In my experience, I’ve found that the most important rule in the blended family relationship is being patient and growing into your role. It is not uncommon for a step-parent to want to spend one-on-one time with their new children, or even be a part of the discipline process. However, this process takes time, patience, and growth into your role.
In contrast to the aforementioned status quo, I personally went the route of spending time in family group activities such as sporting events, movie nights, and family Bible studies. In my progressive walk and spiritual growth, I shared personal experiences that became points of wisdom for their growth. Ultimately, this created a segue that allowed me to learn about their interests and talents, gave me the opportunity to be involved in their extracurricular activities, assist in their academic ventures and ensure their daily chores were completed.
As I stepped into my new role, I found that a common mistake that parents tend to make when uniting families is allowing their marriage to become a secondary priority. As a new couple it is essential to devote the necessary time and energy to the marriage, keeping God as the center and foundation, and to not focus on the yearning of the child to be the constant center for attention that may keep you apart and/or divide you.
Finding and attending a good, God-focused church was key in developing that foundation for my family. Matthew 12:25 says,
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
For that reason, it was and still remains imperative that we take time each day to connect with each other without interruption in daily prayer each morning. This prepared us for the daily challenges and positioned us to lead the family both spiritually and naturally.
Ephesians 5:21-33 says,
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and thy two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
In the onset of our marriage, it was important that my wife helped me find and develop a leadership role within the family by providing support and solutions on family decisions that were made. Without this unity and support, our child may have become resentful and resistant to me and in effect, rejected my early efforts to connect with him.
Nonetheless, as a newly married couple and blended family, we looked at this chapter in our life as a gain and a new beginning for each of us. For me, I grew into a relationship with my stepson which developed into a long-lasting, loving, healthy bond anchored by trust that is now a father and son relationship for life.
For my wife, she is confident in knowing we are a strong and united God-fearing family. For our son, being a part of a church with a great youth program helped him get through this transition period and become a rooted young adult with godly family values.
Proverbs 22:6 says,
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Here are some Key Points that empowered our family as we transitioned into a blended family:
- Attend pre-marriage counseling at your local church and discuss different topics; such as former spouses, visitation schedules, financial arranges, etc.
- Find a local church that teaches the unadulterated Word of God and has ministries for every family member such as youth ministry, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, and marriage ministry. This will help to build and sustain a foundation with God at the center.
- As a step-parent, grow your relationship with your children by being an example and spiritually teaching and instilling the word of God for a long-lasting, loving, healthy bond.
- Keep the lines of communication open in the marriage with God at the center and He will bless the family unity.
My blended family experience began with a healthy God-centered marriage. We took the time to nurture our relationship, spend quality time together, communicate, and resolve conflicts quickly and respectfully. We have made our marriage a priority and our son followed that leadership set with God being the pivotal point of our family.
BY LAWRENCE PLEASANTS