Blended family 5

Blended Family Strengths and Reasons to Celebrate!

September 16 is National Step Family day. It’s a time for celebrating blended family homes. Of course, everyone knows that having a blended family is not ideal. Ten years ago–when I was first married–I never imagined that today, our family would be blended.

I believed that marriage was, “For better or for worse. Until death do us part.” I still wholeheartedly believe this! As a father of three girls, I hope that (one day) all of my children are happily married. My prayer is that they stay married and raise their own children in a traditional home.

In my case, life happened. However, I won’t dive into details because National Step Family Day is not about bemoaning the pain of the past. Instead, it’s about celebrating all of the joy that a blended family has to offer. So, let’s get down to business.

Addressing the Blended Family, “Elephant in the Room”

Followers of Jesus Christ know that divorce is not God’s ideal plan. Because of this, sometimes Christians look down on blended family homes. It’s always unfortunate when this happens. Heaping on shame and blame through snide comments, a shunning look, or by flippantly quoting  Malachi 2:16, which talks about God hating divorce, is never helpful.

As a Christ-follower and dad, who is blessed to live in a blended family, I’m over it. There was a time when I was ashamed to mention that I lived in a blended family home. I shied away from sharing my story and cringed at the shaming looks. Today, none of this matters. I’m proud of the blended family that God has blessed me with. I’m fortunate to have:

  • An incredible wife! Jenny could have picked a much easier life. Instead, she chose my two daughters and me. She really is amazing!
  • Three wonderful kiddos. Two of them live with us part of the week. One is with us twenty-four, seven. All are family, and we love each of them dearly.
  • A home filled with love, laughter, and great memories.

To kick off National Step Family day, let’s start by acknowledging the elephant in the room. Blended family life is not the ideal. Neither I–nor any sane person–would recommend leaving a traditional family to start a blended family. I mention this because sometimes our churches shy away from honoring blend families out of worry that doing so would encourage divorce–but it won’t.

The Truth About Blended Family Life

The truth is, living in a blended family is hard at times. Most of us in blended family homes are acutely aware that the odds are stacked against us. According to The Bonded Family website,

70%+ of remarriages involving children end in dissolution within 5 1/2 years.

Although blended family life can be tough, we press forward because blended families matter. Those of us in blended family homes are survivors. We are hopeful. And we know that our family is worth preserving.

In spite of the fact that living in a blended family is not the ideal, there is much to celebrate!

Five Reasons a Blended Family Homes Rock!

1. Blended family homes model God’s redemptive plan.

God is in the redemption business!

  • God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross in order to redeem us from our wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
  • Romans 8:28 promises that God is willing and able to take trying circumstances and work them for our good and His glory.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 proclaims that God’s plan for you and I is hopeful and includes a bright future. This is true for both traditional families and blended families.

blended family

If you live in a blended family home, know that God isn’t through with you or your family. Blended families are in a unique position to model God’s redemptive process. [Tweet “God is able to take the pain of the past, and transform it into something amazing.”] National Step Family Day is a celebration of God’s redemptive process!

2. Our Blended family taught us the value of time.

Time is short. Psalm 90:2 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Living in a blended family has taught us to value time together. Sharing kids with another home isn’t easy. On a positive note, it has caused us to be intentional about making the most of each moment together.

blended family

3. Because we are a blended family, we communicate often.

Our blended family understands the value of communicating. We do this during family meals and at family meetings. Our time is too short for lingering anger, ongoing arguments, and hurt feelings. [Tweet “Blended family life has caused us to learn how to address issues quickly, and then move on.”]

4. Our blended family knows how to forgive.

Communication is the first step in the forgiveness process. Letting things go is the next step. Forgiving is one way our family models God’s redemptive plan. Blended families are complex. A multitude of family members and extended family members are involved. Of Course, more cooks in the kitchen means more room for offenses. When hurt feelings happen, it becomes an opportunity to talk about forgiveness and boundaries and brainstorm strategies for moving on.

5. Our blended family loves to laugh and have fun.

Our family calendar is packed! We have events scheduled over five months out. With a number of jobs, and three kiddo’s, Jenny and I have to be well organized. It’s interesting that the majority of events on our calendar are about having fun. Currently, our schedule includes,

  • Apple picking in Julian.
  • A trip to the pumpkin patch.
  • A family picture day.
  • A number of Birthday and holiday celebrations.

blended family

Family fun is firmly embedded into our schedule. [Tweet “If you don’t plan time for fun, it won’t happen. “] This is something our blended family is well aware of. We love to laugh and enjoy the simple moments of life. Having fun is one of our strengths. And it’s a strength of many blended families I know.

