QUESTION: My daughter married a man four years ago who has a daughter who is now 11. My daughter and the man’s daughter have never gotten along and every time the child visits, it seems she does something to annoy and/or infuriate my daughter. This time, the kid cut the cat’s whiskers, which I’m told should not be done. My daughter is seething and says, “No more visits” even though her husband is supposed to have the girl every other weekend.
Is there something I can do to help keep peace in this family? I might add I get along fine with the little girl.
Myth, story and legend are full of conflicts between stepmothers and daughters. Such relationships often carry the burden of unwanted responsibilities, resentments, and conflicted loyalties. But such conflicts are completely resolved when we see the larger spiritual picture. Namely, that even if we are not connected by blood, we are all connected and united in Spirit. The Life that courses through you is the very same Life that courses through your daughter and step-grand daughter. Rev. Ike, whom I love to quote, once said that each of us is a Definite manifestation of the Infinite. So if we can focus on our greater Spirit relation, and not the narrower blood relation, conflicts will end in resolution, harmony, good will and love. I see in you that spiritual goodness that seeks harmony and love between your daughter and step-granddaughter; and I am impressed.
I wrote several weeks ago how children often reflect our opinion of them in their behavior. The fact that she is good with you is because you see the good in her. Believe me, all children need to see and feel our positive goodwill and belief in them. I appreciate your desire for a healing here. So let’s do it.
Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe. It is always answered. Because it is so powerful, you must ask permission from your daughter and your granddaughter. Ask them if you can say a little prayer for them. Once they say yes, you may say this: “I give thanks for the wonderful, harmonious, caring and loving relationship between my daughter and granddaughter. All of us delight in its joy, goodness and happiness.” Say this everyday, and watch their relationship begin to grow and blossom just like a flower would from the water and nourishment your prayer gives it.
Anthony Kelson, RScP
Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta
You are wise to worry about your daughter’s family. Her insistence on no more visits is not something a responsible adult would do. I wonder where your son-in-law fits into this picture. He should discipline his daughter and help his wife accept the child. Perhaps you can speak with him about stepping up and making sure both females in his life understand he loves them, albeit in different ways.
From the little information presented, it seems your daughter is jealous of the 11-year-old, who was only 7 when she became part of the family. Perhaps you can praise your daughter and raise her self-esteem so she isn’t threatened by the girl. Maybe you can host activities with the two of them that they both enjoy and help build bonds between them. With the holidays coming up, baking cookies together or planning decorations for whatever winter holidays the family celebrates might demonstrate how cooperation often gets better results than competition.
There are many resources for blended families from self-help books to counseling; I would encourage your daughter and son-in-law to pursue them.
If you are up to it and your daughter and son-in-law agree, you might offer to take the child for part of their weekend to ease the pressure a bit. On the other hand, your daughter could take a weekend away from home and let the girl and her father have some time together.
Lastly, I hope someone has explained to the girl how important a cat’s whiskers are to its ability to navigate spaces and how wrong it is to take out her frustrations on a helpless animal. It is critical that this situation improve.
My sympathies to all concerned.
QUESTION: My fiancé recently broke up with me. We’ve known each other for five years, and were engaged for two. We’re both in our early 30s. He told me he has observed friends who are married and several of them have told him they would never marry again. He told me there is no one else, he just doesn’t want to be married. He also said he wants to remain friends, but given the circumstances, I don’t want to do that.
I’m devastated and heart-broken. Do you have any suggestions that will help me get over the hurt that is haunting me day and night?
I am terribly sorry you have had to suffer this loss given that you invested half a decade of your life in this man and expected to be invested to its conclusion. I am not one who believes in extended engagements, especially when there are already several years of history prior to that time. My question would be: “What was the hold up?”
I fear that you have reaped the result of a modern relationship, where perhaps all the fringe benefits of marriage were enjoyed without that all-important paper that makes it legally/divinely binding and personally/publicly committed.
On the plus side (if you can even fathom there to be one), only five, rather than 10 or 15 years were lost on this man, and you now know him (and perhaps yourself) more truly than you did. See it as the half-full cup rather than half-empty.
You are also now in the prime of your life, wiser for the wear, and new, better love is surely out there for you: one which you more certainly deserve. Keep your belief in marriage, as it’s God’s intention for you, and reserve any marital benefits till the day a man says, “I do;” that is also God’s will. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 NIV).
Pastor Bryan Griem
Montrose Community Church
My heart goes out to you in understanding for the time you have invested in this relationship, and the intense emotional pain you must be experiencing. What I’ve learned over the 20 years I’ve been a spiritual counselor is there is a gift in every crisis. I gather from the information you provided that your former fiancé is immature and more than likely self-centered. Marriage is a sacred covenant between two individuals and requires unconditional love, shared partnership in every aspect of the marriage and understanding. My intuition tells me had you married this man, there would have been an imbalance in your relationship with you doing most of the giving. Although at this time you are experiencing a deep hurt, be thankful you didn’t marry him. God has something much better in store for you.
Now, it’s time to shut the door on this experience and move on to higher ground, with the expectation that your life will be full of love and joy. This may sound difficult; however, emotional pain is resolved and dissolved by taking the focus off negative circumstances and praising the good already present in your life. Make a gratitude list and review it daily. An attitude of gratitude has its rewards. I also suggest you make a list of the qualities you would like in a future relationship, with Commitment being at the top of the list.
When Jesus left his earthly experience, he promised he would send us a Counselor, the Holy Spirit to help us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you release the pain and discomfort you are currently experiencing and also ask Him for Divine Guidance and discernment in your selection of a future mate.
God Bless You in your future relationship endeavors!
Rev. Beverly Craig
Center for Spiritual Living -