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Common Challenges and Solutions to Blended Families
by ChristianCrush Team
Calling a family “blended” can often seem like a euphemism for wishful thinking. Not only do many families have to deal with any stigma that came from divorce, when it’s time to combine households, it’s hard to decide what stays and what goes. It’s the fashion now for blended families to live near one another, though not exactly in the same living space. That way each family can keep their own traditions while building slowly up to living as one.
One problem that affronts newly blended stepfamilies is that after a second marriage, family time is very different. It’s not like The Brady Bunch, where there are still family squabbles but everyone gets along in the end. In the real world, kids may not become best friends at first sight, and forcing two households to be one unit takes a lot of work. Everything that was simple in your first family can take twice as much work to achieve after remarriage. And in order to make it work, the entire family – not just the adults – need to step it up.
The stronger a marriage is, the healthier the family will be. Getting married when kids are already a part of the picture can be like stepping into a whirlwind and trying to keep your hat on with your hands tied behind your back. Above all, it's important to make sure the kids know they are still loved and cherished. It means taking the time to be a couple in addition to being parents and/or step-parents.
Of my father’s family, he and my mother are the only ones to never have considered divorce. My grandparents split just a week before I was born. I know I am lucky, because I have seen friends and family members deal with bitter divorces that led to sour remarriages that turned into awful second divorces. Sometimes it seems like the cycle will never be broken. Yet the stepfamilies I have seen work the best are the ones who continually kept their eyes on God and His ways. They expected respect and effort instead of immediate perfection.
The Bible is full of stories about blended families – though back then it was because of polygamy, not usually divorce. Here are two Biblical blended families you don’t want to emulate:
David’s family was full of half-brothers and -sisters who grew up side-by-side. Each had a separate set of rules to live by, and it often ended in disaster. There were many kinds of abuse (2 Sam. 13:1-21) and revenge (2 Sam. 13:23-39). Much of this could have been stopped or avoided if David had used what he knew about seeking God’s heart to help his family live together in harmony.
Abraham, who is considered the father of the Jews, had so much strife in his blended family that his women could spend days arguing over whose son would win the birthright (Gen. 16).
These are great families headed by famous men of God, yet they seemed to make a mess of stepfamilies. It just proves that through the most difficult of times, only God can pull us through to healthy living. It’s simply a matter of leaning on God’s wisdom and praying through what life throws at us. So if you’re in a blended family or considering one…don’t give up. Instead, lean in deeper to Christ and exude His love and grace to your spouse and children.
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What do you feel are the main challenges and solutions to blended families?