What I didn’t realize as we were in the process of blending and bonding that someday our boys would meet girls they wanted to marry. Seriously, I thought they would never grow up! And yes, now I would like to make them small again for just a day or two.
They did grow though and taller than me, two of them found delightful women to marry-the other, who knows? maybe soon. We had to learn how to blend our family with daughter-in-laws and figure out who gets to see who on the holidays.
But now we are about to do a different kind of blending and bonding.
Yes, it’s true. We are getting our first grandchild and it’s a boy. This boy is going to be loved beyond imagination as he’ll have 3 sets of grandparents. Whew talk about learning to blend, this is going to be an excercise of patience, acceptance and graciousness between all of us as we find a comfortable way to share him.
Can you successfully blend a family in a non-neutral home? When two families blend often one spouse has a house that would work best for the new family. It may not fit everyone well, but there is room if creativity is applied. The new family saves money and only one part of the family has to move. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?
HGTV’s Love it or List it, a show with two hosts-one a realtor, David who tries to get the family to move, the other host, Hillary remodels the present home hoping the will love it and stay in the Reunited Family FrictionEpisode HLILI-606H the situation is more twisted than two families meeting and blending. This husband and wife were married before and bought the house where the wife still lives. That marriage lasted for two years. He moved out and she stayed. They had other spouses and each had a child. Years later, they reunite at a funeral, fall back in love and get married.
Where do they pick to live? Her house, it’s packed with emotions for her and no room for the family. This was a case of (from a couch therapist) of a marriage about to end.
The wife was willing to have the house redone by Hillary. The husband wanted to start over in a new home. Blending a family in this home seems impossible.
Every house David, the co-host showed them wouldn’t do for the wife. It wasn’t her street, she couldn’t see the house where she grew up, and her son wasn’t born there. Nothing pleased her.
I’m not sure how this show ends I lost control of the TV—hey we share one TV and if I had thought about writing this blog post today I would have kept watching!
I do know if the house wasn’t changed enough that everyone could call the present house-home that marriage is going to have a tough time surviving. My hope is they chose the neutral ‘new to them’ home, and are living a wonderful life together.
So what if you’re in a blended family and you’ve found yourself in the other spouse’s home and you can’t move? While not every family has the money to do a reno you can start with painting one room.
Paint? Yes, paint. My theory is when you paint everything has to come off the walls, furniture is moved and items are put away without guilt. It offers the opportunity for using furniture in a different way, hanging of new photos of the new family and perhaps purchasing a cover for the sofa to change the look.
When putting away painting and tchotchkes (knickknacks if you live in the Mid-West!) ask, “Is this important to you? Can we give it away or box it for one of the kids?”
While not the perfect fix that moving would be it this redo will offer one room that belongs to everyone instead of just some.
In this life we often make two mistakes that cause immense amounts of pain. The first is to believe we are separate from God, thus rendering our lives void of meaning. The second is trying to find or gain that meaning from something outside of God.
We do this in many ways–trying to build up our bank account, buying or building a bigger house, getting a better car, and even serving ourselves into the ground trying to prove our worthiness to God and others. None of these work. But I think the most tragic way we try to gain meaning is through our children.
You know the scenario. The marriage isn’t happy, so the solution is to have a baby as the baby will give meaning to the loveless, lifeless marriage. When that doesn’t work, unhealed parents begin to strive to live out their failed dreams through their children. They put them in every camp, class, and activity that they themselves always wanted to be in–or were in but never quite succeeded at.
Then they begin to push and demand far too much from the child. Every misstep the child makes is met with condemnation and an order to do better (conditional love). I actually know parents who have taken their child out to practice for hours on end “to make them better.” Oftentimes doing so against the child’s will or better judgment.
The answer lies in the parent’s strained relationship with God. That parent, pushing their child beyond their limits in a sport or activity the child doesn’t even want to be in, is trying to gain meaning through their child’s accomplishments. The parent doesn’t realize that something “out there” — i.e. their child’s success will not give them the peace they so desperately seek.
The only thing that gives that peace is seeking God, falling on Him, and letting His love and acceptance flow through your life–not because you deserve it but just because He wants to give it to you. Until you find that, nothing “out there” will ever fill “in here.”
So if you’re a parent who is yelling at refs, forcing your child to be in an activity they neither want to be in nor like, or demanding your child excel for your benefit, it may be time to take a few steps back and ask if you are doing this for your child or for yourself.
Sit and talk with your child, ask what they want in the situation and in life. Do they like this sport or activity? Would they do it if you let them choose whatever they want? You see, their life is also between them and God. Their meaning in life is God–not pleasing you. But if you set it up so that they are trying to please you instead of God, you have set yourself up as an idol for that child.
Parenting is absolutely one of the hardest, most challenging callings on this earth. Just don’t make it harder by trying to do it unhealed and searching for your hope “out there.” Give your child the gift of putting God first in their lives, and give yourself the same gift. It can make all the difference.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling author and the co-founder CrossReads.com a new website that gives Christian readers and authors a place to meet and fellowship. With a newsletter, a blog, a forum, and other exciting, inspiring areas to visit, CrossReads visitors can find fabulous Christian books they never knew existed.
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This is the second time you’ve had a marriage proposal and said yes.
Are you still flying through the clouds of joy and while wearing the cloak of proposal excitement?
Before you get to caught up in the wedding plans you need to take a moment and figure out what this means to your children and his. You love his kids and he loves yours. Everything is going to fall into the LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH category, right? If you go into your marriage unprepared wearing rose-colored glasses you’ll soon need them to cover the tears of frustration.
Some questions you might want to ask before the church is booked and the seating chart is filled in for the reception.
1. Where are we living, will all of the kids have their own space? 2. Are you comfortable with me sending your kids to time out? or taking away the wii? 3. How are we going to handle holidays? 4. What’s our plan for the child support or social security money for each child? 5. How will we find time to continue to build our relationship?
Starting over with the same plot sort of…it’s hard but I’m finding it’s not impossible. The difficult part is changing my character Randi’s life. It’s like looking back at my own and thinking what if I had decided to become a lawyer instead of a teacher. What would my life have been like?
Rewriting for me would start with being a better mom.
What would your life look like if you could rewrite it?