Building a Healthy Coparenting Relationship

Emmanuel Abimbola

Emmanuel Abimbola

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 17, 2024
Building a Healthy Coparenting Relationship

When it comes to co-parenting, your ex is still your neighbor, and loving them as yourself means prioritizing your relationship with God.

Co-parenting is like a tag-team match where you and your co-parent are both in the ring, fighting for the well-being and upbringing of your kids. It's crucial, especially when you're aiming to raise children who are not only responsible but also rooted in faith. 

In Proverbs 22:6, it says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That's the essence of co-parenting in a Christian context. You're not just teaching them math and manners; you're instilling values and faith that will guide them throughout their lives.

Think about it this way: if you're trying to build a sturdy house, you need a solid foundation. Similarly, if you want your children to grow up with strong morals and a deep faith, you need a solid co-parenting relationship.

Challenges of Co-parenting

Co-parenting isn't always a walk in the park, especially if you're navigating the waters of divorce or separation. It's like trying to paddle a canoe in choppy waters; there are bound to be some bumps along the way.

Communication is key, but it can be tough when there are hurt feelings or unresolved issues lingering between you and your ex. And let’s not forget about scheduling conflicts—juggling soccer practice, piano lessons, and dentist appointments can feel like trying to solve a Rubik's cube in the dark!

Then there's the emotional toll. Seeing your children split their time between two homes can tug at your heartstrings like a sad country song. And explaining the situation to your kids? That's a whole other ballgame. It's like trying to explain quantum physics to a toddler—challenging, to say the least.

But hey, it's not all doom and gloom. With patience, understanding, and a whole lot of prayer, you can overcome these challenges and build a healthy co-parenting relationship that sets a positive example for your children. It's like planting seeds in a garden; with the right care and attention, they'll grow into something beautiful.

Putting God at the Center

Putting God at the center of your co-parenting journey is like adding the strongest adhesive to a fragile bond; it holds everything together. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus emphasizes the greatest commandments—to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. When it comes to co-parenting, your ex is still your neighbor, and loving them as yourself means prioritizing your relationship with God.

Imagine your relationship with God as the North Star, guiding your co-parenting ship through stormy seas. When you seek His guidance and wisdom, it's like having a seasoned navigator on board, helping you steer clear of rocky shores and treacherous waters.

Practically speaking, this means turning to God in prayer and meditation when faced with co-parenting decisions. Instead of relying solely on your understanding, you're tapping into a divine wisdom that surpasses human understanding.

For example, let's say you and your ex are at odds about your child's education. Instead of resorting to arguments and ultimatums, you take a step back and pray for clarity and understanding. In doing so, you open your heart to God's guidance, allowing Him to soften your stance and help you see things from a different perspective. Before you know it, you're sitting down with your ex, calmly discussing your options and finding common ground.

Furthermore, praying together as co-parents can be a game-changer. It's like joining forces in a battle, knowing that you have each other's backs. By lifting your children and your co-parenting relationship up in prayer, you're inviting God into the midst of your struggles and triumphs, trusting Him to work miracles in your lives.

Communication Is Key

Effective communication in co-parenting is like oil in the gears of a well-oiled machine; it keeps everything running smoothly. In Proverbs 15:1, it says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." This verse highlights the power of gentle, respectful communication in diffusing conflict—a valuable lesson for co-parents navigating the ups and downs of raising children together.

Think of communication as the bridge that connects you and your ex, allowing you to share important information, make joint decisions, and coordinate schedules. Without it, you're like ships passing in the night, missing crucial opportunities to collaborate and support each other in the shared goal of raising your children.

So, how can you develop healthy communication in your co-parenting relationship? 

First and foremost, practice active listening. Instead of formulating your response while they're talking, truly listen to what they're saying, validating their feelings and concerns.

Another tip is to use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. It's like taking ownership of your feelings and experiences, rather than placing blame on your ex. For example, instead of saying, "You always forget to pick up the kids on time," try saying, "I feel frustrated when the kids aren't picked up on time."

