THE BLENDED FAMILY BLUES
Anyone who is a parent or child in a blended family understands the rewards and the heartaches that are all part of the intricate dynamics of being a part of this beautiful miracle of love. When a couple of people fall in love and develop their life together it requires lots of patience, love, giving and acceptance of each other’s weaknesses, frailty’s, hopes, dreams and desires. Not an easy dance to master. When you throw a child or two or three, etc. into the mix, it can feel almost impossible to get the hang of. This kind of family dynamic requires learning everyone’s personalities and can be a rocky road to travel down. However it can also be fun, sweet, very strong, very supportive and stand the test of time. Love is the key to success.
My wife of 20 years is the love of my life. However, I have been married before. In my previous marriage we had two beautiful children together. The red headed beauty that I captured the second time around had 5 from her previous marriage. When we married the made the decision the words step child would never be used in our family. All seven are our children. Oddly enough there were people that would try to impose their understanding of our family unit by attempting to correct me by trying to distinguish the difference. We would quickly reprimand them and tell them, “We don’t have step children.” We have 7 beautiful children. Period! We would never weaken in our position on this.
In the beginning, there were many struggles to overcome. Fights, arguments, disagreements, jealousy and competition. However, love always prevails. Today they are all adults and several have children of their own. Some even have blended families. We are proud to say they all love and cherish each other. They all encourage each other and we are proud of that fact. Love is always the answer.
People who enter into a blended family marriage have many struggles. Sometime the opinions of the people within the church can even be difficult to deal with. In my own case I was denied the privilege of being ordained as a minister. I was hurt and offended for a while. Eventually, I quit feeling sorry for myself and decided to just do the work anyway. God gave me my marching orders. Not man. I do not need a piece of paper, permission, pay or a building to validate my calling. God blessed me with special skills and gifts and I use them to help people draw closer to God. To heal and to love people that desperately seek and need love. Like the, “Woman at the well”. “The notorious sinners that Jesus would minister to” and “The thief on the cross” Love needs no certificate. Leading people to The Lord needs no degree. And I absolutely refuse to let people with a ridged and limited understanding of grace judge the validity of my family, my relationship with God or My calling. Never let anyone’s opinion or behavior stand in the way of your relationship with God! “No man shall snatch you out of the hand of The Father”. You have favor with God.
How the parents handle the way people attempt to judge their blended family also develops how the children handle such judgements from others. My wife and I made a decision to stand firm in our position because we never wanted to leave room for our children to feel like second class citizens. I am thoroughly convinced that we avoided our children resenting each other by being strong and loving them all. We still tell our children we love them and we are proud of them even though they now have kids of their own. We are an extremely strong and unified family. They all have strong faith in God.
Acceptance of the new father or mother can be hard for children to adjust to. It can be a struggle at first. My wife and I decided we would try to address all issues prayerful, unified, with love and patience. Even the children will try to differentiate between the blended mom and biological mom. Same for dads here. We were very careful that we never used the words, “Real parent and step parent”. We have always pointed them toward God for peace, comfort and answers.
All of our children had two moms that loved them dearly and two dads to love and protect them. It took work and patients to develop a good relationship between all 4 parents, but with Gods love and help it somehow works. I tend to see us all as one big weird family. My wife and I played Pictionary with my wife’s ex and his new wife with our kids the other night. My wife and I have the privilege of taking my wife’s ex mother in law to church with us at times. My wife and my ex-wife are friends on Facebook and have been for years. We all love and want the best for our children. “All of them”. We are blessed indeed that God has given us with this peace. This took time, patience, prayer and forgiveness but it somehow seems to work.
Our simple formula works for me. Maybe it will work for you too.
- Love is always the right tool for the job.
- Anger solves nothing
- Forgiveness heals the heart.
- Patience is a treasured virtue.
- Honest communication builds trust.
- I have learned to pray for wisdom often.
- When lost, turn to God.
These things did not come naturally to me because of the many addictions I have struggled with over the years. I am hopeful these things come to you and your family easier than for me. So now I have babbled and touched on several different personal views on the subject of blended families. Just know that God loves and will bless you and your family, whether blended or not if you just seek His will. Take it from “Old Sinner”. There is nothing like the love of your children to make your heart smile.
May God bless and heal your family as he has ours.
Robert S. Newberry, “Sinner”