FamilyLife Blended®

Ron L. Deal

We’re Here to Help

August 5, 2019

We are here to help.


It is fun to tell ministry leaders how many resources there now are for blended families.  “I’m not sure where to start,” one leader said. Well, if you want an event we can help you find a speaker. “Really?” Or if you want a DVD or streaming video series there are options. We have books, articles, and an annual two-day ministry equipping event. “No kidding!” You don’t have to figure this out alone. And you can make a big difference in your community. “Wow,” he said, “I feel like we can do this.”

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Yeah, most couples divorce anyway so if you’re having problems, just accept the inevitable.   That’s not right. It’s based on the belief that half of marriages end in divorce which isn’t true. Actually most couples report they are "somewhat to very happy." But what if you’re not happy? Let me encourage you to stick it out. Research clearly shows that couples who stay together during a time of distress report years later being very happy they did. And stepfamily couples who stay married at least five years discover many rewards just because they didn’t quit. Don't give up!
August 2, 2019
Today, a word of encouragement to stepparents: just keep on trucking.   We all do and say childish things. That’s why I love it when someone grows up, gains perspective, and then reflects back on who they were. Jason’s online post is a good example. “We’re going to be angry,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the best stepdad ever; it’s not your fault. At 15 I felt like something was wrong with me or my mom and it made me mad. But don’t despair, stepparents, we usually come around. Keep on trucking. You make a difference even if your stepchild can’t admit it.”
August 1, 2019
Are you so bold as to insult God?   Proverbs 17:5 says that when you mock the poor, you insult their Maker. After all, they are made in His image. To disparage them is to speak against God. Have you ever made a passing sarcastic remark about a homeless person? And if you made that remark in front of a child or an unbeliever, you insult God and you make faith less attractive. Look, you may have just given your last ten bucks to a homeless person but at the next corner take kindness out of your wallet. You always have that to give.
July 31, 2019
The notion that “All you need is love” just isn’t true.   Every relationship needs more than just love. It needs faithfulness. Imagine a friend who repeatedly breaks promises, or a spouse who says, “I love you with all my heart,” then keeps a lover on the side. That won’t work. No faithfulness. No trust. No emotionally safety. No relationship. Faithfulness goes double in blended families because stepfamilies are inherently fragile but trust adds stability and moves you toward love and bonding. Ask yourself, can the people in your life trust you?
July 30, 2019
Ron, how do I tell my mom I need to get away from my stepdad?   Mitchell was 18 when he asked that question. His stepfather had been harshly critical and he couldn’t bear it any more. He had provoked him to anger, what the Bible in Ephesians 6:4 warns fathers not to do; now Mitchell wanted to move out, but he knew his mom wouldn’t want him to leave. Look, stepparents, if you have a critical edge to you, you can dig yourself into a hole fast. Kids will tolerate a lot more from a parent, than a stepparent. Gentleness will get you farther in building trust.
July 29, 2019
Have you ever had someone get mad at you…because you forgave them?   Normally seeking forgiveness brings restoration but what if in pride the person you forgave is offended? What do you do? Because reconciliation requires two people and forgiveness only one, you can still forgive the person in your heart and treat them as forgiven but you can’t restore the relationship. Don’t argue over whether forgiveness was necessary. Release your resentment for the offense and love them. Who knows? Eventually, responding with a merciful heart might soften their pride.
July 26, 2019
Want to influence someone for good? Speak with the wisdom of God.   Words can push people away or invite them closer. Harsh or critical words will result in people moving away from us but compassionate, insightful words draw them closer. Of course, foolish people are double trouble. They have a “closed mind” and an “open mouth” but according to Proverbs 18 wise words are like fresh water from a fountain that just keeps coming. Where do you get wise words? Study God’s word and commit it to heart and you will speak and influence others with the wisdom of God.
July 25, 2019
A foolish child will make your soul ache.   Twice in Proverbs 17 the author points out that a foolish child brings grief and bitterness to a parent’s heart. And, in my experience, if there’s a stepparent involved their heart aches, too. They may not fully understand the situation, but they care deeply about the child. Sometimes they want to help. But if the biological parent feels paralyzed to do anything they may block any help. It’s never too late. Come together as parents, find help, and learn ways to fight for the heart of your child
July 24, 2019
When I’m old, who will take care of me?   “I don’t have any biological children,” Brooke said. “I think my adult stepchildren spend time with me only for their dad’s sake. When he dies who will take care of me?” Generally, we rely on close family to provide for us as we age. But when there are no biological kids extended family, friends, the church community, and stepchildren are next in line. Orchestrating expectations and preparing for old age take forethought, planning, and the willingness of everyone involved to care for each other.
July 23, 2019
So, what’s your bias?   Social conversations about race and bias are much needed. I recognize my bias and I’m trying to manage it. But bias can even be toward people we love. One guy, who feared before his marriage that his wife would not commit to him, later said, “My wife reads her favorite books on marriage and family but she won’t read mine. Is this her putting her kids before me?” Hey, I think your confirmation bias won’t let you see what she is doing. Doubt is blinding you. What about you? Can you see your bias?
July 22, 2019
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Receive our monthly Strengthening Stepfamilies newsletter as well as the occasional email updating you on stepfamily events and resources.

About FamilyLife Blended®

FamilyLife Blended® provides  biblically-based resources that help prevent re-divorce, strengthen stepfamilies, and help break the generational cycle of divorce.

About Ron L. Deal

Ron L. Deal is the Director of blended family ministries at FamilyLife®, and is the author/coauthor of the books The Smart StepfamilyThe Smart Stepdad, The Smart Stepmom, Dating and the Single Parent, and The Remarriage Checkup. Ron voices the FamilyLife Blended short feature and is one of the most widely read authors on stepfamily living in the country. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently appears in the national media, including FamilyLife Today® and Focus on the Family, and he conducts marriage and family seminars around the countryRon and his wife, Nan, have been married since 1986 and have three boys.

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