Blending Your Stepfamily: The Marriage Covenant

The family dynamics of blended families are unlike any other.  My husband and I have weathered many storms and have come out on the other side – together!  Now, I’d like to share a few pearls of wisdom with you.

But before we launch into them, keep in mind 1 Corinthians 1:3-4, which says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

So, let’s start by addressing the Marriage Covenant.  A covenant is a promise that you enter into willingly. Vows are made to promise against future events such as “in sickness or in health”, “for richer or poorer”, or “for better or for worse”. Marriage is the only relationship you enter into with a covenant, and this covenant is meant to last until one of you dies. There’s nothing like it. Therefore it has got to become and remain the most important relationship in your family.

Now, this may sound selfish or very foreign to parents with children, but if your marriage doesn’t survive and thrive, the family (namely your kids) won’t prosper. In fact, your family will fall apart.

You see, your kids need healthy role models. They need daily proof that marriage can last a lifetime and it can be good and rewarding – even if it’s a second marriage.

If all they see is divorce and the wounds from it, they will have a very low regard for marriage and may never get married at all.

“Re-marrieds with Children” have a very high divorce rate of about 67%. The children of these families have already had their original home fractured and witnessed their birth-parents’ divorce. So we need to be all the more steadfast in protecting the covenant of our new marriage in order to restore the value of marriage within our new family.

In the case of most “first marriages”, the foundation is built by just the husband and the wife.  It’s easy to bond with your spouse because there are significantly fewer obstacles than in remarriages with children. However, in the case of blended families, the dynamics are immensely more complicated with all the different aspects and input from children, exes, in-laws and much more.  Therefore, both spouses must make a firmly grounded and often expressed decision to show that the words, “Til death do us part” have real meaning.

Here are some strategies and techniques on how to make and keep your marriage covenant: 1) The marriage NEEDS to be worked at. It won’t “just happen”. There are too many distractions between work, the kids’ schedules, ministry, friends, school, etc. You’ve got to remember the things you did when you first fell in love and don’t lose touch of what bonded and continues to bond you together. 2) Support each other in your new roles. Becoming a stepdad or stepmom isn’t an easy task. You will need one another to work together in defining and honing the new role in relationship to the children. It’s also vital to continually show your kids that your new spouse is here to stay. This will help your kids to better accept them if they believe that your relationship will last. 3) Don’t let anyone or anything come in between you and your spouse. Not the kids, your work, your parents, former in-laws. No one.

And finally, If you need help, by ALL means, get it!

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