Two Homes, Two Sets of Values
After their parents divorce, having two homes with two different sets of values can make the blending process especially difficult for children. As a teen, Melody Fabien was hearing one thing about dating and relationships from her mom, and something very different from her dad who had recently come to Christ. She tells her story to Ron Deal.
About the Guest
- Listen to the entire episode of the FamilyLife Blended® Podcast with Melody Fabien. https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-blended-podcast/26-two-homes-two-sets-of-values-from-a-childs-point-of-view/
- Visit FamilyLife Blended® online for articles, videos, and resources for blended families. https://www.familylife.com/blended
- Take your marriage from good to great with these free resources. https://www.familylife.com/good-contest/
- Find resources from this podcast at https://shop.familylife.com/Products.aspx?categoryid=95.
- Subscribe to the FamilyLife Blended® Podcast with Ron Deal. https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-blended-podcast/
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After her parent’s divorce, Melody Fabien was hearing one thing about relationships from her mom, and something very different from her dad who had recently come to Christ. She tells her story to Ron Deal from the FamilyLife Blended® Podcast.
Two Homes, Two Sets of Values
Bob: As a teenager, Melody Fabien became convinced that she should wait to have sex until she was married. When she broke the news to her mother, she was surprised by how her mom responded.
Melody: I go, “Mom, I’m going to wait!” She was like, “Oh, that’s so cute. Sweetheart, you really think a man’s going to wait for you?” and I was crushed. She just said, “Sweetheart, one in a million—one in a million—you’re going to find a man that’s going to wait for you.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, August 14th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You’ll find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. What’s it like for a young person to grow up with a mom and a dad, who are divorced, who have different values, and who don’t share your values? We’re going to hear about that from Melody Fabien today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. One of the treasures we have here, at FamilyLife®—
Ann: —is Dave Wilson. [Laughter]
Bob: That was not what I was immediately thinking.
Ann: Oh, oh; sorry.
Bob: It’s certainly true.
Dave: You weren’t, Bob?
Bob: It wasn’t what initially came to mind.
Dave: I wasn’t thinking that either. I was thinking, “Ann Wilson.”
Ann: Oh, sure you were.
Bob: I was thinking of our mutual friend, Ron Deal—
Ann: Oh, he’s good too.
Bob: —who is a great—
Bob: —treasure; he really is. For families in our culture today to have Ron—and to have his voice and to have his podcast/his FamilyLife Blended® podcast, which is helping so many people, who are in blended families/blended marriages—I just am so grateful for his wisdom and for the issues that he’s addressing.
I want to make sure our listeners—if you’ve never heard Ron’s podcast—
Dave: That means it’s buried treasure. [Laughter]
Bob: That is good!
Ann: He really is amazing.
Bob: —you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. There’s information about the podcast there and listen to—he’s got dozens of episodes available. Again, FamilyLifeToday.com.
Today, we’re going to hear a couple of excerpts from a recent episode he did with a mutual friend of ours, Melody Fabien. She and her husband, CD, speak at Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways all across the country. They’ve got a great story of their engagement and their wedding because, I think—isn’t this right?—they didn’t kiss until they got married?
Ann: Right; that’s right.
Bob: It’s a great story.
Ann: They’re a great couple.
Bob: Ron talked with Melody recently about growing up as a child of divorce. Her mom and dad were not together. What she found was that there were different values in different homes, and that was hard for her. In his conversation with her, Ron picked up on that issue and went deep with her.
[FamilyLife Blended Podcast]
Ron: Is that confusing to you, having very different climates/very different emotional rules about how we do life between your two households?
Melody: Yes; I remember knowing that things were very different in many ways: emotions are different; how you express yourself is different. Then I get saved at around 12/13, and my dad gets saved when I’m 14. Then it was real different. [Laughter]
My mom was serving the Lord at first, and then she stepped away. That was really hard, because I was just going to church by myself. I had this interest in God, which was totally God that I had this interest in Him at such a young age. I went to church, thinking, “I don’t know if I’m doing this church thing anymore.” Thank God for praying youth pastors. This youth pastor comes to me—Chris—and he says, “Melody, I’ve been praying for you,” and “I got this vision of you running a race, and everyone around you stopped running; but you didn’t. I just want to encourage you to keep running,”
I’m like, “Oh my goodness, that’s exactly what I’m going through.” I was the only one in my house going to church. He’s like, “Melody, God has called you for the ministry.” I was like, “Wow, that’s so cool! What is that?”—[Laughter]—because I have no clue; we were not raised in church. This was all new.
