Summary: #5 in a six week series on marriage and parenting. This message discusses the concept of Step-Families and how to cope while blending.
“THE HALLWAYS: BLENDING THE BLENDED FAMILY”
Home Improvement - Week 5
INTRODUCTION: (Video: Brady Bunch Intro = 1:00)
That show was one of the very first to show a blended family. What is interesting is that it really wasn’t all that huge a hit back when it came out in the early 70’s. It only lasted 5 years and did not receive great ratings. But it is now a cultural phenomenon. Once it went into syndication in the 80’s it became a huge hit. There were several Brady reunions and a Brady Bunch movie was made in 1995(with new actors because the 70’s versions were too old) and was such a hit that a Brady sequel was made in 1996 and another one entitled: The Brady Bunch in the White House in 2002. Why is it more popular now than went it first came out? Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch, answered it this way. “My idea for the sitcom was to show a blended family but there just weren’t that many in the early 70’s. But starting in the 80’s remarriage became the “norm” and so seeing a blended family with all it’s challenges made the “Brady’s” a hit! My idea was just a little before it’s time.”
He’s got a point. The marriage and family landscape in today’s culture has changed dramatically. One of the change agents is the high divorce rate. There is some “good news, bad news” on that front. Although the overall divorce rate still hovers around 50%, the rate of divorce, for first time marriages has actually fallen in the last couple of years to around 45%. However, remarriages now make up 46% of all weddings in America and the divorce rate among remarriages, is around 60%. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin predicted that those who remarry a second or third time will have a divorce rate of closer to 70%. A huge part of this problem for those who remarry is the incredible challenges that face step-families.
So, as we continue in our series I want us to see what help there is out there for Step-Families. I want to start by recommending this book to you. If you are dealing with a step-family situation or you know someone who is, this book is worth buying. It’s called The Smart Step-Family by Ron L. Dean. It comes highly recommended by Focus on the Family; in fact you can buy it from their web site. It is highly thought of by such notable Christian family experts as Dennis Rainey and H. Norman Wright. Ron Deal provides practical, realistic solutions to the issues that face step-families. He has a web site especially helpful for step-families at successfulstepfamilies.com. Although it is not my only resource it is, in my opinion, the best one and I will refer to often as we talk. I want to be real with you. I don’t have personal experience in this topic but with ministerial experience, research which includes talking to several in the “heat of battle” - current step-parents and looking into God’s Word I believe we can gain some helpful insights. So, with that background let’s dig in.
Ron Deal, in his book, uses a cooking metaphor to discuss the challenges and the preventive recommendations for step-family life. As I began thinking of that analogy I thought it would be best to spend a moment or two on the “pre-heat” portion of cooking up a great step-family. So here’s three things I want you to think about, especially if you are considering remarriage or are just starting your step-family.
First, be perceptive. Understand from the beginning that the step-family situation is a challenge. Step-families vary greatly. Some have children from just one spouse and involve only one household, if, for example one of the biological parents have died. Other step-families are much more complex with “yours, mine and ours” children. These factors plus different ages of children, the attitude of the “other” parent, the expectation of the step-parent all make it hard to predict how much a step-family will struggle. Some step-families will have a difficult journey facing many tough barriers. There may be times, on a daily basis, when you wonder “What have I done?” But it is important to remember that the number of barriers you face comments neither on you nor on whether or not you should of married. Once you say, “I do,” your original wisdom, or lack thereof, in creating this family is irrelevant. When encountering opposition, there are too many who convince themselves it wasn’t a good idea to marry in the first place and begin looking for a way out. Listen: any marriage or remarriage, is a day to day commitment to stick it out, to say, “good times or tough times, I’m here for you, for good. Divorce is not an option.”