Today I’m excited to introduce you to blogger Donna Reidland, who is my guest today and is sharing about how to biblically navigate a blended family. Read her bio below to find more about her and be sure to make her feel welcome by sharing, commenting and pinning her post to all your favorite spots! Thanks so much!
When couples remarry, there is usually great hope and excitement about the new family they are forming.
Maybe that was you. You knew there would be adjustments, but you were unprepared for the war zone you found yourself in before the ink was dry on your marriage license.
Kids you were determined to love are disrespectful and angry. Your spouse seems to side with his or her biological children and you are tempted to do the same.
Ex-spouses are determined to torpedo any good you do and to prevent you from building meaningful relationships with any of the children.
If this sounds familiar, don’t give up. God has answers and help is available although it will require a renewed commitment to trust and obey His Word and to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through you.
In fact, responding God’s way can yield something so much better than you imagined. It can result in the character of Christ being formed in you in a greater way and His power and love being demonstrated to your family and others.
[bctt tweet=”Is your blended family more like a war zone? Don’t lose heart, God has answers. Read Donna Reidland’s principles for finding hope in this marriage challenge. #blendedfamily” username=””]
Both Unique & The Same
Blended families face unique challenges: clashes in parenting styles, varying levels of spiritual maturity, and different, sometimes unrealistic, expectations. Children are expected to accept changes they had no choice in while faced with painful losses. Parents and step-parents end up dealing with the backlash.
Yet, in many ways, the heart issues are the same ones all families face.
So, how can you be better prepared to deal with blended-family issues?
And how can you grow and recover if you have already made mistakes and are living with the consequences?
3 Key Ways to Blend a Blended Family Biblically …
1. Understand the Nature of the Family
Proverbs 4.7 says:
“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” (NKJV)
In biological families, love grows naturally over time. Two people meet, get to know one another, and fall in love. They get married and, hopefully, continue to grow in their love for each other.
When children come along, parents fall in love with them as they hold and care for them and nurture them throughout childhood. Children’s love for their parents grows naturally, too.
In a blended family, those bonds often exist only between the husband and the wife. Attempts to learn to love new family members are sometimes frustrated by anger, rejection, hostility, guilt, and competing loyalties.
2. Understand the Losses
Before you decide it’s hopeless and quit reading, know that God has help and answers for blended families. And we’ll talk about some of them in a minute.
But, first, it’s important to understand one more dynamic in the blended family. It’s the issue of losses. In most blended family situations, one or more of its members have suffered some loss.
Consider these possibilities …
- Children may have suffered the loss of their biological family.
- Spouses may have suffered abandonment or betrayal by a former spouse. Children may feel abandoned, as well.
- Sometimes children have lost relationships with extended family, including grandparents.
- Children often hope their biological parents will re-unite. Remarriage signals the loss of that dream.
- There may have been the loss of friends, a familiar school and neighborhood, a family home, financial security, and more.
- Sometimes spouses and children have lost a loved one through death.
3. Grow in Compassion
The Bible talks a lot about compassion. Compassion is the ability to understand someone else’s distress and want to help alleviate it. Compassion is essential to growing love in a blended family and all relationships.
We can’t do that without seeking to understand. And we can’t do it well without God’s wisdom.
[bctt tweet=”Discover one key character quality you need to navigate the challenges of a blended family, and how to gain it! #lessonslearnedinmarriage” username=””]
So, first pray for God’s wisdom. Take some time to evaluate the losses family members may be experiencing. Talk openly and honestly with each other. Allow children to explain their feelings, even if you don’t like the answers initially. Ask God to give you compassion for one another and pray for each other.
Determine to treat other family members with love no matter how they might treat you.
Romans 12:9-12 says:
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. (NKJV)
It goes on to say in verses 14-15:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (NKJV)
And in the final verses of the chapter (vv. 17-21):
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NKJV)
Look at the key phrases: “be kindly affectionate,” “giving preference,” “patient in tribulation,” “continuing steadfastly in prayer,” “bless those who persecute you,” “repay no one evil for evil,” “as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men,” “do not avenge yourselves,” and others. Finally, Paul says we are to “overcome evil with good.“
God loved us and sent His Son to die for us while we were still His enemies (Rom. 5.8).
Now He is calling us to love others radically, beginning with those in our own household … even when they are acting like our enemies.
Yet, He doesn’t leave us on our own.
He has given us …
- The indwelling Spirit (1 Jn. 3:23-24).
- His Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Pet. 1:2-4) to teach and guide us.
- Promises to provide us with hope (1 Cor. 10:13, Rom. 8:28-29).
- The right to come to Him in prayer and ask for His wisdom and help (Heb. 4:14-16; James 1:5).
- His Grace.
And He promises if we will be faithful, we can trust Him with the results!
[bctt tweet=”God loved us while we were still His enemies. Now He is calling us to love others radically. #blendedfamily #loveofGod” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Donna is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, Biblical counselor and blogger at Soul Survival – DonnaReidland.com. She has been blogging through the Bible each year since 2012. She loves God’s Word and sharing how freeing and practical it is. She is certified through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. You can also connect with Donna here: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+
What are some of the challenges and losses you’ve faced in being a part of a blended family?
What’s one of Donna’s action steps that your marriage and family needs more of—blended or not?
If you’re interested in a place where you can openly and anonymously share your messy marriage story, then head to a brand new site called marriage-irl (in real life). I’ll be a future contributor there, so I’m hoping to support them as best I can! Besides, we all need a place to be heard, even if no one knows who “we” are!
Also, click the link to read other posts in the Lessons Learned in Marriage series. The graphic below reveals all of the other bloggers who are participating. Next week, I’ll be back with a post called, “6 Reasons Why I Submit to My Husband.” I take into consideration four challenging times to submit, so I hope you’ll find it helpful for any situation you find yourself in!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Grace Moments Linkup, Imparting Grace, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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