My Spouse or My Kids?

My Kids or My Spouse?

You married for love. You married forever. But you never expected your marriage would involve having to choose between your new spouse an...

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Please the Master

This cute little video is really a life lesson lived out before you. In it, we learn all we need to do to please our Master.

1) come when we are called - even if we're tired or doing something else

2) give Him our full attention, sit quietly

3) unless asked to speak up for Him

4) heed His call to prayer

5) bow humbly at your Master's feet

6) pray sincerely, remembering others and to say thank you

7) never fear to ask for help to be a better person

8) enjoy His blessings and provision

9) accept and enjoy His love and praise when we do well

Bob Collins

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Long? - Ex-files

[NOTE: the following is an excerpt from my newest marriage relationship book, Guiding Your Children through Divorce]

An important factor to hold onto is that your relationship with your children’s other parent will never, never end. Far too many people are under the misconception that a divorce ends the relationship between a husband and wife. But if you have children, 
your lives are tied together forever.

Let me explain what I mean. Your children hold certain expectations for you and their other parent, expectations they will almost demand you either uphold or pay dearly for not upholding. In your children’s eyes, parents are supposed to do certain things, like attend their school functions, their ball games, band concerts, or whatever. No matter 
how you get along with your soon-to-be ex, your kids will expect to see the two of you sitting in the bleachers to watch them play— maybe they don’t expect you to be seated together holding hands and visiting pleasantly, but they do expect you both to show up. You’ll be called on to attend second grade plays, and junior high and senior high ball games. And you’ll be expected to both be at their high school graduation. Now, they won’t expect you to talk to each other because they’ll be teenagers and with their friends, but they will want to see that Mom and Dad cared enough to show up.

Then, shortly after graduation, you’ll both be expected to attend their wedding. And they won’t want to have someone poke their head in the back room and say, “Hey, can you come out here and get your mom and dad to settle down. They’re making everyone uncomfortable.” This is their special day. They want you to show up, look pretty, pose 
for pictures, and play nice together. In fact, they’ll be counting on it.

And then after that, probably in the middle of the night, you’ll get a phone call saying 
to hurry to the hospital because the baby is about to be born. And you’ll hustle off to 
see your baby have a baby. And I promise you, they won’t want to hear anything like, “Well you know I can’t come up while she’s there!” or “Not while that woman’s around, 
I won’t!” They frankly won’t give a single care about your petty squabbles or your hurt feelings. They’ve just had a baby. They’re tired and starry-eyed. They just want you to come in quietly, ooo and aww over the baby, pose for more pictures, then get out so they can rest. And THEN, that baby will expect (brace yourself) grandma and grandpa (that’s you) to both show up for his or her kindergarten graduation and little play and choral concert, and so on. It goes on and on.

Your responsibilities to work together and to get along will go on as long as your children and your grandchildren are alive. So you’d do well to figure out now a way to make this work. Because some very important people are demanding a lot from you. And there’s no piece of paper that will get you out of their needs and expectations.

Since your children will be a primary focus in your life for a long time to come, how you handle your divorce is extremely important to your new relationship. Your new spouse will be profoundly affected by the way you build your new relationship with your ex-spouse and your children. I've seen far too many second or third marriages destroyed by a mis-managed earlier divorce.

I'll be talking more about how to make this work in upcoming blog posts. This new guidebook is taken directly from my award winning lessons for newly divorcing parents, which I've taught for nearly seven years to thousands of about-to-be single parents. You can get a copy for yourself at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When I Am the Brat

Twila Paris sings a song, The Warrior is A Child, about a Christian minister who falls into his Father's arms when he gets hurt or tired, despite others thinking he is a tough warrior. I love that song because it so clearly depicts the parent's or stepparent's dilemma. We are supposed to be strong, to remain calm and wise, to bear all the stepkids' attacks and our own children's tests, and to be saintly to our dear spouse. But we can be just as weak and just as prone to failures as anyone else in our family ... can't we?

I lost it last night. I have excuses. Input overload; tired from pressures of work; frustrated over numerous small problems; a slow Internet signal; cats determined to steal some of our cheese dip; on and on. You know, life. Anyway, one straw too many was dropped onto this camel's back and I sort of, you know, ... exploded at everyone. Threw a fit. Had a tantrum. Acted inappropriately. And ruined what had been until my outburst a perfect evening at home. My darling wife had blessed me with a short nap when we got home, then a wonderful dinner, then a quiet evening together. And I blew it.

On my way to work this morning I stopped at a little park on the way and gathered the fragments of my mind for a moment by the lake. It is a perfectly still, cool morning today, so the surface of the lake is like a sheet of glass. No ducks or geese make trails across the water today. As I look at the lake, I see so clearly the trees, rocks, and walkers on the other side of the lake, reflected in the pristine surface. An occasional bubble from a bottom feeding turtle breaks the surface and causes ripples that disrupt the serene picture in the liquid mirror, but overall it's perfect.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I Am God." And, once again, He is right.

When I am at peace, I more clearly reflect God. Looking at that lake surface, you have to really focus to see the lake itself. Instead, you see what is reflected on it's peaceful face, in this case, the beautiful natural setting on the other side of the lake. When I am at peace, you do not at first see me. You see what I reflect.

However, on a windy day when waves disrupt the lake, or when outside forces disturb it (like ducks or rocks thrown by someone), the lake itself jumps into view. You lose the serene picture of the reflection and are jolted back to looking only at the lake and what's disturbing it.

How much time do you devote to peaceful meditation and prayer? How many times during the day do you sit aside the jangling issues of your life to find your peaceful, quiet center? ("Be still and know that I Am God.")

If you are a spouse to someone you value; if you are a parent to a normal child; if you are a stepparent to a "typical" stepchild, you need to "renew your strength" on a regular basis. To be who your mate, your children, and your stepchildren depend on, you must give them the gift of a peaceful you. And in order to have that peaceful you available for them, you must take time for your surface to grow calm.

I know, I know. In a hectic daily grind life of work, chores, responsibilities, parenting, marriage, and everything else, it can seem impossible to find your quiet self. But of all your tasks, this one is one of the most important. You MUST do it. In order to be the person your family is depending upon, you MUST repair your soul regularly. Join a prayer group or a Bible study class or a yoga class. Find a quiet park on the way to work and leave early enough to stop there. Hire a coach to guide you.

Get something in place to help you. Because, if you're like the vast majority of overburdened individuals out there, you'll set it aside and place your serenity last. If you put it off, if you let it slide, you will wake up someday ashamed and disturbed at what you've become. You owe it to your family, your God, and yourself to do this.

If you just cannot find a way to find your peaceful center otherwise, I will help. But whatever method or assistant you choose, DO IT. Your future is counting on you.

God bless your whole family!
STEPcoach Bob Collins

To hear Twila Paris' song and read the lyrics, you can go here:

Show your STEPfamily Pride!