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  • Writer's pictureLaura Dalton -A Light Hearted Life

Blended Family Success

Updated: Jul 31

Did you know that many families you encounter in the bible are actually blended families? When you read the story of Jacob and Rachel and her sister Leah, you realize that the reality of blending a family can create a special kind of tension that's not usually found in a traditional family dynamic! Studies show that blended families have a 75% divorce rate! This was all news to me, until my husband and I began leading a blended family group for our church about 4 years ago. The good news is, being a part of a blended family doesn't have to be drama filled and a constant point of tension in your marriage. Don't get me wrong- being a blended family can be wonderful, however in our experience with lots of blended couples, it is not always a bed of roses. Fortunately, there are some things you can do as a couple that can make a huge difference in how well your family blends together! For those of you who may be asking, what is a blended family--there are several different kinds, but the basic definition is: a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.

We have met blended families of all kinds- couples that are unmarried, married or considering marriage, his kids, her kids and sometimes their kids also!. In our case, my husband and I both had kids from previous marriages and coming together and successfully "melding" a family together brought about various challenges. Something that was completely eye opening to us when we read Ron Deal's book, The Smart Stepfamily, was that there is an easy way and a hard way of blending your family. Thomas and I realized as we read that book about a year into our marriage, that we had done everything the hard way! We were so grateful to have a resource like that to help us navigate mending some of the brokenness we inadvertently created when we entered into our marriage, hastily! If you are like we are, and you find you have done things backwards, it's never too late to improve your family dynamic as long as you are willing to put in the work. Here are some basic things we learned, and hopefully they can help you and your partner work on creating a happy, healthy and well blended family!

  1. The best way to blend successfully is to use the "crockpot method" rather than the "microwave method". This means, you cannot rush your children, ex-spouse, parents and other family members into accepting and becoming a family, just because the two of you are in love. You have to give everyone time to adjust and get to know one another on their own terms. This is probably the hardest part but it can save you from a lot of hurt and misunderstanding if you are patient and trust in God's timing.

  2. Every person in a blended family has their own baggage and brokenness from the ending of your previous relationships. You and your partner should talk openly with your family members, especially children, about their feelings, fears, and any other concerns they have about blending as a family. Those conversations could shed light on things that neither one of you may have taken into consideration. All members' feelings are valid and should be attended to with acceptance and understanding. This is such a valuable part of blending successfully.

  3. Both of your families had their own unique traditions, patterns and way of celebrating special occasions prior to your new relationship forming. It's imperative that as a couple and as a family, you find ways honor those traditions, while also building and creating new traditions that bring your new family together in a special way. This could be a fun thing to do with the kids helping decide new ways they might want to celebrate.

  4. Sometimes there are personal or family conflicts that are just too difficult, painful, or delicate to handle on your own and it's necessary to meet with a family counselor or your church pastor to find a way to move forward. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Allowing a professional to assist you and your spouse or children to voice their feelings and determine a way forward could save you a lot of time and trouble. Thomas and I met with a pastor at our church when we found ourselves at a complete impasse on a family issue. The pastor was unbiassed and helped us to see that we both needed to show more grace and compassion toward each other while we compromised to make things work.

  5. Surround yourselves with a strong support system. Churches like yours may have a Blended Family group that you could join. We found that all of the blended families in our group, while unique in their individual makeup, experienced many of the same struggles as we did. It helped all of us to know that we are not alone and that although our family is not biologically connected, we are still a family that can and does honor God through how we represent His body in the world. If your church doesn't offer a blended family group, consider starting one yourself!

  6. Both you and your partner need your own, individual relationships with your savior, Jesus Christ! As you each pursue Him and seek His input through reading His Word and through prayer, the Holy Spirit will help you come together in love and grace. This will not only strengthen your bond as a couple, but it will help to guide you both in blending your family in the best way.

I hope that these suggestions will help you and your partner experience the joy and love that can come through marriage and blending a family. God bless you!

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