The Bottom Line About Blended Family Life

Blended family homes have much to celebrate! National Step Family day is not about bemoaning what could have been. It is about celebrating and redeeming what is. If you live in a blended family, I hope this post will provide you with the freedom and permission to enjoy this day to the fullest. [Tweet “Blended families matter! Happy #NationalStepFamilyDay :)”]

For those in traditional families, my hope is that this post provides insights into blended family life. We are thrilled when you celebrate with us!

As a call to action, I would love it if you would continue the conversation by sharing what you cherish about your blended family home. If you come from a traditional family, I would invite you to cheer us on by sharing some of the strengths you have noticed in a blended family, you know. I can’t wait to hear from you!

blended family 4

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Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

5 thoughts on “Blended Family Strengths and Reasons to Celebrate!”

  1. WOW! So much passion in this post.

    My all time favorite quote from this article: “Today, none of this matters. I’m proud of the blended family that God has blessed me with. I’m fortunate to have:”

    I grew up in a unique blended family (adopted and then father remarried) It added a difficult dynamic to a already difficult situation.

    One of the things I am most thankful for about my blended family growing up was it taught me how to overcome hardship, disappointment. More than anything I am thankful for the prayers many, (including family) prayed for us. I believe this has made me who I am today.

    I look forward to hearing the comments of others on this topic 🙂

    1. Hey Joshua,

      Thanks for sharing this. I didn’t know that you grew up in a blended family. As I connect with more people, I’m realizing that blended families come in many different ways.

    2. Hey, Joshua. I had commented to Jed on an earlier post of his that, yes, adoption itself (and the allusion to it in scripture) is a form of blended family. And would we ever wish that adoption were not an option, that all babies born must stay with their original parents? No way!

      Thanks for your vulnerability here. I myself grew up in an abusive home (all within the context of a highly oppressive and judgmental religious system). My parents didn’t divorce, because that “was not allowed.” You stayed with your husband if he mistreated you and was abusive, because that’s just “what you did.” But while divorce isn’t ideal, neither is abuse. When my father finally left my mother on a whim, they’d been married 30 years and she was devastated. I always wished she’d had the strength to do it earlier, for her own sake. She gained nothing (not even in the eyes of God, I believe) by staying in an abusive situation for so long. I’m happy to report that she is remarried to a great guy who treats her like gold (remarried at 55), and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  2. First, regarding your statement “Christians look down on blended family homes,” I might say that “religious people” do this. True Christians (i.e., those who follow Christ’s teaching and example) do not.

    Second, I have a potentially new thought here (new to your blog and to our interactions, not to the world). I think we forget that the culture and specifics of marriage in the Bible are quite different from modern marriage. Marriages in most ancient cultures (and in many still today) were arranged. The woman had no choice, and the man most often did not marry for love, but as a business arrangement. This gives a certain context to even the idea of premarital relations, since a woman who was not a virgin was not “salable” by her father; this is why repayment was made to the father if the man who slept with his daughter was caught: because he’d lost out on potential monetary gain. It’s odd to us, but it’s true.

    Men also had multiple wives as part of the culture, and in the case of the wealthy, concubines, as well. This also had to do with business, dynastic succession, etc.

    I fear that modern western religion has borrowed much of the shame from these ancient cultures that are nothing like our own. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for marriages staying together. But, just as I think it odd that we expect 17-year-old kids to decide what they want to do for their rest of their lives in choosing a major in college, I think that when choice and emotions are involved in modern courtship and marriage, we expect an awful lot of young people. A 13-year-old girl who is arranged to be married actually has a lot less to worry about. There is no choice for her. There are no options. It’s not about love. It’s about duty, and she has an inferior role to the man in that culture. Today, with equality of the sexes (or working that direction), changes in role, emotional courtships, etc., I just think the expectation on young people to “get it right the first time” … is unrealistic for someone who hasn’t even had time to figure him/herself out yet, let alone anyone else.

    All that is to say that culture has changed. Marriage is still a serious decision, but one complicated by the introduction of choice and emotion. If people understood that it is categorically different from ancient marriage, perhaps they would be a little more enlightened and a little less judgmental.

    (Why do I get the feeling that all made more sense in my head than it did in words?)

    1. Great thoughts Erik,
      I love how you differentiate true Christian or Christ-honoring thoughts from the “religious” teachings. That is such a great point.

      Good insights about how marriage is changing too. I’m not a proportionate of divorce, and I also don’t think that, “white-knuckling it,” in an unloving relationship is a good answer either. My hope is that our churches band together and take a lead role in offering resources that help people find healing and joy in the relationship they already have (I’m sure this won’t be possible in all instances, but there is so much more that we could be doing). It sounds like you and I agree that much more conversation in this area is needed.

      And thank you for being one of those people who is cheering on blended families and who is a part of that positive change!

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