“The blended family is a work of art that God creates with beauty from different broken families to manifest his grace, mercy, and love for the world”. This is the definition I heard from our friend Genaro Martinez. You can check our interview with him on this topic in the Podcast Família e Fé (in Portuguese/Spanish).
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Mine, Yours, and Ours
Mine, yours, and ours. The main feature of the blended family is the presence of at least one child prior to the current marriage – or union. And this child should be the subject of special attention by the parents.
Our friend Genaro Martinez was born from a union between his parents when the mother already had 2 children from another previous marriage. Together with him, the parents had 3 children from this union and then separated before they even got married. Then, his father married another woman who previously had 3 children from another marriage. And then, his father had another son with his stepmother.
God Has a Plan
This blended family, also known as stepfamily or instafamily, is not God’s original plan for the family. But it is a very old reality that is becoming more and more frequent in modern society.
The Bible shows us that God hates divorce. He is a covenant, faithful, and loving God. But the family, which is the means by which He chose to bless all people, has been under attack for centuries. And God is the one who takes the broken pieces of something destroyed to form something beautiful with them.
This is what we see in the many biblical examples, like Abraham who receives his nephew Lot, Jacob, who gave birth to the people of Israel after his challenging marriages with Leah and Rachel, and especially Jesus who was received by Joseph when his mother was already carrying him in the womb, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The Main Challenges in the Blended Families
Statistics show that children are under 18 in more than 70% of cases of marital separation. And when the time comes for correction, for discipline, who should correct? The Bible says that the father who loves disciplines his children, and this issue becomes more delicate in the case of a blended family.
Even in a traditional, or single-parent family, there is competition among children for priorities. In the blended family, the fact that there are children from other previous marriages, and also cases in which the older brother loses his primogeniture due to receiving another older brother, generates disputes for the parents’ attention.
Relationship with Ex’s
The relationship of the blended family members with the ex-husband and ex-wife can be just as difficult, or even more, than the relationship of the children with the stepfather and stepmother. And this among other issues creates another challenge for the blended family and for the authorities.
Valadares argues that “blended families deserve state protection and, especially, the children of these new family arrangements. It is not possible to predetermine a rule to be applied in the event of a conflict, but one should not accept the absence of a judgment, once it is appropriate, the consideration of the interpretation proposals presented. The detailed analysis of each case and the peculiarities of Family Rights must be imposed on decisions”.
The Beauty of Blended Families
It is now unquestionable that, although the blended family is not the ideal plan, it becomes a blessing for each of its members by generating fundamental bonds for the success of the family. The figure of the father and the mother are truly indispensable. And the child receives the benefit of learning, being encouraged, and developing new healthy relationships from the moment he receives a complete home.
My friend Genaro is proof that sharing his family environment in a blended family has added to him many learnings and, especially, valuable relationships such as his stepmother’s friendship and mentoring. He obtained wisdom for life in the face of the challenge of dealing with new siblings and, consequently, nephews and all those who were added to him.
This relationship with family members, in this case, is more complex because affection develops over time. Respect, unity, and love are highlights of a blended family. And the final product is very beautiful from the moment that each one decides to learn from the other, respect the differences, and intentionally love their neighbor.
Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?Amos 3:3
Blended families are not a new concept, but they have become a modern trend. It is always worth remembering that the child involved in the formation of this type of family is not guilty of what happened in the past, be it divorces, separations, or any type of frustration. This child should be the main beneficiary in any decision that involves him / her in forming a new family.
God wastes nothing and is an expert in picking up pieces of something broken and creating a beautiful work of art. As we saw above, this is how He developed the family from which all people on earth are blessed in Jesus.
Prayer: God, thank you so much for your plans for my life and family. I thank you for always taking care of me, and turning every hardship of the past into blessings for my future. I commit my family to you and I choose to live everything You have prepared for me, in Christ Jesus. Amen.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
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