the divorce rate for marriages is a whopping 50 percent. 65 for second marriages. and 70 if those spouses each have children of their own. as of 2017 it’s been estimated that there are more blended families than nuclear families in the US.
so what does all that mean?
blended family or not, odds are against you.
our families are at risk.
i was raised in a blended home myself. and to be honest, it all seemed so normal until i started noticing how other families did things. mostly how both parents were always giving even amounts. traditional families didn’t seem to exhibit the step versus biological parent tug-o-war. the jealousy, the resent, the emotional baggage. and so i vowed over the years that my kids would never experience that sorta lopsided dysfunction. i vowed a lot of things, i guess.
i am part of that sad statistic. but really. statistics schmatistics. they’re nothing but a taunting provocation in my opinion. broken things can be mended. status quos can be shaken. joy can return. and life can be satisfying.
but not without death.
whenever i think of the term “blended” family, i think of a blender. ouch. just take two separate families full of unique family history, special rituals, inside jokes, food aversions, movie preferences, past vacations, references about former pets- in short, shared experience galore!- toss ‘em in a blender, hit chop/blend/dice. and voila! in essence, you start from complete and utter scratch, but without the memory erasing neuralyzer, and you expect it to work.
so what can you expect with two blissfully ignorant adults and fragile/cynical/begrudging kids of different ages? let down, disaster, failure!
and wouldn’t you agree?
marriage is that way sometimes… because in all honesty
we fail at showing forgiveness and grace
we fail at swallowing our pride
we fail at never having feelings of resentment
we fail at giving up control and allowing another person to discipline our kids
we fail at keeping jealousy at bay
we fail at not being assertive in our own home
we fail at not giving equal time to our kids.
but no amount of applying myself is going to make me fail less…
no amount of date nights or regular intimacy will make this blendered family better.
its only possible through God.
its only possible through the death of self.
i used to live at the whim of my feelings, riding the waves of my emotions.
up and down with every circumstance or mood i encountered.
tip toeing my way through conflict.
it was exhausting.
i had to learn the hard way.
i thought i was doing all the right things and following all the rules. i thought marriage was about my being happy and getting the life i wanted. in many ways i relied on my husband to tell me who i was and what i valued. i relied on my children and my perfectly nestled home.
but it was never about any of those things.
in truth, marriage only makes sense with reference to the gospel. with reference to our need for sanctification… our need to look at ourselves first (not the other person), confess our shortcomings, ask forgiveness, and pray for help to LOVE (i.e. die).
marriage wasn’t created to make us happy, rather to purify us.
marriage was meant to mirror the gospel.
in our home i am married to a kind man, a humble man.
he is passionate to the max for Jesus.
if you have ever known him in real life, you know he is something different.
he has a huge heart for family and loves our babies so tenderly.
he can. not. sit. still. ever. he works so hard. drives so far.
he’s silly and a tad eccentric. he smiles a lot lot- always trying to make people laugh.
and he can stop time with his gazes… eyeballing me in this way that assures me i am for him.
he pampers me with hot tea and foot massages.
he takes the time to hug and reconnect with each of the littles when they come back home.
he doesn’t leave for work until he prays with me, over me.
and no matter how tough the work day or how long the drive home
he walks in the door with a smile on his face and a kiss for his wife.
he is obedient to Christ.
he loves like Christ- giving of himself in the most sacrificial way.
doing hard things… things he may not feel like doing.
dying to his desires, his selfish nature, his own needs.
dying just a little bit more every single day.
and every single day, i am compelled to respond.
i want to be like that
a mirror of the gospel.
i know no other way,
death is the only way to save a marriage.
the only question is who is going to die first?