Mom picks me up from church, “How’s church?” I’m like, “So great, Mom! I’m going to be a missionary.” She’s like, “Who told you that?” I’m like, “Pastor Chris.” She’s like, “You don’t want to be a missionary; they don’t make any money.” I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to be a missionary.” That was my life—I’d get one message at home; one message at church.
Then Dad gets saved; and he’s like, “I found the truth; it’s Jesus.” And he goes off into all these fatherhood books. He’s like, “I’ve got to win my child’s heart.” Now, he’s having this one-on-one time with us—discipling us/opening the Word.
This is difficult now; because in Mom’s house, there were rules. Education is very important; but we could—I could have a boyfriend at 12 and 13 as long it’s the boy visits me in my house, supervised kind of a thing. My dad is having a heart attack, like, “How can your mother let you date?! You’re only 13!”—you know? I’m like, “Well, Dad, Mom thinks it’s fine.”
He knew: “Oh my goodness! I have no control of what is happening in my daughter’s house, so I’m going to have to up my prayer game,” and “I have to go into more of a mentoring/influencer type relationship with my children.” That really helped. He would ask me very probing questions that I just don’t think my mom and my stepdad knew how to do. They weren’t serving the Lord, so we did not have that common ground.
That was another source of pain because, now, Mom sees me really getting close to my dad. I’m like, “Mom, I don’t want this to be a competition. I love Dad; I love you.” “But you’re so close to him.” I’m like, “I know, because we’re connected, spiritually.”
You know, at 16, I get this new biblical idea that it is the will of God to abstain. I go, “Mom, I’m going to wait!” She was like, “Oh, that’s so cute,”—like—“Sweetheart, you really think a man’s going to wait for you?”
Ron: Oh, wow!
Melody: I was crushed.
Melody: She just said, “Sweetheart, one in a million—one in a million—you’re going to find a man that’s going to wait for you.” I remember going into my room, and start crying and praying, and saying, “I don’t get it; I thought she would be happy.”
It was like a whole month that we had teachings [at church] on purity, and relationships, and dating. Then at the end of the month, we were going to get a ring; and we were going to make a commitment. My mom is like, “Is this a cult?”—like—“What-is-this?!” [Laughter]
Ron: Okay, we’re laughing right now; because it’s kind of funny—and looking back, and you—but I’ve just got to pause and say, “You must have been terribly confused. You must have—it must have been pulling you in two.”
Melody: Absolutely; I want to say it was one of the most painful months of my life. Now, there’s restoration; and my mom has apologized profusely for that season; but she didn’t get it; she didn’t understand.
What kind of broke it all was we went shopping to get a—we had to wear a white summer dress or a light beige outfit, representing purity. She’s just like, “What is this? This is so weird; you have to wear white. Is this a cult?” and all this stuff. She bought the dress. It’s like my mom didn’t support it, but she did go along with me. She’s like, “Fine, fine; we’ll get this dress. I’ll go. I don’t really want to go, but I’ll go to the ceremony,”—you know?
We get home, and I can’t find the dress. [Laughter] I’m like, “Mom, can I get the car keys? I think I left the dress in the car.” She’s like, “Okay.” I cannot find it anywhere. I’m like, “The devil stole my dress!” [Laughter] I’m like 16, like, “Everything is against me!” There was such warfare around me making this decision. But I remember going inside; she was there with my aunt, which is my stepdad’s sister. I said, “Mom, I cannot find this dress.”
She’s like, “What?! Did you leave it at the store?!” I’m like [emotion in voice], “I don’t know.” I start crying. My aunt is like, “What is this dress for?” “My daughter’s marrying God.” I’m like [emotion in voice], “I’m not marrying God,” and start crying.
Ron: Oh, my goodness.
Melody: Mom doesn’t want to see me cry. Now, she’s seeing me cry and she’s like, “I’m sorry.” She’s like, “Melody, not everyone is going to believe what you believe.” I said, “I know that. I just want you to be happy for me!”
She’s like, “Well, I didn’t wait; so I don’t know what makes you think you can.” [Pause] I felt like that was it—that was the big lie she was holding in her right hand. By the grace of God, I said, “Mom, I have a relationship with Jesus, and He is going to help me do this.” It’s almost like it shut the argument down.
I went to my room; and I felt the Holy Spirit say, “You just go get any dress in your closet. It is not about your dress; it is about your heart.” I had my little minty blue dress that next day. My mom went, reluctantly. The pastor said, “You know, we’ve been talking to your kids this whole month. Today, I want to talk to the parents.” He said, “You should be so proud of your kids.” And he goes on and on about why the parents should be so happy. H said, “You know, I really sense—I would like the parents to put the rings on their children.”
