Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other -

So you met that guy or gal and you thought … “Life was going to be wonderful!” You loved each other, so you were sure everything else would just work out. You knew there would be some adjustments, but you weren’t prepared for what has happened. It seems like conflict has broken out on every front and no one seems to even like each other anymore to say nothing about love!

 

Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other

 

In part 1 I talked about the losses that many members of blended families have faced. Understanding those losses can increase our understanding and patience and lead to great gains.

Blended Families Part 1: The Losses & the Gains

And in part 2 I shared that while blended families have unique problems, the root issues are the same as those we all face. I also shared an incredible promise from God’s Word that applies to blended and biological families alike.

Blended Families Part 2: The Same Only Different


Ready-Made Families

 

This week we’ll look at the incredible opportunity we have in blended families to demonstrate God’s love, beginning right now, even in the midst of the turmoil and strife.

In some ways it’s understandable that problems surface. You see … in biological families love grows naturally over a period time. Mutual attraction, shared interests, and loving feelings draw a couple together and, hopefully, continue to grow as the marriage progresses. Children arrive and their parents fall in love with them as they hold them, care for them, and nurture them through infancy and childhood. Children’s feelings for their parents form naturally, as well.

But in a blended family, couples marry and then realize their “ready-made” family has all the problems, personality issues, and pressures of other families, plus some, without the bonds of affection and loyalty that naturally form over time.

Instead, those bonds often exist only between the husband and wife. Children are expected to welcome new siblings and another parent into their lives without any real bonding, in many cases. And step-parents may find it hard to like children who are often hostile or indifferent. Before long it can even put a strain on the husband and wife relationship. 

 

God’s Promises

 

But God has provided all the help Christian step-families need. First, remember some of the promises we discussed in earlier blogs. 1 Corinthians 10.13 says that He won’t give us more than we can handle if we’ll focus on doing things His way and Philippians 1.6 says He’s going to complete the work He started in us.

The book of James should encourage us yet more. James wrote:

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking (1.2-5 NLT).

Instead of being discouraged, see your trial as an opportunity for great joy! As believers, we can trust God to use it for our good (Rom. 8.28-29). It’s spiritual “weight training” that God is using to grow us into mature believers.

And if we need wisdom, we can ask God who will give it—generously!

Proverbs tells us the one who finds wisdom is blessed (Prov. 3.13) and that a house or a family is built by wisdom (Prov. 24.3).

But we must start asking for His wisdom and when we do, we’re to ask in faith, not doubting (Jas. 1.6-7). Part of not doubting is trusting that God’s way is the best way (Is. 55.8-9), in spite of our feelings to the contrary.

Much of God’s wisdom has already been given to us, but we need to look for it in His Word. As we discover God’s wisdom, it will mean change, beginning with our thinking.

 

Different Goals

 

If a blended family is going to thrive, or even survive, they need to adopt some different goals and strategies. Rather than learning to like each other or just get along, they need to choose to love one another biblically.

 

Why is that so important and how can it possibly work?

 

When asked about the most important commandment, Jesus responded, “’You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22.37-39 NLT).

Your family members are your closest neighbors and Jesus said we’re to love our neighbors as we already love ourselves. That may seem impossible in the midst of turmoil, but Philippians 2.13 says “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Loving each other may be impossible in your own strength, but if you pray and allow God to work in and through you, He’ll give you the willingness and the grace to do it.

What does it mean to love one another? Does it mean to conjure up warm, fuzzy feelings? No, in fact, that’s not even possible. But biblical love isn’t primarily a feeling. We might define it this way:

Biblical love is a purposeful, beneficial action for the benefit of another and the glory of God without expecting anything in return.

Love is action. It’s doing. It’s how we treat those we’re called to love.

1 Corinthians 13.4-7 says:
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

We can choose to do the things that love does. We can choose to exercise patience even when the other person is tempting us to be impatient. We can choose to demonstrate kindness to those we live with, even if we’re not getting the same in return.

