What should you do when meeting someone online and he or she is a single parent? Here are some insights on what to do, what to expect, and what the best outcome is for a relationship when children are involved.
Should I be concerned about marrying someone with children if I don’t have any?
Questions relating to children in a relationship are often received. There are some who write with the implication that it is a terrible thing when people are considering marriage when one of them does not have children and the other one does.
First of all, I cannot think of any scriptures that would be directly applicable to this circumstance. While I do not believe that this is a ‘scriptural’ consideration, I think that those involved should move slowly as they discover the answer for their relationship.
Stepparents can make an awesome difference in the lives of children
I must confess upfront that I am biased on this topic from my own positive experience. My Mother and Father divorced when I was 5 years old and my sister was 3. The custody rights went to my Father with my sister and I visiting our Mother for a short time each summer. These summer visits were the highlight of the year for both of us. My Mother remarried to a man who did not have children. However, he was a better Father to me than my own Father and he brought so much positive into my world. I can still recall the stories he made come alive and the way he valued me. Stepparents can make an awesome difference in the lives of children.
How I wish that every story relating to children were this positive. Too often the children are not part of the consideration and their feelings suffer needlessly. If this is part of your consideration, for the sake of everyone – take some time to build a healthy relationship.
Here are some thoughts that I believe should be considered as relates to children:
- Do not involve the children at the early stages of the relationship (Dating with Children). It would be okay for them to meet, but do not try to build a rapport between the children and everyone they meet. Either they will want ever person to become their parent or they will hate everyone who they see as competition with their parent. It can be a very confusing time for children. Wait until the relationship takes on a more serious tone.
- Very often the person without children in the relationship does not have an objective perspective of what life is like with children. I suggest taking a slow process for the sake of all involved. Early stages of a relationship are often filled with fantasies rather than realities. The childless member will be so in love (infatuated) with the other person that they will think that they can conquer all. Again, time is the best course.
- Once the relationship takes on a more serious note, the children should be included – at regular intervals. I suggest that you make it a fun experience for them – and adventure that they look forward to doing. Do not suddenly include the children in everything you do, but slowly build them into the relationship. It is equally important that the couple have their own time to continue to build their relationship.
- The childless member should not try to be the Father or Mother for the children. This does not work!! It is a very challenging process to work out discipline issues, etc. in these circumstances. My words here are not intended to be the all in all answer to this topic. Seek out counseling in your church or with a Christian counselor to guide you in this area of relating to children.
- After the relationship turns serious, the two should spend many sessions talking about what each other’s expectations are as relates to the children. This will serve you well in:
- in will build a healthy bond between the two of you in this VERY vital area that will serve you well in your marriage; or,
- it will surface that this is not the best course for you and you will accept that the relationship should not continue. This will be very hard but is so much better than years of turmoil.
Take your time to do the process right.
Children are a blessing from God. I have been blessed with 2 wonderful children who are now grown and successful in their own lives. They are a joy to me each and every day. I also have the privilege of relating to my wife’s two children. I have an added blessing in now being a grandparent. Would you like to hear.
This should be a happy and exciting experience for all involved – children and mates. TAKE YOUR TIME to do the process right and reap the benefits from doing so. You can be the one of memories if you choose!