Each of us should continue to learn to love each other as Christ has loved us. And, I can’t think of a better place to learn how to really love than in a stepfamily. It’s a daily choice to choose to love others as God has loved us. It’s a growing process but that process begins with wanting to please God by loving the ones He has sent us. And that always begins with our family whether it’s blended or not. You and I both chose to marry our spouses and we knew they had kids. So with God’s grace and help, we need to choose to learn to love those kids even when they are unlovable. You would do no less for your own child, right? I am not talking about enabling any of the kids; I’m talking about doing for your stepchild as you would for your own child in the same situation.
A couple came to me this week with the following scenario:
First, a little background. Ted and Susie have a great marriage. They enjoy many of the same things and have learned to accept each other’s child. Susie has a grown son and Ted has a grown daughter. Both are wonderful kids, but like all of us, have some areas they need to grow in. Ted and Susie help their kids out when they can and when it seems appropriate. Since they were married, they have combined their money unlike some blended couples that keep their money separate.
They are working through a situation right now that they need some wisdom in. And this is where I would like you, the listener, to come in.
What would you do in this situation?
Ted and Susie are saving for their retirement, which hopefully will be in the near future. They have some great plans once they do not have to be at a job on a daily basis. They say they will never stop working; but I quote them “we will retire and refire with something new to do”. In the meantime, they are being frugal and trying to save where they can.
Ted’s daughter is a lovely woman but has never been a saver and always seems to buy the latest and greatest whether she needs it or not. And that would be fine if she could afford it. Over the past few years, she has gotten herself into debt and sees no way out. She continually makes excuses for why she can’t further her education even though she has a grant to help her do so. Every semester she says she will be going back to school the next semester and this has been going on for quite some time now.
She has a fixed income but has not stayed within her budget. There is no reason why she can’t go out and make extra money but she has not chosen to do so. Both Ted and Susie say she has some self-discipline issues; she does not choose to take care of the things she does have. Her apartment is always a mess, her car the same and she admits she borders on hoarding.
Susie says she is a very sweet and thoughtful woman but this problem of hers is something she needs to decide to do something about. Susie feels that only their daughter can stop spending and start saving her money. Only she can better herself with higher education and only she can decide to discipline herself enough to take care of the things she already has and only she can choose to stop buying more stuff that she really doesn’t need.
Ted feels they should give her some money to help get her out of the debt she has dug herself into but Susie feels they would be enabling her to continue on the same path. Ted points out that they helped Susie’s son when he needed help financially and now they should do the same for his daughter. Susie wants to help but she is not sure that giving Ted’s daughter money is really the kind of help she needs.
What do you think? What would you do? And maybe you have a story of your own that you would like to share.
I look forward to your responses, I will let you know the consensus of what you think Ted and Susie should do.
Proverbs 24:6 says
“for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in the abundance of counselors there is victory.”
Ted and Susie both want to do what’s best for their daughter. They both would like to help her but want to give her the kind of help that will last and truly help her.
So, what say you?