By: Pastor Taiwo Iredele Odubiyi
Bola decided to talk. “It’s just that I’m wondering why you didn’t love Mommy.”
Femi was surprised. “Mommy? Do you mean your mother?”
“I loved her. Why should you think I didn’t love her?”
As he talked, he silently asked God for wisdom to handle her.
“No, you did not.” Bola said. “You had misunderstandings and shouted at each other when both of you thought Abbey and I were not looking.”
“That does not mean that I did not love her.”
“You did not treat her the way you treat your wife.”
Your wife?! When did she start referring to Ibie that way? Femi wondered and inhaled deeply, thinking of how to explain things to her. Then he said, “We loved each other our own way. Your mother was a good woman and she gave me two wonderful children but as we must have mentioned to you and your brother, we were not Christians when we got married. If we had known better, we probably would not have married each other or we might not have married at the time we did. Yes, we had issues but … I stayed with her to make our marriage work. I didn’t divorce her, and I wouldn’t have married another woman if she hadn’t passed on.”
“I never saw you sit and laugh together like you do with … your wife.” She said grudgingly.
Your wife? Femi thought. He would have to talk to her to deal with it but first, he had to address her issue. He said, “That is true but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to or try. Er … as I said before, she was a good woman but … the truth is that … She -” he thought of how to put it, “She wasn’t that kind of person.”
“What do you mean by that?” “I mean … most of the time she didn’t want me to touch her. If I took her hand, she would brush it away or get up.”
“But she liked Abbey and me to hold her hands. She laughed and played with us -”
“We also laughed and played sometimes.” Femi said.
“If she didn’t want to spend time with you or didn’t want to be touched by you, it was because she was not happy with you.”
“Yes, I know. That’s what I said. We had issues. She was a good woman. If she hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have married her in the first place. I’m not blaming her, both of us caused the problems.” He said. “But … I’ll tell you something that you must not forget because it will help you when you get married. No matter how you feel or what may happen in your marriage, never push your husband away or close him out of your life. Even if you’re not happy with him, you must continue to love him while you continue praying.”
They didn’t talk for some seconds. Then Bola said, “I think of her often. I miss her.”
“I miss her too.”
“You do?” She looked at him suspiciously.
He nodded. “In spite of the differences we had, I do miss her. She gave me you and your brother. She was my wife.” He was silent for a few seconds before he added, “I could go for days without thinking much about her but then it comes again. I do think about her.” Bola didn’t talk. Femi spoke again. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe she’s gone.”
“Me too.” He could tell that she was trying to hold back her tears.
“But God is with us. And I want you to know that Ibie loves you and your brother. Or is there something else you need to tell me that I haven’t noticed?” When Bola didn’t talk, he went on, “Whatever you tell me about Ibie, I will handle it carefully and do something about it. I will always be there for you. I’m sure you trust me.” “I miss my mother.” She simply said. He nodded. “I know.” “No one can replace her in my heart.” Femi took a deep breath. “I know.” He repeated. “And no one can buy my love.” “What do you mean?” She didn’t answer. “Bola?” She shrugged. “And why have you been referring to Ibie as my wife?” “Because she’s your wife.” “That’s true but she’s Mummy to you.” He said in a nice way. “I can assure you that Ibie is not trying to replace your mother in your life. Your mother will always be your mother. Neither is she trying to buy your love. She’s just trying to do her part and love you because you’re my children. She truly cares for you. She’s a pastor and a mother. I understand your feelings but … you need to move on and love. Accept her … free your mind. You need to open your heart, love and keep on smiling.”
“I feel she will eventually take you away from us.”
“That’s not going to happen.” He assured her. “Ibie will not take me away from you. She’s a good woman.”
“She might be pretending like some women do before marriage.”
“I know that Ibie’s not pretending.” Femi said. … Bola took a deep breath before she told him, “I feel sad sometimes. Sad and angry.”
“Thank you for being honest with me.” He took her hand. “I appreciate your honesty but I need to say that you must be careful about such feelings. They are dangerous.”
(Culled from the novel THE FOREVER KIND OF LOVE)
I wrote the novel The Forever Kind of Love to deal with a number of issues including how to handle a step child. Quite a number of children will resent the idea of a replacement for their mother and there would be trouble if their feeling is not properly handled.
Here are six of the things a father can do to deal with his child’s bad attitude towards his wife and help the child adjust to the change in the family,
1) Don’t stop being involved in your child’s life. Show interest in his/her activities.
2) Talk with your child. Find out how your child feels about the change and reassure him or her of your love. Let your child know that you are not being taken away.
3) Love your wife and let your child know that you love your wife. Let your wife too know that you love your child.
4) If your child has questions, observations or just want to talk with you, create time to listen to your child, talk and wisely answer the questions.
5) If you observe that some things are going wrong in your child’s relationship with your wife, don’t ignore it but correct it.
6) Don’t insult or say bad things about the child’s mother.