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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Some more very good information and sound advice that we all need to follow!

Some more very good information and sound advice that we all need to follow! 

In most cases, a first marriage begins with the relationship, front and center. Children don't come along until later.
But in a blended family, children are already present when the marriage begins. This is one reason blended families have a higher frequency of divorce. They face several challenges at the very beginning that aren't present in other marriage relationships.
One of those challenges is the priority of the marriage.
When children are present at the beginning of a relationship, the children often become first. They take priority over the marriage itself.
To some people, this doesn't seem like a huge concern. Of course we should focus on our children, they might think. It's good for them! But children aren't the nucleus of a family. Marriage is. And children are a temporary assignment. They are going to grow up and start families of their own.
God explains His laws for marriage in Genesis 2:24-25. One of these is the law of priority. He says "a man will leave his father and mother." That means the marriage comes first over any other relationship.
If your marriage revolves around your children, what happens at age 18 when they leave for college? What happens when they get married? These kinds of marriages lose their foundation. The husband and wife don't know what to do with each other. That's why many divorces happen among empty-nest couples.
Here are three things I want mothers and fathers in every marriage to remember, whether they are in blended families or not:
First, your children will feel more secure when you are happy and when they see you in a happy marriage.
Second, your successful marriage gives them a vision for the future. They'll follow your lead. Are you giving them a good example to emulate?
And third, when they grow up, you will still enjoy a stable life and relationship. You won't be emotionally dependent on them. This helps them flourish as adults and helps your marriage stay healthy.
How can parents keep their marriage first in priority? One way is to set aside time alone with each other on a regular basis. Karen and I used to tuck our children into their beds at night and then make sure they stayed in their rooms. "This is our time together," we would tell them. "Don't come out unless it's an emergency."
This taught the kids to respect our time. Then, on a regular basis, Karen and I went out for a date night. We let our parents take care of the kids and would spend an uninterrupted night or even weekend together. This time was so vital.
When our children left home, we thanked God we had prioritized our marriage because we had built a strong relationship that wasn't dependent on our kids.
A successful family does not build itself around children, but around the marriage itself. Yes, children deserve your attention. Love them unconditionally. Give them quality time. But don't neglect your marriage to focus on your kids.
Put your marriage first, and remember this: When you work on your marriage, you are doing your children a favor.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blended families by Jimmy Evans

Dear Bruce,
Fifty percent of all families are blended families. These kinds of family structures—where one or both spouses bring children from a previous marriage or relationship—can be challenging. Blended families have a higher divorce rate because of particular dynamics present at the first day of the new marriage.
In my counseling, I've seen one particular dynamic lead to a variety of problems: non-biological parenting. This is the relationship between a step-parent and stepchildren.
Biological parents often enter a new marriage with a protective instinct. They may come into the new relationship with emotional damage from their past, and that results in a lack of trust.
They may not trust their new spouse with decisions related to stepchildren.
They may not view the new spouse as an equal when it comes to parenting.
They may think, "They don't love them like I love them."
These attitudes are asking for trouble. In these situations, I've heard one spouse say something like this: "You may not be my spouse the rest of my life, but my children are going to be my children the rest of my life. And if it comes down to a choice, I choose my children."
That's a very dangerous mistake to make in a relationship.
In Genesis 2:24-25, God reveals His laws for marriage. One of these is the law of possession. He says "the two shall become one." Not one-point-three or one-point eight, but ONE. The only way two things can become one is if both husband and wife surrender everything to the relationship.
That means finances, assets, decision-making, and children. Withholding any one of those things—refusing to give it up—becomes an idol. It threatens the marriage relationship.
Because marriage is trust. When you marry somebody, it's imperative that they become co-owners of those children along with you. If you don't trust a person with your children, then you shouldn't marry them.
I do understand that, in the beginning of a relationship, non-biological parents make not have the natural love a biological parent has for his or her child. However, they can love a child by choice. This is the same holy agape love God has for us.
Love by choice is the greatest level of love. It means doing what Jesus would do regardless of emotion or circumstances.
I'm not saying that a non-biological parent's love is better than biological love. Nor am I saying that a non-biological parent should replace the biological parent. But both parents do have to be equal.
While it might be wise at the beginning of a new relationship for the biological parent to enforce discipline—at least until the non-biological parents gains authority— the non-biological parent should still have full rights to that child.
Otherwise, these complicated relationships can drive a wedge between a husband and wife.
Blended families, parent your children together. Follow God's Law of Possession. Make sure the children see you trusting each other and operating as a team.
Blending Families: Parenting and Children
Blending Families: Parenting and Children | Marriage Today | Jimmy Evans
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