“Did you ever notice how The Brady Bunch got just about all their stepfamily challenges worked out in the first episode?” asks Ron Deal of Successful Stepfamilies. Ron works alongside a growing number of ministries coaching families on Biblical principles to overcome the challenges of blending their families. Any home in which at least one spouse brings children from a prior relationship knows that it is much harder in real life than it was for the Brady family. That’s why blended families need to add an extra measure of intentionality.
Even though blended families are becoming a more common family structure, making them work well remains a real challenge due to the extra logistics and emotional landmines that are part of merging two homes into one. Regardless of your circumstances – whether your new family was the result of a death, divorce, or some painful choices – you are called to lay aside your own interests in order to serve those God has placed in your home (Matthew 16:24-25).
Ron Deal has found that couples must first invest in the children they’ve brought together in order to be able to experience a growing marriage. Ask the Lord to give you an extra measure of patience and humility in dealing with stepchildren – especially when you know they have experienced the pain of divorcing parents or the grief of a deceased mom or dad which can cause long-term emotional trauma.
Every stepfamily brings with it the hope for a redeemed life story – the hope that difficult chapters of the past can be followed by better days. Stepfamilies quickly learn that better days don’t appear magically. As they submit to God’s calling and trust His ability to write their stories, however, they find He is still able to make all things new.