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Great New Resource: The Smart Stepfamily Marriage

Ron Deal understands stepfamilies! He teamed up with marriage and family expert David Olson to offer keys to success for blended families. I encourage you to grab their new resource!

make THIS marriage last a lifetime

How can you have a happy, meaningful marriage?

Ron Deal and David Olson researched over 100,000 people to discover the qualities that best predict highly satisfying relationships and the roadblocks couples must overcome in order to beat the odds of divorce. Some of their findings will validate what you already know about successful relationships; others will surprise you.

Surprising Findings about Marriage:

  1. The number one relationship problem for stepcouples is dealing with complex stepfamily issues. Making the differences between first marriages and remarriages undeniable, our research reveals that an astonishing 7 of the top 12 stumbling blocks for remarriage couples are related to a past relationship breakup (e.g., divorce) or to the complications of being a stepfamily.
  2. The remarriage divorce rate is between 10-25% higher than first marriages. Why does that occur? Fear and jealousy account for a lot of it and predict with 93% accuracy whether couples have a close, intimate remarriage or a struggling, unhappy one.
  3. People marry because they fall in love with a person, but they often divorce because of the complications of the stepfamily. Eighty-eight percent of individuals expected difficulty related to having a stepfamily and 86% thought having children from previous relationships would add stress to their marriage–and they are right. It does.

Ron Deal, FamilyLife Blended director and stepfamily author, has teamed up with marriage and family expert David Olson, PhD, to offer help, hope, and healing to couples in stepfamilies. Their new book, The Smart Stepfamily Marriage The Smart Stepfamily Marriage (formally titled The Remarriage Checkup) and is backed by research from the largest remarried study ever conducted.

Boasting over 50,000 participating remarrying couples, the National Survey of Couples Creating Stepfamilies was commissioned by Olson, the founder of Life Innovations and the PREPARE/ENRICH program.

Get the book here

Celebrating Mother’s Day as a Stepmom

It’s the hardest holiday of the year for stepmoms – Mother’s Day. Have you made plans for it yet?

I wrote an article last year on how to celebrate as a stepmom. It was recently published again and can be read in Western New York Family Magazine.

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What’s a stepmom to do on Mother’s Day? Do we insist that honor be bestowed upon us? Do we create expectations of what our stepchildren should do for us? Do we allow the biological mom to get all the attention for the day?

Mother’s Day can be a hard day for stepmoms because it reminds us of the time and energy we invest in our stepchildren that might include little reward. And if our stepchildren do try to show their appreciation, it can be an awkward and insincere effort, usually prodded by their father.

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Coping with Brokenness in Your Stepfamily

I sensed her restlessness to get off the phone. The conversation had been like most these days – shallow and brief. I understood why, but it didn’t make it any easier.

My mom’s dementia dominates her life. No longer able to find the words she needs, conversation is strained. Gone are the days of loving exchange, encouraging words, and engaging laughter. I feel as if I’m conversing with someone I don’t know.

The relationship with my mother feels broken. I can’t change that. It reminds me of the early years as a stepparent when my stepfamily relationships seemed broken and I felt helpless as to what to do.

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The Privilege Of a Stepparent

“Please pray for our marriage. I’m afraid my husband is about to walk away.” My heart sank as I listened to the voice mail. The woman and her husband had been in our stepfamily class and I knew there were a lot of struggles. But I didn’t expect her spouse to quit.

The challenges of stepfamily dynamics cripple step couples who don’t have the tools they need to succeed in their relationships. The statistics of divorce are staggering for remarriage when children are part of the package. But divorce doesn’t have to be the answer.

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Yes, it’s hard. It’s overwhelming. And it’s not unusual to feel like your stepfamily relationships will never be where you’d hoped. But if you quit, you’ll never experience the rewards that accompany the later years.

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Stepparent Mantra: Don’t Take Things Personally

Baffled by my teenage son’s behavior, I stood speechless as he slammed the door in my face. Usually a mild-mannered, easy-going kid, his outburst of anger surprised me. Had I done something to offend him? I quickly rehearsed our conversation in my head but couldn’t determine the root of his anger.

I’ve learned a few things in the midst of raising five teenagers. Sometimes they have bad days — just like we do. Their behavior likely has nothing to do with us!

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How often do we take things personally when our stepchild looks at us crossways or snarls at our innocent question about homework? I remember doing it in my younger years as a stepmom, particularly with my adolescent stepchildren. I didn’t recognize the influence of raging hormones and teenage insecurities that contributed to out-of-control behavior.

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Dare to Love in Your Stepfamily

Words from the voice on the radio played over in my head, piercing my heart. “We must dare to love those who hurt us.” The hurt from my gaping wound lay open. A friend I thought I could trust had let me down. I didn’t want to consider that I should dare to love her again.

Dare to Love in Your Stepfamily

I recognized the feeling from another time. Hurt by words of one of my stepchildren, I found it easier to guard my heart than make myself vulnerable to love again. I learned that a heart with walls around it, however, never experiences joy or peace.

With the Lord’s help, I reached out to my friend and offered forgiveness. Recognizing God’s grace of my own sin softened my heart toward my friend.

God’s power overcomes our weaknesses. We can dare to love again.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).