Emily, far left, is Carl’s oldest child and the youngest of our three girls. Andrew, far right, is his son and the youngest of the bunch. Sarah, 2nd from left, is my youngest, and Lindsey, 2nd from right, is my firstborn and the oldest of the bunch. I’ve written quite a bit about Lindsey and Sarah, but Emily and Andrew don’t get as much air time, mainly because they don’t cause me as much grief, and also because they only live with us on weekends. We share them with their mother, April, whom I affectionately refer to as my ex-wife-in-law, and her husband, Andy. April and Carl have managed to remain best friends because they both are fiercely devoted to the children they share and are committed to raising them to be healthy and well-adjusted. She and I have become close friends as well as partners in prayer for our children.
Most everyone I know thinks it mighty peculiar that we would even consider being friendly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of the benefits is that there are never any arguments about what’s best for the kids. Discussions are handled out of earshot of the kids, and decisions are agreed upon by the parents. Mom knows best, and we stand behind her decisions. The kids know this, and they rarely try to play one side against the other.
Another benefit is that she knows my husband as well as I do. I see the puzzled expression on your face. While you wipe it off, I’ll explain. Carl is a prodigal. His godly mother raised him and his siblings in church. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior as a child, then somewhere along the way his faith took a nosedive. As his story is not mine to tell, I’ll skip to the heart of the matter. A few years after he and April divorced, she remarried, gave her life to Christ, and led Emily and Andrew to the Lord. She and Andy began praying for Carl, specifically that he would find a godly woman to marry who would be a good influence on him and the kids. (Funny thought: I may not be the answer to his prayers, but his mother and his ex-wife tell me I’m the answer to theirs. That cracks me up.)
So April prayed me into his life, and we are now partners in prayer for his restoration. Here’s the benefit of her knowing him so well: in discussions of matters of faith, she has no problem stepping on his toes or arguing a point with him. She’ll get right up in his face without hesitation and tell it like it is. He rarely gets angry with her, no matter how spirited the discussion, and even if he does, the peace in our home remains intact. I don’t have to say anything. I just nod in agreement with her and in keeping with the principle set forth in 1 Peter 3: 1-2 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”
This didn’t start out as a WFMW post, but let me tell you, being sisters in Christ with my ex-wife-in-law works for me!