Q: My dad and mom have being arguing a lot, and my dad moved out the house for a while. My mom said she doesn’t want him to move back in because she doesn’t like the way he treated me and my sister. Is it okay to blame my dad? Could they ever get back together? How do I get though this?

I am so sorry that you have to go through this, sis. Adults can be pretty childish sometimes, and unfortunately, the actual children are usually the ones who are hurt the most by their parents’ bad choices. Please believe this, sis: Your parents’ decisions are not your fault, no matter how personal it feels. It’s such a difficult place to be, as a daughter, knowing that a huge part of your happiness (having a family that all get along and love each other the way God intended) is largely not in your control. While I can’t tell you whether your parents will ever get back together (although, I hope they do if it’s a healthy thing for your family!), I can give you some tips for getting through the separation. Of course, there aren’t any three-step plans to make everything rainbows and sunshine again, but I do think it’s possible to endure a separation, and even divorce, without completely bottoming out.

Go to God

The best advice I can give you, sis, is to turn to the One who IS in control. I don’t know what kind of a relationship you have (if any) with God, but I do know that He wants to use even this terrible situation to bring you closer to Him. Every human in your life will let you down at some point in time–that’s just one of those difficult facts of life. But God never will. He loves you and wants to wrap His arms around you on those nights when everything feels like it’s falling apart and you just want to cry for hours. And He loves you just as much when you just feel like screaming or running away! Your emotions can never scare Him off. When you look back years from now, you may find that God was closest to you during this difficult season, IF you’re willing to let Him be a part of your healing. In Jeremiah  29:13-14 (The Message) God says, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. ”

Find a Healthy Release

There are all sorts of unhealthy ways to cope with stress. Pretty much every addiction in the book starts out as a coping mechanism to deal with emotional hurt: drugs, self-injury, eating disorders, premarital sex… you name it. Problem is, none of those addictions help a person get past their hurt. They just compound it. So rather than go down one of those roads, find a healthy release! Start a hobby, join a sports team, pick up a journal, or find somewhere to volunteer. These (and others like them) are much better uses of your time, and they’ll actually help you instead of hurt you.

Keep Talking

When parents have marital problems, sometimes the communication around home gets a little awkward. I’d encourage you to talk with your mom (and maybe dad too) about what’s on your heart, keeping in mind that they are hurting too. No, you don’t have to tell them everything, and they don’t have to share everything with you, but by being open you might overcome some of that “hush, hush” that sometimes surrounds situations like these. And talk with your friends about what you’re feeling too. Most friends want to listen and want to be there for you. Just try not to only talk about life at home. Remember to laugh and have fun too!

Aw, sis. I’m just so sorry that you’re going through this. Please feel free to email anytime. If you want to vent, or need some Bible verses to look up, I would love to be here for you!

Love,