Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

We’ve recently remarried after the failure of our first marriages. How can we successfully blend our two families into one?

Thanks, Names Withheld

Pastor Roger,

Are you going to preach on what happens when your step-father brings his son home to live in your family?

Nine-year-old girl, Name Unknown

I'm not certain whether it was the trace of a tear down her cheek, or the soft quiet voice of the nine-year-old child standing beside me. I had just preached on Biblical family relationships and was moving toward the side door to greet guests.

Suddenly, ever so softly, I heard her call, "Pastor Roger." I looked down to the little child standing beside me. I bent low to hear her say, "Are you going to preach on what happens when your step-father brings his son home to live in your family?"

"Has your step-father brought his son home to your house?" I asked.

She nodded.

"And it's not going very well, is it?"

She nodded.

The next Sunday I preached about blended families. The term "blended family" is the label for describing couples who are putting two families together. Perhaps a more correct title would be "blending families." Blending marriages is an ongoing process. The child beside me represented millions of Americans who’ve gone through the trauma of a broken family — and are now being blended into another one.

Unfortunately, not all families work out well. In Ephesians 5 and Genesis 2 God outlined His plan for successful marriages. We might summarize His model succinctly: “God’s plan is for one man and one woman to become best friends and partners for a lifetime.”

Robert Redford, the famous actor and sex symbol, was asked what makes a great lover. He shocked all by not giving the expected macho man answer. He answered: “A great lover is a man who can satisfy one woman for her entire lifetime and she does the same for him. Love is not running around from woman to woman. Any dog can do that!”

Blending families is difficult but not impossible. I know that the task is difficult because I can't find one successful family blending in the Bible.

Abraham tried to blend Sarah and Isaac with Hagar and Ishmael and finally threw Hagar and Ishmael out of the house (Genesis 21).

Jacob tried to blend four families with disastrous results (Genesis 29:38ff):

First wife Leah and her children Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah;

Second wife Rachael and her children Joseph and Benjamin;

Concubine Bilah and her children Dan and Naphtali;

Concubine Zilpah and her children Gad and Asher.

Jacob’s family was destroyed by jealousy, murder, rape, deceit, and favoritism.

Davidbegan with first wife Michael and married perhaps as many as 28 more. His last wife was the infamous Bathsheba. There were numerous concubines in between. At least ten sons are named in scripture. In addition he had "more sons and daughters born to him." You wouldn't want to grow up in David's family. He tried to blend about 30 more families than he had time for. Among his children we read of murder, rape, rebellion, incest, hatred, bitterness and anger (2 Samuel 8-18; 1 Kings 1-2).