Principles to Live By

Here are 27 principles for blended families to live by, from the experience of veteran blended families:

  1. 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.
  2. Find solutions early to avoid conflict later.
  3. Don’t bury conflict – face it head on.
  4. Break down walls.
  5. 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.
  6. Use seminars and support groups to learn, give you vision, and put things in perspective.
  7. The first year will be the toughest but things get better with time.
  8. Commitment is the key
  9. Love each other, put your spouse’s feelings first, and don’t be selfish.
  10. Give each other the right to be right.
  11. Know your boundaries.
  12. 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.
  13. Be flexible, honest, patient, and impartial with a thick skin and a big heart.
  14. Keep communicating with honesty.
  15. 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.
  16. Put God first in your life, then your marriage, then your children. Pray with each other, with your children, and by yourself.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Respect the children’s feelings toward each other. Recognize there will be conflict between them at times.
  21. Make every member of the family feel just as important and just as loved as every other member.
  22. Discuss in detail each parent’s role in child discipline, and make sure each child has a clear picture of each parent’s role.
  23. Respect the children’s feelings toward their biological parent. Don’t try to replace that parent.
  24. Have one-on-one time with each of the children. Listen to them and emphasize their importance in the family unit.
  25. If possible, nurture the relationship with the biological parent in order to reduce the stress in the children.
  26. Never criticize the biological parent in front of the children.
  27. 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.

Jim Smoke

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