Through a mutual friend, I’ve been blessed to get to know Ron Block.
For the past twenty years, Ron Block has been the spiritual touchstone of Alison Krauss and Union Station, contributing sterling musicianship on banjo, guitar, vocals, and songwriting.
Last week, as I was preparing a message on divorce for Journey Christian Church, Ron wrote me with some insights that I found especially beneficial.
Ron’s parents divorced when he was five.
I asked his permission to post his comments on my blog.
Here are Ron Block’s thoughts on divorce:
If divorce is necessary as an absolute last resort:
1. Be amicable, kind, as understanding as possible to your spouse. Especially in front of the children. If you are having trouble with anger issues, get counseling.
2. Never talk badly about your ex to your children. Ever. They are not your sounding boards or surrogate friends or worse, surrogate spouses. They are your children. Their minds, hearts, and characters will be formed or deformed by how you handle yourself.
3. Ask the kids individually how they feel about it. Make sure they know it wasn’t their fault, that mom and dad love them dearly. Get them good Christian counseling if necessary. Whatever it takes.
4. Live as close together as possible. At least in the same town.
5. Think long and hard before you remarry. That potential step parent had better treat your kids like beloved gold, loving them as their own. If you are marrying someone with children, it is in the entire family’s best interest that you treat those children with affectionate love and discipline. As a parent, your personal happiness must often take a backseat to the future well-being of your children.
6. Don’t feel sorry for your kids, pity them, and then try to make up for it in strange ways, like buying way too many gifts, giving them lots of ice cream, or all the ways we try to buy ourselves out of guilt. Love your kids with lots of closeness and affection, and discipline them. Otherwise you’re programming them for adulthood with self-pity and self-indulgence when they feel bad. Teach them. Train them for eternal life, and train them for what life in this temporal world is like.
7. If all this seems too much, or impossible, etc., get with God. Dig in. Ask him to work his will in your life no matter what the cost, whatever it takes, to make you into the man or woman, the spouse, the parent he designed you to be. All things are possible with God, by grace, through faith – that is, through relying on and trusting in his love, presence, and power at all times. Also, if you have divorced and done things like speaking badly about your children’s mother or father to them, or have had fights in front of them, repent and thank God for his forgiveness, confess it to your family, and definitely forgive yourself and move on to let God change things.
Ron then wrote me back and asked me to add this to his previous statements:
We all do crazy things sometimes that require the forgiveness of God and others.