Every family is dysfunctional, some families get away with it while others can’t because more is required of them. Blended families, single parent homes, homes with illness, homes with any kind of job loss or a host of the challenges requires the family to have a higher level of “family skills” than a “normal” family. It isn’t fair.
Actually, I don’t think there is such a thing as a “normal” family. At some point every family will experience a season that requires more communication, problem solving and dealing with conflict.
Some families can’t predict when they will be called upon to be less dysfunctional. However, for blended families, even before the “I do” is said, they know dysfunction is near and have to elevate their game.
This podcast interview is with Gil and Brenda Stuart who’s mission is “Encouragement for remarried couples in a stepfamily.” They are all about helping step families discover God’s purpose for their newly formed family and the skills to live them out.
About our guests:
I met Gil and Brenda several years ago and my first impression was that I not only liked them, I also felt like I had known them a long time. They are a couple with a lot going on. They have seven children between them and now have two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. Gil is an insurance broker and Brenda leads a team building organization. They are popular speakers and lead seminars to help other couples like them who are remained. They also have developed a seminar called “Rearview Mirror” which helps all couples focus on what matters.
Key Points from Interview:
- Foundation of honesty
- Necessity of forgiveness – especially for yourself
- How your marriage is strengthened through community and information.
- Importance of parents taking time to trust and rely on each other, especially for discipline of kids
- How it is a long term focus rather than need for immediate results
Top 10 Blended Family Points
- There are 67 types of stepfamilies
- 72 differences between first marriages and remarriage
- 40% of all marriages today are creating stepfamilies
- New Stat (6/2014: from The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn) Remarriage divorce rate is 34% not the 60% previously thought. Some stats state 40-50% of remarriages end in divorce. 80% of those marriages that failed could have been saved with information/education and support small group/fellowship with other stepfamilies.)
- Churches are reluctant to engage in a Stepfamily ministry for fear of condoning divorce
- Many remarried couples do not ask for the help/encouragement they need because of the “shame factor”
- Kid issues: grieving, schedules, POW swap, holidays, jealousy, parenting styles
- The step parent/step child relationship creates more threat to the remarriage than money, sex, work stress or in laws than in first time marriages
- Co-parenting: child support, schedules, two different life styles/values
- Modeling a healthy remarriage can reduce the divorce rate for kids in a stepfamily; which can change the legacy of the family