Principles to Live By
Here are 27 principles for blended families to live by, from the experience of veteran blended families:
- Before committing to the marriage, look for pitfalls, problems, trends, and quirks during dating that could become issues after marriage. Don’t let your expectations cloud the reality of the relationship.
- Find solutions early to avoid conflict later.
- Don’t bury conflict – face it head on.
- Break down walls.
- Premarital counseling/testing is a must. Post-marital counseling for the first year in your blended family is also necessary, whether you think you need it or not.
- Use seminars and support groups to learn, give you vision, and put things in perspective.
- The first year will be the toughest but things get better with time.
- Commitment is the key
- Love each other, put your spouse’s feelings first, and don’t be selfish.
- Give each other the right to be right.
- Know your boundaries.
- Plan ahead as best you can, but know you will fail from time to time. When that happens, pick yourself up, find growth in the experience, and move on.
- Be flexible, honest, patient, and impartial with a thick skin and a big heart.
- Keep communicating with honesty.
- When things get tough, sit down and look through your wedding album together. It will remind you both of why you got married in the first place.
- Put God first in your life, then your marriage, then your children. Pray with each other, with your children, and by yourself.
- Use your love and faith in God and each other. Be patient and seek wisdom and forgiveness in your relationships as a family. Listen, pray, and look to the future as your blended family matures.
- As a couple, stand strongly together so the children will know you are one. That way they will know they can’t break down the relationship you have with each other.
- Remember that you chose the new relationship; the children didn’t. Give them plenty of time to adjust, adapt, and grow into the new blended family.
- Respect the children’s feelings toward each other. Recognize there will be conflict between them at times.
- Make every member of the family feel just as important and just as loved as every other member.
- Discuss in detail each parent’s role in child discipline, and make sure each child has a clear picture of each parent’s role.
- Respect the children’s feelings toward their biological parent. Don’t try to replace that parent.
- Have one-on-one time with each of the children. Listen to them and emphasize their importance in the family unit.
- If possible, nurture the relationship with the biological parent in order to reduce the stress in the children.
- Never criticize the biological parent in front of the children.
- The children did not cause the breakup that landed them in a blended family. You and your former spouse did.
From 7 Keys to a Healthy Blended Family by Jim Smoke, chapter 12 pages 179-187, Harvest House Publishers, 2004 – to purchase, visit your local Christian bookstore.