A blended family is a marriage where one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship. This relationship may have been a past marriage, or even an unplanned pregnancy.
Whatever the case, a blended family faces unique Day One dynamics in the new marriage—which is why blended families have a higher divorce rate.
Fifty percent of all marriages are blended families, and they can be incredible. Jesus came from a blended family. There are a lot of fantastic blended families in the Bible. But to become one of these, you have to overcome specific challenges.
The biggest one has to do with the past. In a blended family, at least one spouse enters the marriage after a past relationship has ended—they’ve had children with a husband or wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Break-ups are never easy, and sex creates a powerful bond between two people. That’s why fifty percent of people who have married and then divorced still harbor feelings toward an ex-spouse ten years after the marriage ended.
Our society may trivialize sex, but the Bible says you become “one flesh” when you enter into a sexual relationship with another person. There’s a joining of souls. When you eventually divide from that person—through divorce or a break-up—a part of that person comes with you.
In some cases, after a new marriage, the devil starts to turn your heart back toward that relationship. Maybe you begin to idealize it. You remember the good things and forget the reason it ended. The devil torments you by bringing up the past at the most inopportune times—and it hurts your spouse.
Or, the devil will poison your memories and cause you to dwell on the worst parts of your previous relationship. Anger and unforgiveness will stew in your heart. You’ll enter your new marriage with bitterness. You won’t be as patient with your new spouse. You’ll become less forgiving than you should be.
Why? It’s because your heart is scarred.
To heal these unresolved issues, you have to admit the reality that you have an attachment to the person in your previous relationship. Once you’ve done this, thank God for the good parts of that previous relationship. Be grateful for those highlights, then put them in the past, where they belong.
After that, when the devil brings back intrusive memories during hard times, put a stop to it. Turn aside from those thoughts. Don’t let those feelings gain a foothold.
He may accuse your spouse and suggest you married the wrong person. Take those thoughts captive and set them aside.
He may torment you with past memories. Ignore them. Live in the present and focus on the person you’re married to now.
Then, forgive everyone in your past. Unforgiveness is like an umbilical cord that connects you to your past and feeds your spirit with bitterness. Forgiveness clips that cord. It won’t make the person who hurt you right, but it will set you free.
Until you let the past go, it will not let your future live. In a blended family, you have to take this step in order to build a healthy, successful relationship.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today