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Do you have a question about how Christianity can be applied in your daily life?  Read some questions and answers from RLC's column in the Pembroke Observer and feel free to ask your own questions!  This Blog will give you a sample of some past columns.


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Between a Rock and a Hard Place- December 18, 2010
January 16, 2011

Dear Sam,

  I’m stuck in the middle of my divorced parents’ refusal to realize that they each have their own separate lives now. My mom won’t come to Christmas dinner without her new boyfriend, and dad won’t come if mom doesn’t come alone. My siblings are putting pressure on me to sort this out as if it were my personal problem, which it is and it isn’t. If I refuse to host the dinner, our whole family will fall apart and it will be my fault. I hate this, and I’m starting to hate my family. Is there an answer?
   -Between a rock and a hard place-

Dear Between,

  You’ve been given an assignment by the family, and even to your own detriment, you intend to carry it out. Obedience and responsibility are fine qualities, but be careful to whom and about what you will be obedient. Your main concern should be your own husband and children and the impact this has on them. What if you invite everyone you want to have at your dinner, and then just let them decide whether they will accept the invitation. If mom and dad need to find out whether the conditions are such that they will attend, let them fight it out with each other. They surely didn’t get a divorce because they don’t know how to fight!
   You are in the middle because going through you insulates them. They can each blame you and make a contest out of who will win your affection and approval. You don’t need to react to that.
   Tensions will rise the minute you decide to get out of the middle, and maybe those tensions scare you. Maybe by becoming the victim of everyone’s criticisms you are actually protecting them from each other. But you are also preventing them from the interpersonal struggles they need to engage in to come to some conclusions about who they are and what they want.
   Oops, that word “struggles” is probably the issue here. How about making you the struggler, and everyone else can just observe and never have to get involved? All unhappiness can be focused toward you as if you alone are the problem. Well, your family members have solved their problem thanks to you.
   If you decide that you actually do want to get out of the middle, here is how to do it in a way that will be healthy for you.

  1) Stay calm. Rather than overreacting to all the demands, underreact and take a low-key approach when stress hits. Use your energy to control your desire to save everyone.

  2) Stay out of it - no helping, no fixing, no criticizing, no advising, no taking sides. Say “Mom, I know you love your family and will make the best decision you can.” “Dad, we all want you to be there and we hope you can manage it.”

  3) Hang in there. Be sure to maintain an emotional closeness with every member of your family. You might need some temporary distance when things get unpleasant, but don’t cut the ties.

  This will be a difficult transition, so you would be wise to enlist someone, your pastor, a counsellor, a wise friend to keep you on track. Because you will be changing the dynamics, the others will have to adjust. They won’t be happy at first, but at least you will know that you are giving them a chance to work out their own destiny. God’s Blessings to your family.

INSIDE THE ISSUE is authored thru Resurrection Lutheran Church, 250 Quarry Rd. Pembroke. Sunday Worship at 10:30am


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