. It was never supposed to be like this.
My Husband’s Issues:
- He feels like he has to choose between me and his kids a lot of times
- He feels like he has to keep his ex happy by giving in to her
- He feels like he has to do whatever it takes to prevent her from taking him to court because the child support laws would literally put him out of a job. He wouldn’t be able to afford it, and have our family.
- He gets extremely depressed and emotionally shut down from his ex-wife’s disrespect
- He feels hindered in being a step-dad to my son because of the guilt of not being around his own sons
- He feels powerless to change the situation because of the laws in place
- He feels like he can’t set healthy boundaries about her behavior and to protect himself because she has his kids and he doesn’t want to rock the boat and not ever talk to them
- Because I have put up boundaries for myself, my husband feels like I don’t support him at all in this difficult situation because I don’t want to know anything about it anymore. He feels like I can’t handle his past and that he has to go through it alone without my support. He continually steps over my boundaries by sharing details with me that I don’t wish to know anymore. He doesn’t understand why I can’t hear about it, yet. I pray he will have eyes opened.
- My husband constantly worries about his children living with a man who is the father of their mother’s new baby, who is in and out of jail. The example they are witnessing is anything but godly, and it crushes my husband’s heart to know that if they lived with us, they would be raised seeing what marriage/life is supposed to look like, and not what they are currently living in.
This is just a nutshell picture of my life married to a divorced man with kids. The heartbreak, the wounds, and the constant battle against insecurity is real and if I am not careful to keep my eyes totally on Christ, it will consume me! I have lost a lot of precious time being angry, bitter, and upset about this. I have sinned greatly in dealing with this situation.
It came to the point where I had to tell my husband that I no longer wanted to be involved with the situation. I didn’t want to pay the child support, talk to his ex, or even know about anything going on with her or the kids because it is such a huge trigger for sin and the situation is too tempting for me at the moment. If she calls while we are at home together, if he talks to her or the kids when we were in the middle of time together, I still have not learned to be ok in that situation. I will get extremely angry and lash out and start trying to control my husband by telling him to talk to her another time, to hang up, etc. I’ve even threatened to separate from my husband if he didn’t stop talking to her and set boundaries on her disrespect for him and me as his wife.
I share all of this because I want you to see how real the effects are. I know the Lord is able to work in my heart to overcome this jealousy, insecurity, and bitterness. I pray about this a lot. It is an ongoing issue for me, though. I have not come to the place where I can even talk about the situation without having anger, rage, jealousy, etc. In my heart. My husband constantly assures me that he married me because he wanted to be with me, and that it should be enough proof for me to get over all of this. But for some reason, it’s not that easy.
I am not saying that no one should marry a divorced man. What I am saying is this:
Take time to REALLY seek God FIRST before even considering getting involved with a man who was once married with children.
Consider how being married to a man who is divorced with children will honestly effect your emotional/spiritual well-being when you become married.
- Take time to really get to know your husband and about the situation with his ex/kids before committing to marrying into it.
- If possible, get to know his ex/kids before committing to marry if she is open to that. This way, you will be able to have a mature relationship with everyone involved w/o bitterness/resentment/anger/jealousy/insecurity.
- If it is NOT possible to get to know her/the kids BEFORE committing, prayerfully considering how staying out of the situation might benefit and if you can handle that for the rest of your life.
- Evaluate the man’s intentions and his beliefs about how being married to a new woman will look like to him—what are his expectations of you as his new wife? Be sure you know what they are before committing.
- Are you able to submit to a man who might choose to please another woman over you? If you could not be ok with that, I highly suggest you avoid marrying a man who is divorced.
- Consider that the children might be filled with lies about you and your husband and will either reject you or forever hate you and believe the lies .
- Consider how marrying a man who is divorced with his own children will impact your own child/kids—-will the man be willing to step up as a stepfather to your child even though he is not currently able to be a father figure to his own children?
- If you are single with no children and you were never married before, I strongly urge you to seek single men without children to marry, if possible. You might possibly regret not having your very own family with this man, if he already has a family from his past.
- Consider that even women who were on the other end of this situation at one time in their life experience this jealousy and insecurity, no matter what their man does to show/prove that it is her that he wants, and not the ex.
- Consider that God’s way is clearly for ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN, never married, with no children, are to come together in holy matrimony as virgins, in order to showcase the relationship between Christ and His Church, and bring Glory and Honor to the Lord – but if we made mistakes BEFORE being in Christ, there is hope, and we are washed – justified in Christ – and it is now our responsibility to seek GOD’S WILL in whatever place we find ourselves: single mother, divorced woman, single woman, widowed etc. Whatever place we are in, in Christ, let us seek what HE would have us to do in that situation before we make any decisions or take any steps in committing to a man in marriage.
The situation I am in IS NOT FROM GOD! We have weekly adversity from this. The devil has a field day when he gets into either my head or my husband’s head by his ex wife, and we have conflict in our home and marriage because of her. It shouldn’t be this way!
I never would have dreamed that I would grow up and be in the situation I am in. Like every other little girl, I wanted to be married, have my own babies, and be a housewife/mother. That did not happen. And even though I am married, a mother, and a housewife, the reality of my life is far from what it should be, given the facts. My heart is broken, my dreams are crushed, my child is fatherless. There is chaos, strife, temptations, and all kinds of things that are daily a struggle in this situation.
I want to strongly encourage any single lady who is considering marriage or who is already involved in a relationship with a divorced man, to seek the Lord FIRST, and to not be blinded by your own personal desires for marriage.
There is a price to pay when we decide to do what our own hearts want, rather than what the Lord wants. The price is very high, trust me.
Although I do not regret marrying my husband, and I believe that even in this, the Lord can turn it into something for His glory – I do have a lot of regrets in general, and I hope that my mistakes will be to any single lady’s warning and instruction for what they should NOT do.
Please, seek the LORD ABOVE ALL ELSE in Life, and to Honor and glorify His Name alone! Marriage is not more important than honoring the Lord’s Name! His way is right and good, and I pray that all of us would continue to see Him in our hearts as He reveals Himself to us!
Sisters in Christ,
Study the Bible carefully and seek God’s will before jumping into a marriage with a divorced man. There are many scars after a divorce that make another marriage more difficult. Read what the Bible has to say about divorce and remarriage and then seek to honor God’s Word and His prompting for you. There may be some situations where remarriage may be okay in God’s sight. There are also situations where it would be sin. Slow down. Study. Listen to God’s voice. He will lead you in the best way.