Monday, November 22, 2010

Hope, Help and Healing for Blended Families

*the following is not a paid post. All opinions and experiences are truly mine. 

Statistics scare me. Scary because of what they find. Scary because I don't want to be one of  them.  I happen to think that there are exceptions to every rule though. Some of you may disagree, but not everything is in black and white. Sometimes there are other colors that can seep their way in and change the way it looks. Sometimes it's just how you look at it.

Marriage is tough. Divorce is tougher. Marriage after divorce can be downright disaster. Throw in a couple of kids, maybe mine, maybe his, maybe both, and you have quite a challenge on your hands.

Statistics say 48% of first marriages will end in divorce, (which has gone down from 50%), and an average of 84% of men and women will remarry again within 5 years. 68% of those remarriages involve children, and 70% of those remarriages will end in divorce within 5 1/2 years.  Within the next few years the blended/step-family will be the most common form of family in America.

God does not want your marriage or remarriage to end in Divorce. There is a ripple effect of damage and pain that comes out of a divorce. More and more families are struggling through the challenges of our society and not making it due to the added pain and damage.  There is help though and it comes through God's word.  God is a God of second chances. Only He can take all things and make them into good. As a Christian, I turned to my faith when my second marriage began to fail. I did not want to go through the pain of divorce again, and take my children through more battles in a broken system.

So, I began to do research for Christian help for step-families and saw that there were few to turn to, but I did get lucky enough to find A couple, in Kansas City, holding conferences and workshops showing families how they could go from broken to bonded and using Christ and the bible as their guides. Dan and Rebecca Snell have first hand experience remarried after divorces with 5 children between the two of them. Adding an "ours" baby down the road, gave them 6 all together.

Dan and Rebecca serve as a testimony to how trusting God and placing Him as the center of your family and marriage can take your family out of the realm of falling into a statistic. My husband, Jason and I,  attended a "Bonded Family" conference just this past weekend. It was tough to get there, and given the trials we faced the week prior, felt like the devil himself was trying to keep us from going. By the grace of God we made it, and through it began to feel that there was a purpose to our marriage, and that God does have a plan for our family. Trusting in Him and praying for his guidance and blessings was key.

We heard other stories from other speakers and who had their own history of pain and heartbreak. They shared how they were able to turn things around keeping hope for the family they care so much about.
We learned how our own personal baggage can weigh down and slow the success of a blended family. Seeing how to apply scripture to your family was eyeopening and encouraging. Topics like dealing with your ex, staying away from the road of "isolation" and keeping on the path of "oneness" in your marriage and Biblical Principles of handling finances were covered as well as Step-parenting fears, and ways to Encourage the spiritual and emotional health of children.  Grandparents are even included as this workshop gets real and gets serious for the benefit of your family.

If you are in a Blended family, I really encourage you to find a Bonded Family Workshop near or in your city and go to it. Also check out their website, and follow Dan and Rebecca Snell on each of their blogs, as well as on Facebook (@Dan Snell) and Twitter (@blendedfamilies) to give you encouraging tips and advice on how to strengthen your marriage and each other. You can also hear their podcast at The Bonded Family Ministry Podcast at the PodOmatic website. They will help to take your family from "Broken, to Blended to Bonded."

Statistical findings are quoted from The Bonded Family Stepfamily Workshop material. More information can be found at their website.