Christian Devotionals

Blending Two Families (1)
'...My conduct will be my house...' Psalm 101:2 GNT

If you're trying to blend 'his' and 'her' children into one big, happy family, a marriage counselor offers some helpful insights you'd do well to adopt. What we call romantic bliss, our children often see as domestic upheaval. So realize it takes work to resolve your problems and build intimacy. Keep reading 1 Corinthians 13: the key to a strong family is 'love'. You must practice it every day. Your kids take their cue from you, so in times of stress maintain a loving attitude. Remember that you had a choice, your children didn't. They didn't ask to be put in this situation, so be understanding and work to strengthen their sense of security during this difficult time of transition. Don't expect instant bliss. Be realistic about the challenges involved in blending two families. There's no such thing as instant intimacy or total compatibility. It takes time to develop strong bonds and stabilize a family, so 'easy does it'. Allow time to grieve past losses. Jesus said, '...those...who grieve...will find comfort!' (Matthew 5:4 CEV) At the time of their parents' second marriage many children have already lived in three different family units: their biological family, their single parent family, and now their new blended family. Plus, if your own biological children aren't living with you, you may experience a personal sense of loss. Failure to acknowledge this will result in anger and alienation, so deal with the past before taking on the future.

Blending Two Families (2)
'...My conduct will be my house...' Psalm 101:2 GNT

Almost half of all two-parent households today are blended families. If you're living in one, here are some things you need to consider. First, every child is unique. Small children accept step-parents more easily than teenagers. Your authority won't carry the same weight with older children. You need to approach them with wisdom and grace, while toddlers need nurture and security. Secondly, create new family systems. Each family has its own system: 'The way we do things in our house is...' It's what makes family members feel part of an intimate group. Things like attending church together, sharing mealtimes, playing games or just enjoying a good laugh, help to establish that important sense of bonding and belonging. Thirdly, unless there's danger, don't deny children access to their biological parent. The Bible says, 'God blesses those...who make peace...' (Matthew 5:9 CEV) So don't demean your ex before your kids, and don't use them as messengers. Research confirms that children who spend time with both parents adjust better. It also decreases the possibility of their getting caught in the crossfire and wounded. Finally, always work in the children's best interests. There will be holidays and events where you'll have to interact with your ex, so get used to it-for your children's sake. They need your love and understanding, especially when emotions run high and everybody is adjusting. Respect what's gone before. Don't try to force your idealized interpretation of what a family should be. Whether you come by it biologically or through marriage, parenting requires maturity-lots of it. PS If you haven't been praying, now would be a good time to start!

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