Kindness might be taking a rebellious step-son to the movies or out for pizza without lecturing him about his behavior. It might mean tucking a small iTunes gift card into your step-daughter’s algebra book. It might be playing catch or going to the park with that child who defiantly said, “You’re not my dad!” the night before. It might be giving a frustrated spouse a hug instead of responding in anger. Look for ways to show kindness to those in your family.

Love doesn’t demand its own way. It’s not selfish. It doesn’t matter how you’ve always done things. Love lays down its rights for the benefit of another (Phil. 2.3-4).

Love is not irritable! Ouch! It’s easy to be irritable, but it’s not helpful or loving. Irritation is just low grade anger and it’s often used to get our own way or punish someone we think has wronged or inconvenienced us.

It keeps no records of wrongs. Love doesn’t keep score. It covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4.8). It forgives.

It doesn’t rejoice over injustice. It doesn’t secretly gloat when someone “gets what they have coming.”

It “never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

That might seem impossible but the Apostle John said, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4.19). Because He has loved us, we can love others. We can take the love He has poured into us and bend it out toward others. He didn’t wait for us to act right or show appreciation. While we were still sinners, He died for us (Rom. 5.8).

John goes on, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4.19-20) and in an earlier chapter he said, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 Jn. 3.18 NLT).

Love—it’s the “Great Commandment.” It’s what we’re called to do as followers of Christ. So quit trying to merely like each other or just get along. God has called us to something much grander, something much more powerful! Love—it’s the most powerful weapon on the face of the earth! More soon …

Next week … Part 4: God’s Way & Our Goal

If you have any questions on the subject of blended families or things you would like to see addressed, please let me know in the comments at the bottom. I’ll be glad to keep them anonymous if you request it.

Blessings,
Donna

Read “Blended Families Part 4: The Goal of Life.”

Some of the subjects I’ll cover in future blogs:

Blended families in the Bible
The goal of life for blended families
The F-word in blended families—favoritism
How to prepare your children for being in a blended family
Damage control—healing the mistakes
Dealing with in-laws and out-laws
Helping your child be part of the “other” blended family
Dealing with “exes”
You’re not my dad!
Your questions


IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!

IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!

Christian bloggers linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit someone else and get to know them.

I pin many of your posts on my “Mondays @ Soul Survival” Pinterest board, as time allows.

I would love it if you link back in some way and followed me on FaceBook, Twitter or Pinterest.





SIgn UP FOR THE “BIBLE IN A YEAR” DAILY POSTS TODAY so you don’t miss a single one!

You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts & receive notices of this LINKUP, along the two current series:

Previous Posts in the “Blended Families” series:

Blended Families Part 1: The Losses & the Gains

Blended Families Part 2: The Same Only Different

Previous posts in the “Wise Woman” series:

A Wise Woman or Foolish One? Part 1

A Wise Woman or a Foolish One? Part 2: The Tongue & Ears

A Wise Woman or a Foolish One? Part 3: Money & Stuff


I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:

Mondays Making Your Home Sing Musing Mondays Darling Downs Diaries Mom to Mom Mondays The Life of Faith The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Our Home of Many Blessings The Beauty in His Grip Moments of Hope
Tuesdays Cornerstone Confessions Testimony Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tuesday Talk Intentional Tuesday
Wednesdays Messy Marriage Christian Blogger Linkup A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Seeking God in All I Do Coffee for Your Heart Woman to Woman Women of Intention
Thursdays Frog’s Lily Pad Booknificent Thursdays Children Are a Blessing 3-D Lessons for Life
Fridays Create with Joy Missional Women Coffeeshop Conversations Grace & Truth Faith & Friends
Saturdays Snippets of Inspiration Word of God Speak
Sundays Spiritual Sundays

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!

5 thoughts on “Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other + LINKUP

  1. Carmen, what a great question!

    I believe you want to do the right thing and bring God into this situation. That’s so commendable! It’s so difficult to see our kids making decisions that adversely affect their lives and the lives of their children and it’s equally hard to see others doing things that can hurt them.

    But, first, remember that you can’t “fix” everything, but what you can do is be faithful to do your part. The two greatest commandments are “love God” and “love others (Matt. 22.37-40),” so as you continue to have a biblically loving attitude toward everyone concerned, including “Alice,” you’re being faithful.

