After losing a previous spouse to death or divorce, you and your current spouse celebrated the joy that your remarriage brought into your lives. But, unlike couples marrying for the first time, you likely had children standing beside you when you said your new wedding vows. And uninvited guests like resentments, power struggles, and visitation logistics crashed your wedding party and moved into your new home.

Blending a family after remarriage demands more wisdom and strength than any husband and wife can summon on their own. But God stands ready with His perfect wisdom and limitless strength to help you.

Here's how you can blend your stepfamily into a cohesive unit of people who love each other and work together well:

Look for hidden treasure. Although everyone in your family may be tarnished and rough from the stressful experiences of divorce or widowhood and the tensions of adjusting to a stepfamily, remember that God sees each person as a treasured gem. Ask God to help you see everyone in your family as He sees them - valuable jewels with great potential to shine.

Tie your family's knot together. Decide to pull your family together in a three-way knot so they don't unravel. First, make Jesus the foundation of your home. Second, make a commitment to Jesus and your spouse that divorce will never be an option for you, and have your spouse do the same. Third, establish and maintain an open line of consistent communication and compromise between spouses.

Be willing to make some sacrifices. Understand that it's crucial for you to make some key adjustments to enable all your kids to find their places in your blended family. Allow time for everyone to adjust to new faces.

Don't immediately take over the discipline of your stepchildren. Instead, gradually and gently assume a position of authority, after they have developed a bond with you. Choose your battles to win the war by letting some insignificant offenses slide so you can focus just on what's truly most important - building your kids' character traits over the long haul.

Implement the "closed door rule." Realize the importance of you and your spouse both presenting a united front to your children in all areas of permission, discipline, and rewards, so the kids don't play one of you against each other. When you and your spouse disagree about something, schedule a time to discuss the issue in your bedroom behind a closed door. Keep talking and praying until you reach an agreement. Then, once you're in unity, deliver the verdict to your children.

Don't force acceptance or love. Understand that it will take a lot of interaction and bonding before you can reasonably expect your stepchildren to accept you and grow to love you. Spend time with them regularly and work toward embracing them as your own children. But don't insist that your stepchildren call you "Mom" or "Dad" unless they choose to; know that they can still have a loving relationship with you while calling you by your first name.

Don't try to replace their biological parents, or compete with the memory of a deceased parent. Instead, strive to be a genuinely loving extra parent in their lives. No matter how much a stepchild rejects you, never stop choosing to love him or her through your words and actions. Trust that the relationship will eventually improve.

Help your friends and extended family adjust. Talk about each of your household members equally to friends and extended family. Remind friends and extended family of everyone's upcoming birthdays so no one in your house feels forgotten or left out. Don't cut ties with your children's natural grandparents. Maintain friendships with your former in-laws if doing so won't put a strain on your current marriage.