Blended families can be successful. Here’s our Top Ten intentional habits that can help your blended family thrive.
- Stand together. Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (niv) In a blended family it is critical for you to stand together. There will be forces at work trying to get between the two of you to destroy your marriage. Don’t allow outside issues and stresses to wedge their way between the two of you.
- Keep God at the center. To do this, ask yourself if your decisions are coming from an attitude of keeping God at the center of your home. “Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord.” (Rom 14:8 CEV)
- Resolve problems behind closed doors. Don’t do it in front of the kids. Unfortunately many immature people in second marriages play out their disagreements in front of the kids, and when that happens, it creates tremendous confusion and insecurity for the kids. If you’ve got issues that need to be resolved, go where you can talk about them without having the kids present. “If you and your neighbor have a difference of opinion, settle it between yourselves and do not reveal any secrets.” (Proverbs 25:9 GNT)
- Defer to the primary parent. There will be times when you don’t agree with your spouse and the decisions they are making for their kids. Your job is to help your spouse be successful in raising those children. Your job is not to come in and replace anybody. “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Phil 2:3-4 NLT)
- Avoid the fairness trap. This is huge. Some kids in any family are going to be more successful than others because of the way they are wired or the gifts they have. Life is not fair. This is true in all families. “He makes some people poor and others rich; he humbles some and makes others great. He lifts the poor from the dust and raises the needy from their misery. He makes them companions of princes and puts them in places of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:7-8 GNT)
- Maintain traditions. Traditions are important for the kids and when we rob one of our children of their traditions we rob them of their memories. And it’s important that you maintain as many of those as you can with your children for their sake. Then at some point start adding new traditions as a blended family. These are things that the kids will begin to learn to do within this new family. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,5,6 NLT)
- Hold family meetings. Establish a safe place where any of your children or any member of the family can bring up any topic they need to talk about or any questions they have. Set ground rules and be respectful to keep the dialogue open. “As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 CEV)
- Seek counseling. When the same problem keeps coming up and is never resolved or you’re walking on eggshells with anyone in the family, talk to a counselor. “Ask for help. Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs19:20-21 NLT)
- Give people room to hurt. When you fall in love with your new spouse, your kids may not be ready as soon as you are. They may be frustrated and hurting. Allow each person to move on their own timetable. There can be room for hurt but not disrespect. “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.” (Isa43:2-3 GNT)
- Expect the best. We tend to live up to the expectations, so set realistic, hopeful expectations for your family and for your life together. “That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfill by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. In this way the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him, by the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 GNT)
© 2016 by Randy Carlson