I am a divorcee. I am also a second wife (the remarriage kind, not the polygamy kind), a stepmom, and a frustrated ex-wife.

Ask anyone who truly knows me: very often, I have to learn things that hard way. Unfortunately, this sometimes comes at the expense of those around me. My poor decisions that led up to my first marriage (which was also a poor decision) created a world that now creates a harsh reality for me and my children. That reality is a split living arrangement.

Because my kids' "other" home is roughly 45 minutes away from our home, and because they are in this "other" home on Sunday afternoons, Mondays, and Tuesday mornings, the extracurricular activities they are allowed to participate in can be sketchy. Their father often will not allow them to participate in anything in our hometown during "his days" because he would have to drive them down.

This has been problematic in regards to things like sports, summer day camps, even (at times) school attendance. My son's baseball coach has become accustomed to the possibility of him not being able to attend Monday games or practices because it has happened so much.

Both our kids were either tardy or absent so much on Mondays or Tuesdays last year that we decided to home school them this year in order to avoid truancy.

The school thing has been dealt with, but it's in the extracurricular and summer activities that the kids now suffer. For week-long day camps, they have to skip the first two days. Vacation Bible School falls into that same category. Their friends who are fortunate enough to still be part of a nuclear family have no comprehension as to why they cannot spend the night at certain times, and their friends' parents get just as frustrated as I do when their dad doesn't return phone calls or texts.

The point of this is not to vent unnecessarily or to bash the other party. As I said, it was partly my fault for the poor decisions I made. The point is to plead with those with children who may be looking at divorce in the future:

DON'T DO IT!

With the exception of abuse, no matter how much you think you are suffering now, it will only get worse. Give everything it takes to work out your problems with your spouse. To put it simply, if you think you don't get along with your husband or wife now, just wait until you're openly at war. That's exactly what it feels like. Divorced households are often at war, and no one wins. There are only casualties, and it is always the children.

Get in counseling, preferably with a trusted pastor. Treat your spouse like royalty, even if they seem like they're already gone. Pick up a copy of The Love Dare (see www.thelovedarebook.com); check out Family Life's resources for saving your marriage (www.familylife.com), GET HELP! Your children's lives depend on it.

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Tags: battle, children, divorce, ex, ex-husband, ex-wife, spouse, stepfamily, stepmother, war

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