I go to the front altar with my ring. My dad decided, “No, Judy [Melody’s mom], you go ahead. Go ahead.” [Laughter] I don’t know who’s going to come; right? I’m in front; I don’t know what’s going on behind me! Then my mom comes and I’m like, “Aw.” At this point, my tears are starting to come down. My mom has been making fun of me for the whole month; and now, she has to put my ring on me. She’s standing next to me and he [pastor] says, “Parents, please come in front of your children. Look them in the eye and tell them how proud you are of them.”
Ron: Oh, my goodness. [Laughter]
Melody: I’m laughing now, but I was bawling; I am bawling. My mom is the sweetest short little Puerto Rican lady; she’s like, “Stop crying.”
Ron, I saw a miracle. She looked at me; and then she took a step back, as if this veil came off of her. She looked at me again; and she said, “I’m so proud of you! I don’t even know why I was saying those things.” It was beautiful. She said, “I didn’t have this when I was your age,” and “I wish I did,” and “I’m so proud of you.”
Bob: We’re going to step in here. We’ve been listening to an excerpt from a recent episode of Ron Deal’s podcast, FamilyLife Blended. Ron is talking to Melody Fabien, who speaks with her husband, CD, at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
What a dilemma for a young teenager to have—a parent encouraging you to have sex with your boyfriend—I mean, can you imagine?
Ann: No, I can’t imagine the dilemma that she was facing. Even as she’s describing the purity ceremony, I’m getting teary of what I hear—is she really needed her mom’s approval.
Dave: And yet, how beautiful that the veil comes down. I love the way it was described, as God can do a miracle, and He did. He does it in blended families; He does it in bio families. He can be trusted, so never/never lose hope. God is there; He sees you. He’s going to show up in a way you don’t expect it.
Bob: There’s another clip I want us to listen to; and by the way, again, this podcast is available for download. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and listen to Ron Deal’s FamilyLife Blended podcast—this episode with Melody Fabien or any of the episodes in the podcast.
Ron and Melody talked about the dilemma she faced, as a teenager, going back and forth from one home to another; and in some cases, being the messenger between mom and dad.
[FamilyLife Blended Podcast]
Ron: If I was sitting here with your dad right now—talking to your biological father about this season of your life and all he was trying to do—you talked about how he went into a mentoring mode/a discipling mode with you—was very intentional about that—and I were to say to him, “Man, obviously, you stepped up your game; and you were really being intentional with your daughter. Yet, you knew there was a competing message in the other home. How did you cope with that?” What do you think your dad would say?
Melody: You know, I know he would say he had to enter a huge place of faith for his kids. People would say, “James, you can’t control what’s happening over there. Your kids are just going to do what they’re going to do.”
He just refused—he’s like, “No, no. I’m going to pray for them. I’m going to teach them. I believe that God’s Word doesn’t return void. I’m going to fight for this.” He had this real tenacity to believe God. It wasn’t like he was calling my mom, like, “You better stop!” He had a very—like, “I’m going to pray.”
I remember there being a point, where he just, “I’m not going to fight your mom.” But we were often [hearing]: “Tell your dad…” “Tell your mom…”—which was not easy.
Ron: Yes, do you mind unpacking that just a little bit?—just emotionally. Where did that leave you when one side made you the messenger to the other side?
Melody: Yes, it wasn’t easy; because I’d have to be like, “Oh, Mom says this,” or “My dad said this.” I think, for sure, for big decisions like graduation, college, they would talk very quickly on the phone.
But my mom kind of grew up, too, like divorce was kind of taboo; “So let’s just…” She didn’t like when there were movies, where the divorced families are all eating dinner. She was like, “What?! No! That is so weird.” I do remember that; I do remember her being, “We will not be that kind of family. That's just weird to me.”
I’d be, “Okay, that’s the way it is.” So we did not have birthdays together; we did not have holidays together.
Ron: It would’ve been okay with you?
Melody: I think so. I probably would’ve felt super weird, but—
Ron: —having stepparents in the room.
Melody: The time that that had to happen was my wedding; that’s when it went down. [Laughter]
Ron: Yes. [Laughter] Did it go down well?
Melody: You know, it did. There were some tense moments; I’ll share one. My dad—it’s like he had amnesia or something; because I’m like, “Dad, I have a great stepfather,” and “I do want to acknowledge him at my wedding, so I would like to dance with both of you. I would like you to walk me down the aisle, but I would like my stepfather to be in the front so that he’s also present with my mom.” He didn’t like that idea at first. [Laughter]
Melody: I was taken aback; I was like, “Are you serious?!” He’s just like, “But why?!” “He raised me since I was five!” I just—I was not expecting that; that was really painful for me.
