Family

Love Beyond Yourself

Four Rules for Co-Parenting:

  1. Love beyond yourself.
  2. Choose to put your child’s needs first. Sometimes that means putting their other parent (your ex) above your own selfish wants and needs.
  3. Strive for your child to be raised not feeling torn or stuck in the middle.
  4. Pay attention to what you say or how you treat your ex, your child is watching you.

These rules are far from easy. I have failed several times, but I have also learned to process things prior to reacting.

Recently, my son’s stepmom asked how I would feel if they took my son on vacation during Thanksgiving break. I’d love to tell you my initial response was, “of course!”

But it wasn’t.

Our Conversation:

Stepmom: “Just thinking out loud…could we possibly take C out of town for this upcoming Thanksgiving break?

Me: Let me think it through. We have always split the holidays.

Stepmom: That makes sense, let’s think about it, and we can talk as it gets closer. We were trying to think of a good time to take all of them to visit where we grew up!

Me: I am glad you brought it up. Honestly, it would be okay for him to go. I needed to think it through. The selfish shock hit at first and I needed to process it.

As you can tell, we don’t follow a traditional court order, because that’s what works for us.

Co-parenting is a choice.

In this situation, I had to choose to think beyond my selfishness and focus on what my son would miss out on if I held him back.

When my ex and I broke up over a decade ago, I had the choice to always live in bitterness or to put aside the past and focus on our son.

It’s not always easy to co-parent, but it’s worth it when you hear your child say,

 “I love that you all get along.”

Co-Parenting
My parents with us at my son’s dad’s wedding.

Sometimes you’ll truly become family with your ex and their new family, and other times you may just get along with them for your child’s sake.

Have you ever thought about how Jesus would want you to love your child’s other parent and their new family?

Jesus wasn’t suggesting in Matthew 22:39 “love your neighbor as yourself,” it was a command.

Jesus didn’t make easy decisions;

  • He chose to love the outcast.
  • He chose to put others above himself which is why he died on the cross for us.

“Jesus exemplified how we should live.”

It’s not natural to put others above ourselves, especially our exes and their new family, but when it comes to our child, we should.

Our child didn’t choose to have a split family or to be raised in different households with different rules.

Why wouldn’t we try to make it the best experience and provide two sets of parents that love and care for them?

To me, this is Co-Parenting:

  • Your family grows bigger and sometimes you must agree to disagree.
  • You choose love when you don’t want to
  • You put yourself in the other person’s shoes

I think this is how Jesus wants us to live.

Spiritual Workout:

  • How do you love like Jesus when it doesn’t come naturally?
  • Is there someone that comes to mind that you need to choose to agree to disagree with?

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8 Comments

  1. Joey Valencia says:

    I love this! Truly blessed.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      We are truly blessed! Thank you for being you and wanting us to co-parent together!

  2. Tonya says:

    This is FANTASTIC post Elizabeth. This was one of the first things I recognized of y’all upon meeting you years ago. I remember thinking I wish I’d here more stories of co-parenting like this, she should teach on it . ? Keep shining your light ?

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Thank you so much, Tonya! I truly have always appreciated your enthusiasm and excitement for life! Your encouragement with this blog has meant a lot to me. I am so glad we’re family! I truly do pray that the trend of hating your ex will change, and people will start co-parenting and putting their kids first. It’s worth it on so many levels.

  3. Jackie says:

    This was an excellent piece to read and think about. So many need to read it and put it in their hearts. So many families are torn apart any more and so much anger and bitterness taught to the children, It’s hard to have an unselfish heart.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I wish the trend was to co-parent and to love selflessly. As I mention in the blog, this can apply to any relationship, but people get caught up in their own emotions and hurt and choose to live in bitterness. I felt compelled to write this as God put it in my heart and I truly do hope society will one day change and promote getting along with your ex. I also pray people will choose to put their kids first and let go of their anger towards their ex. I truly appreciate your words of encouragement and you reading my blog! Thank you!

  4. Rachel A Manfredi says:

    I’ve always thought you handle co-parenting so well! It impressive and inspiring! God shines through you and people see it! Christian is so lucky to have you as a mom, Joey and his new wife are blessed as well! May it only get easier, better, and always God centered! Love you friend! what a blessing you are!

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Thank you!!! I appreciate your kind words! I have always appreciated your support so much and having you there by my side!

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