And speaking of blame, it's important to avoid playing the blame game altogether. Instead of focusing on past mistakes or grievances, focus on finding solutions and moving forward together. It's like turning the page to a new chapter in your co-parenting journey, where forgiveness and grace abound.

Lastly, communicate regularly and respectfully, even in difficult situations. Whether you're discussing a change in visitation schedules or addressing a behavioral issue with your child, approach the conversation with kindness and understanding.

Respecting Each Other's Roles

Respecting each other's roles as parents in co-parenting is like acknowledging that each brick in a building has its unique purpose; without one, the structure wouldn't stand. Ephesians 4:32, says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." This verse emphasizes the importance of kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness—qualities that are essential in co-parenting, whether you're still together or not.

When you respect each other's roles as parents, you're not competing for the finish line; you're running alongside each other, cheering each other on every step of the way.

So, how can you support and encourage each other as co-parents? 

First and foremost, acknowledge and appreciate the unique strengths and qualities that each of you brings to the table. It's like recognizing that you're both valuable members of the parenting team, each contributing something special to your children's lives.

For example, let's say your ex is great at helping with homework, while you excel at planning fun weekend activities. Instead of feeling threatened or inadequate, celebrate each other's strengths and work together to create a balanced approach to parenting. It's like weaving a tapestry of love and support, with each thread adding to the beauty of the whole.

Furthermore, avoid criticizing or undermining each other's parenting decisions. Instead of nitpicking or second-guessing each other's choices, focus on finding common ground and working together for the greater good of your children.

Co-Parenting Through Conflict

Conflict in co-parenting is like a storm brewing on the horizon; it's bound to happen, but how you weather it makes all the difference. In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus provides a blueprint for resolving conflicts within the church community, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues directly and with love. 

Similarly, in co-parenting, facing conflicts head-on and with a spirit of compassion is key to maintaining a healthy relationship for the sake of your children.

Acknowledge that conflicts are inevitable in co-parenting.

Instead of sweeping issues under the rug or letting resentment simmer, address them openly and honestly, keeping the well-being of your children at the forefront of your mind.

So, how can you navigate conflicts in a Godly manner? 

Start by practicing humility and patience, approaching the situation with a willingness to listen and learn. It's like laying down your pride and ego at the foot of the cross, allowing God's grace to guide your words and actions.

Furthermore, prioritize the well-being of your children above all else. Whether you're negotiating visitation schedules or discussing discipline strategies, keep their needs and emotions at the forefront of your decision-making process.

Additionally, seek common ground and compromise whenever possible. It's important to find a middle ground where both parties feel heard and respected, rather than digging in heels and refusing to budge. Remember, it's not about winning or losing—it's about finding solutions that work for everyone involved.

And finally, don't hesitate to seek outside help if conflicts become too difficult to navigate on your own. Just as you wouldn't hesitate to call a mechanic when your car breaks down, seeking mediation or counseling can provide valuable support and guidance when navigating the complexities of co-parenting.

So, let us embrace conflicts as opportunities for growth and learning in the co-parenting journey. By approaching them with humility, patience, and a godly perspective, you can navigate even the stormiest of seas and emerge stronger, wiser, and more united for the sake of your children.

Dear parents embarking on the journey of co-parenting, let me leave you with this heartfelt encouragement: trust in God's guidance and wisdom as you navigate the twists and turns of your co-parenting relationships.

Building a healthy co-parenting relationship isn't always easy. It takes time, effort, and prayer. But know that every step you take, every word you speak, and every decision you make is worth it—for the sake of your children and your relationship with God.

So, lean on Him in times of uncertainty, seek His wisdom in moments of doubt, and trust in His love to sustain you through it all. With God as your anchor, you can weather any storm and emerge stronger, more united, and more deeply rooted in faith.

May His grace and peace be with you on this journey, guiding you ever closer to His perfect will for your lives and the lives of your precious children. Amen.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/digitalskillet

Emmanuel Abimbola headshotEmmanuel Abimbola is a creative freelance writer, blogger, and web designer. He is a devout Christian with an uncompromising faith who hails from Ondo State in Nigeria, West Africa. As a lover of kids, Emmanuel runs a small elementary school in Arigidi, Nigeria.