Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Solving the Stepfamily Dilemma

Solving the Stepfamily Dilemma

Biblical Counseling Center

Don Hart writes a short article that is packed with interesting facts and practical advice for blended families.

I want to put a spotlight on the most important parts, but you should read the entire article here:

Divorce Rate

Take a survey of 100 married couples. 75 of the men and 60 of the women want to divorce and marry someone else.

Most second marriages involve children.

Out of every 100 divorces, 90 of the mothers will be the primary custodian.

Survey 100 second-marriages. 67 of those marriages will also end in divorce.

Don asks a good question: What can stepfamilies do to be one of the 33% of those whose second marriage succeeds?

Problem 1: Time to Build the Marital Relationship

It seems even more important for second-marriage relationships to spend as much time together as just husband and wife...yet it's even harder to do. The blended family tends to expend all energy and emotion on the children. Don recommends that couples must put time into the family schedule for a regular date night.

Problem 2: The Parent-Child Relationship

The new step-parent is an outsider. The children, whether his or hers, may respect the new parent (or not), but they definitely will be slow to trust and depend upon them. Don lists four examples that will work, but he also lists four things that will NOT work:

1. Authority that is demanding and threatening, contradicting established household standards or Scripture.

2. Expecting love, obedience and respect from the children, yet failing to provide sacrificial love in return.

3. Squashing individual dignity of the chilren, putting down the child who fails or is uncooperative.

4. Selfishness. Pride. Anger. Manipulation.

Problem 3: Finances

Often, second-marriages bring unsupported debt into the blend. It's worth considering delaying a marriage until the debt can be paid. Child support from the ex-parent is rarely adequate to cover everything. Whether in debt or not, the couple should not keep separate accounts. Not "my money versus her money," but "it's our money, regardless of who earns it."

Again, this is a good article, a quick read, and I recommend it for all who might be involved in a second marriage: