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Blended Families Have Unique Challenges

  • Maxine Marsolini
  • 2001 21 May
Blended Families Have Unique Challenges

The emotional high of a fresh romance keeps many couples from realizing the complexity of the journey they are embarking upon. Not only are the newlyweds discovering how to live together and create a shared life, but children from different marriages are thrust together in an artificial relationship.

Consider these truths:



  • All of us share a common ancestry. We are related to one another in a Genesis fashion through the breath of God. That fact makes our stepchildren as significant as our natural children. Parents can determine to create genuine heart space, as God does, for each child.


  • Honor one another. Demanding respect is an abuse of authority and establishes a militant environment within the home. It will result in fearful obedience, or
    Blended Families
    From Blended Families by Maxine Marsolini, copyright (c) 2000. Used by permission of Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1-800-678-6928.

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    outright rebellion, but not genuine respect.


  • Realize it's OK to be part of a blended home. We cannot relive yesterday or make it any different. Live it today.


  • Develop a consistent prayer life. Pray in your secret place. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your family. Pray in corporate worship within a church body. It puts God in the driver's seat.


  • Show compassion toward one another. Take time to walk in the shoes of other family members. This simple act says,I value you and want to understand what you are feeling.


  • Remember that we need each other because we are different. God has created each of us with distinct gifts. There is something good to be contributed by everyone. Enjoy discovering the gifts within your family.


  • Guard your mouth. Words can bring a smile or a tear. They can encourage or bring despair. Think before you speak.


  • Live a life of integrity. Children mourn the loss of a birth parent who is no longer with them on a daily basis. Avoid criticism of that father or mother. Honor the visitation and monetary agreements that were made with an ex.


  • Set financial goals for your family. There are many godly tools and counselors available. Just learning how to implement a simple budget will lighten the stress associated with money.


  • Agree about discipline. Don't be too hasty for change to occur. Continue as much as possible to discipline in ways that the children are accustomed to. Allow the birth parent to be the primary disciplinarian. As a stepparent, place more emphasis on relationship building.


  • Establish family meetings that include the children. Not only does this give them a voice, it also cuts down the frustration level.


  • Honor your partner. Resolve to have a "one-flesh" marriage. A past failed marriage is the past. This is the marriage that can come under the scriptural context of oneness.


  • Check your attitude. Your attitude is your choice, and it affects others. It either will fall in line with God's will and reflect Christ, or it will satisfy Satan's desires.


  • Life will bring pain - expect it. Through the value of affliction we learn valuable lessons. Because of our pain we grow in character, in grace, and in appreciation for the Word of God.


  • Take heart. Don't become discouraged when others don't meet your expectations. God has told us to love them, not change them. That's His job. You are the only one you are responsible to change.


  • Realize the blending process is continual. With so many personalities there will be issues of jealousy and money and who has to empty the dishwasher for years to come. Be patient.


Maxine Marsolini is a freelance writer, author, pastor's wife, and homemaker. She was a regional co-director of the financial ministry, Crown Ministries. Maxine and her husband, Charlie, live in Oregon, where they serve in ministry together working with couples who are struggling with relationship and financial issues. They have seven children in their blended family.

Originally posted on's Live It Channel, bringing you today's best advice from Christian books.