Thank God for my husband and his wisdom. He met my dad for coffee—he said, “Listen, I know this is very painful, even though it’s 23 years ago. This is our big day. She wants to honor both.”
He was like, “I know he’s a good man, but I’ve got to share again?” You know, it’s just that reopening of the wound; right?
Melody: “He’s got to get honored too”; you know? He’s [fiancé] like, “Yes.”
Ron: There’s a message for our listener. A separated family—you walk it out day after day after day; children walk it out every single day.
Ron: It is never in the past. “Okay, let’s just move on, embrace the new family, put the past behind us,”—you can't do that—
Melody: You can’t.
Ron: —because the implications just continue to ripple out through life.
Wow, kudos to your husband for finding the courage to have that hard conversation with his future father-in-law.
Ron: That was a good move on his part.
Melody: Yes, my dad received it; after that conversation, he said [sighing], “Okay.” It’s almost like a reminder: “Here we go again. Why am I going to fight? Why am I going to make this a big deal that is going to be painful for my daughter?” I’m thankful that I was able to honor both at my wedding.
My husband, too—like when he asked my parents for the blessing to marry me—he met with my dad separately, then he met with my stepdad separately, man to man. My stepdad got very emotional and said, “You know, I love my stepdaughters; but I didn't feel the same kind of man, asking for the blessing the way you have. I really feel honor, and I want to thank you for doing that.”
Bob: Well again, we’ve been listening to an excerpt from Ron Deal’s conversation with Melody Fabien, part of the FamilyLife Blended podcast that’s available on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. The two things I’m hearing as I listen to this conversation: first of all, I’m hearing complexity. There’s huge complexity when a family is divided: when kids are going back and forth, when mom and dad aren’t together/aren’t on the same page.
The second thing I’m hearing is redemption. I’m hearing that God can work in those complex situations to do some amazing things. There can be some breakthroughs in families as people follow Him.
Dave: Yes, we’re sort of wiping tears from our cheeks; aren’t we? It’s so tender—and it’s what you said, Bob—it’s like beauty from ashes. There’s obviously hurt, and complexity, and misunderstanding. Yet, at the end of the day, God shows up and brings this beautiful moment; and legacy going forward from all of that that we just got to hear about.
It gives you hope to think, “Okay, even in my situation”—or in your situation/whoever you are, listening—"God’s there, and He can bring beauty.”
Ann: He’s the Redeemer of our lives.
Bob: Well, Melody talks in her interview with Ron—in the FamilyLife Blended podcast—she talks about what it was like, as a child, when she learned her parents were divorcing. I hope listeners will go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and listen to this episode of FamilyLife Blended, and all of the episodes.
In fact, I was sharing with somebody this week about this podcast and said, “You need to sign up for this. This is something you need to be listening to regularly.” All the information about the FamilyLife Blended podcast is available on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.
If you have a heart for blended families, we’ve got an event coming up—it’s our 2020 Summit on Stepfamily Ministry. It happens October 1st and 2nd. It is an online event this year; you can join us via livestream from anywhere in the world. Two full days of sessions and breakouts with speakers like Ron and Nan Deal, Kathi Lipp, Ted Lowe, Laura Petherbridge, Alicia La Hoz, Rob Bugh, many others. Find out more when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. If you’re a church leader, a pastor, or you just have a heart for blended families in your church or in your community, take part in the 2020 Summit on Stepfamily Ministry. It’s a completely virtual online event this year. Find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, today is the last day for me to let you know about a resource we’ve been making available for the last few weeks. It’s our “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” resource. It’s a collection of video courses, some downloadable messages, a downloadable eBook—all designed to help you strengthen the foundation of your marriage so that your marriage can persevere in challenging times.
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The contest ends today. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and access the “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” resource, and you’re automatically entered in the contest to come join us, here, at FamilyLife. You’ll get great content, and then somebody’s going to be here for the recording session. We look forward to that.
And finally, we hope every FamilyLife Today listener will get their hands on a copy of my new book, which is called Love Like You Mean It. I spent a long time diving into
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And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are somehow able to worship together with your local church this weekend.
I hope you can join us back on Monday. You’re going to hear a great story. Beckett Cook is going to join us to talk about what happened in his life 12 years ago when he heard and understood the gospel. The transformation was remarkable, especially since he was a same-sex attracted guy, living in Hollywood, in the movie industry. It’s an amazing story. I hope you can tune in as we have a conversation with Beckett Cook on Monday.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend; we’ll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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