Family Tug O’ War


Push and pull. Tit for tat. Keeping score.  Dig your heels in.  Gotta win. You know what a tug o’ war is all about, right?  Sometimes it can be just for fun and sometimes it is what keeps families or the workplace in turmoil.

Where this really takes root is when families break up and relationships begin to fall apart.  One parent leaves and the other is left with the kids in a damaged homelife.  Nothing is the same, tears flow, and each person goes to “their own corners” to lick their wounds and isolate.  Maybe this has happened in your family.  Now, what do you do?

You may begin to feel anger in this cycle of grief and try to figure out how you are going to “win.”  You call an attorney, you vent to friends, you seek your “rights.”  STOP!  Look into the eyes of your children!  They don’t care who wins;  they just want their family back together!  They don’t want legal battles;  they want a resolution.  They don’t want custody battles; they want to have you two quit fighting. Parents are supposed to fix it, not break it apart.  Can you lay your weapons down and find a way to resolve the differences, forgive the hurts, and seek help for a stronger family?  Well, can you?  WILL you?

Sometimes, there is just too much water under the bridge, too much damage, and it becomes apparent that there is no hope for the marriage to be saved.  First thing is to keep the kids off your battlefield.  Period.  They did nothing to destroy the family.  They had no choice in any of it.  In the tug o’ war of divorce, let it only be between the two of you.  Don’t bring extended family members into your battle and try to prove you are right and that you have been wronged.  Let advisors and attorneys grab the ends of the rope and keep your loved ones from picking up your end of the rope.

Here’s an idea.  Give your end of the rope to the Lord God and let Him guide you through this horrendous time.  This is not His ideal for you, but it isn’t always in our control where we find ourselves, is it?

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matt. 11:28,29

Another level of tug o’ war is when there is a remarriage and the push and pull escalates between two families trying to come together. Issues with exes, his kids, her kids, custody details,  discipline issues, financial battles, etc. add more thickness to the rope.

Gordon and Carri Taylor will be my guest on the Chained No More internet radio show on Tuesday, June 9 at 2-3 pm EST at  They have lived the stepfamily battle and have wonderfully helpful resources to set stepfamilies up for success.  If you miss the show, you can download the podcast at   

If you are struggling with the tug o’ war of separation/divorce/stepfamily, set your end of the rope down long enough to kneel before the Lord God and seek His guidance.  Let Him pick up your end WITH you and find your strength in Him today.