Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. ― Colossians 3:13 NIV
Balance in a Blended Family Requires Forgiveness
Remarried couples, with children to raise, are more often than not blindsided by a swarm of unexpected problems that feel a whole lot like stepping into a hornets’ nest unaware. There is no other family dynamic where forgiveness given contributes such a big plus.
Absorbing the impact of two or three outside homes, fated to affect life under our roof, isn’t easy to put up with and it is a unique dynamic that no biological family ever experiences. With a great measure of tact, we are cornered into considering all the people involved—like it or not. Disagreements always center on either children or money.
Common Realities of the Blended Family, Stepfamily, Lifestyle
Schedule conflicts, court-ordered support, and shared expenses head up the drama list. Tempers lessen when what’s common for a blended family to encounter is seen through a crystal clear lens:
- Children belonging to two families are loved in both homes and need their parents to respectfully accommodate the back and forth schedules.
- Boys and girls didn’t create the problems; adults did by divorce, cohabitation, or death.
- It takes money to raise children. Child support is one way the courts attempt to provide for a child’s needs.
- It’s likely other expenses over the developmental years of the child will need to be shared: medical, education, or clothing.
Blended Families Attempt to Balance Three or More Differing Agendas
Stepfamilies often find themselves attempting to balance three differing agendas. For instance, his son comes to our house; her children go to their dad’s house. And we have plans to take the family to the water slide park for the weekend. At eight o’clock Friday night the phone rings. The boy’s mom sent him to his friend’s paintball birthday party instead. The balance is immediately challenged. There is an immediate need to lean into forgiveness rather than anger.
The first reaction from most blended family parents and stepparents is to get out of sorts when things don’t go as expected, or an added expense comes along. A good day can be ruined in less than a minute’s time unless absorbing moments of disappointment is anticipated. Remember, the rest of the family is ready to go. Swimsuits are packed.
Three Things That Help a Ready-made Stay in the Happy Zone
- First, prepare well in advance for occasional interruptions to both plans and finances. Remember, children are balancing more than one family’s expectations. They should not be made to feel guilty over a change of plans.
- Second, since there will undoubtedly be times when a plan will be messed up, have a backup plan ready to go.
- Third, put into use the best secret weapon ever given mankind by God—forgiveness! Choose to be a man, a woman, a family, who is quick to forgive, who harbors no grievance, rather than give the Devil a foothold to steal the family’s joy.