I love the beauty of Summer.
Flowers planted months before begin to show their delicate blooms. The effects of planting, fertilizing, and watering can be enjoyed as perfectly shaped flower petals emerge. It’s a process that requires work and patience. But the end result can be enjoyed for months or years.
The same is true of relationships in blended families. The process requires work and patience. But the end result can be enjoyed for years.
In Galatians 5:22-23 we read “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.”
PATIENCE. It’s a difficult quality to attain but a necessary one to possess in blended families.
The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation. As a stepparent? Check!
Misfortune or pain, without complaint? That might be stretching it!
But quiet, steady perseverance will eventually work. As we calmly wait for change to take place in our relationships, we practice patience.
Good things can happen while we wait. I wrote a blog post about how God works while we wait.
Did you know that some stepfamily experts say that it takes the average stepfamily takes seven years to integrate? Seven years to feel like a “family.” A complex stepfamily (when both parents bring children to the marriage, like ours) can take longer. Ugh.
Seven years can seem like an eternity when you’re in the middle of it. The importance of patience appears obvious.
So, what are the effects of practicing patience in a blended family? For our family, it has been life changing. My stepchildren were taught early on that I was the enemy. They resisted any kind of relationship with me because I was criticized and belittled in their other home. It was a discouraging situation that I couldn’t change.
It was only through God’s grace that I was able to patiently continue to pursue a relationship.
As years passed, my stepchildren began to form their own opinion of me. They opened up their hearts to the possibility of a loving relationship. We engaged in meaningful conversations that allowed a connection to occur. It was a long process that seemed to include one step forward and two steps backward, but the walls began to come down that had been built up years before. Finally, we were able to engage in healthy relationships with one another.
Patience in a blended family requires setting aside our selfish desires and doing the work required for a positive result.
It means facing our fears and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in our relationships. It doesn’t happen naturally or easily but can have life-altering benefits.
Where do you need to exert more patience today in your blended family? Maybe it’s with a stepchild or perhaps it’s with your spouse. It could even be with yourself. Identify your weak spots and commit to practicing patience daily. And on those days it seems too hard to keep going, remember the long-term benefits you will reap if you don’t give up.