Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham says constant communication is one of the keys to parents restoring their relationships with their children after a divorce.
A father of two teenagers who are each taking sides in their parents' divorce reached out to Graham for advice on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website.
"Our marriage was always a bit rocky, but now it's ended in divorce. The problem is that our two children (both in their late teens) are taking opposite sides — our son blames me, while our daughter blames her. Is there any way to get them both on the same page?" he asked.
Graham responded in a Q&A published on Wednesday that the problems will not "necessarily be quickly resolved."
"Divorce wasn't part of God's original plan for marriage — but sadly, it's still a reality. It shouldn't, however, be treated casually or as a quick escape from our problems," wrote Graham.
"[D]ivorce almost always brings with it a host of negative emotions and practical problems that are not easily erased."
Graham went on to list three things the father — and all parents — should do to restore his relationship with his children.
"First, accept the situation. In other words, don't constantly bring up the past with your children or argue with them; it seldom changes anything. Second, believe in the healing power of God's love. Pray for both your children," continued Graham.
"Third, contact — that is, do all you can to keep in touch with both your children and let them know you love them, regardless of their present attitudes."
This is not the first time that Graham has been asked to give advice on the problem of divorce. Last October, a grandparent inquired about what they should do regarding the possible loss of contact with their grandchildren due to a divorce.
"We're heartsick because our son's wife has just divorced him, and we're afraid we'll never get to see our grandchildren again (she says she's remarrying and moving to another state). Is there anything we can do? Do we have any legal rights?" asked the grandparent.
Graham replied in a column published last October that again emphasized the need for prayer and contact, advising the grandparents to "do everything you can to keep in contact with your grandchildren."
"Even if you only see them rarely, write or email them from time to time, letting them know you love them and are interested in what is happening in their lives," said Graham.
"The most important thing you can do, however, is to pray for your grandchildren. They are going through a difficult and confusing time, and they need your prayers."