    That starts with prayer: pray for the salvation of anyone involved who’s not already saved, pray that God would grant a spirit of repentance to those who are not saved and to those who are not acting like they should, pray for opportunities to speak the truth in love, pray for His wisdom (Jas. 1.2-8), and pray that God’s will would be done.

    1 Corinthians 13.7 says, “love believes all things,” and Proverbs 18.17 says, “The first to plead his case seems right,
    Until another comes and examines him” (NASB). So we must be careful about believing everything we hear second hand. We may not be getting both sides of the story. Instead, we should give the other person the benefit of the doubt until facts prove otherwise.

    Then if someone is treating us unkindly, even hatefully, we need to remember what Paul said in Romans 12.17-21 (NLT):

    17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    That passage is filled with so much truth, not just for us, but to share with others concerned in the situation. As God opens the door to you to speak to some of the people involved, encourage them to do the right thing, to overcome evil with good, to do their part to be at peace with everyone. And, especially if they’re not believers, remind them that we can’t live that way without God’s help.

    Praying that God will use you mightily, especially in prayer for your family!
    Donna

  2. Hello! I have a question/situation. My husband has a 9-year-old with high-functioning Autism. His Mother refuses to get behavioural therapy for him because she doesn’t want him “labelled”. My husband goes along with her wishes.

    Meanwhile, the boy is atrocious to my children. I have an eight-year-old boy (There’s an “alpha-male” problem happening there) and a two-year-old boy. I understand some of the things he does are Autism-related and cannot be helped but other things are not. My husband will not discipline him because he “never sees him” and thinks it’s “not his fault”. An example would be, he gets very angry at my son and starts to scream that he is going to slit his throat in the middle of the night while he’s sleeping with a knife from the kitchen. Yep. That specific. He also talks about killing himself a lot.

    I’ve tried to get my husband to take him for help but I’m at a loss. It’s now at the point where I don’t want my children around him. My oldest son is very good at “dealing” with the outbursts but I wouldn’t allow a stranger to say those things to him and I absolutely wouldn’t let him play with a child like that.

    His son’s behaviour creates a ton of tension in our marriage and in myself. I refuse to bring him on family vacations until his violent outbursts stop. He doesn’t behave that way when my husband isn’t home, he knows better than to act that way with me. I have tried to be a friend to him and be patient and our relationship is okay.

    The problem is really my husband not disciplining him and I think he does it to get his attention. I tried suggesting he spend more time with him alone to build a stronger relationship so he doesn’t feel like he has to fight for his attention but my husband doesn’t really seem to want to. Because of the autism, his son really just likes to read and play video games (Which he allows him to do ALL DAY, another argument there) and my husband is much more into sports, like my 8-year-old, so he likes bringing him along too.

    I don’t even know how to talk about it anymore. It’s just tense and uncomfortable and the weekends he’s with us I’m on edge and anxious. It’s just no fun but what can I even do?!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. And, as you already know, it’s not a good situation for anyone, including your step-son. There are many things I can share with you, but I believe the best thing would be for you and your husband to sit down with a biblical counselor in your area. You can go to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) website and find one. In the meantime, I’m sure you’re praying, that’s so important. Pray for wisdom and for God to make your husband open to discussing the problem.

      Ironically, the basic issue of not dealing with the problem isn’t unique to someone with an autistic child. Many parents who don’t see their children full time are reluctant to discipline, often because of guilt. It does create all kinds of other issues.

      Laura Hendrickson wrote a book on the subject of parenting autistic children, Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum: Discovering Unique Strengths, Mastering Behavior Challenges. She has gone home to be with the Lord, but was the mother of an autistic child herself.

      It is important that you take any necessary steps to protect your other children. I have worked with autistic children and the fact that he doesn’t behave that way when his biological parents aren’t present says that he is very capable of understanding right and wrong and controlling his behavior. It’s not normal for any child to make violent threats and shouldn’t be tolerated.

      I hope you will go to the ACBC website and find a counselor. Go yourself even if your husband refuses. If that’s not possible for some reason, you can email me at reidland.donna@yahoo.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *