Mission Accomplished!

It’s been way too long since our readers have heard from us.  Why?  Because our lives have been moving way too fast: work, kids, and the outside attacks on our marriage/family since that began when we first got engaged.  The attacks never seem to dissipate, however, we are getting much better at dealing with them.

We have some amazing news to announce.  After beginning to blend our family together in August of 2017, we can now comfortably and publicly state: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

That’s right!  We have reported on some pockets of success in the past, but today, we are a solid family unit.

When we started this site to share our lives, we referenced what the experts said about blending families.  “The average family takes 5-7 years to combine; some take longer,” renowned Stepfamily expert Ron Deal.

Believe it or not, we even had leaders in our church tell us that “there is no such thing as blended families, it never works.”  Did those words get us down?  You bet they did.  We hoped for encouragement from our church.

But we kept at it.  We worked on our marriage so we could love and serve each other better.  This is no easy task with the relentless attacks against us.  We parented our children the way we know is right — with rules and boundaries.  This also is difficult when we only have them 50% of the time.

Most importantly, we prayed for God to bring our family together. And He did!

With the grace of God, we successfully combined our family in about 2.5 years!

Here’s what we see in our family now:

  • Loudness and laughter at the dinner table instead of quiet and forced discussions
  • All the kids teasing each other
  • All the kids teasing the parents!
  • The stepbrothers sending each other tons of texts when they are apart
  • The boys ganging up against the one tough girl we have
  • The stepbrother sticking up for his stepsister
  • The stepbrothers scheming together to get what they want from the parents
  • The stepbrothers wrestling instead of coming to the dinner table
  • And they now look forward to vacations – TOGETHER!

Of course, those are just some of the highlights of the more typical sibling interactions.  One thing we did recognize — they haven’t begun to fight with each other yet. This would probably be the ultimate in “coming together” when they can fight and yell, and then love each other the next day…or day after that.

One thing is certain: WE ARE BLESSED! And we thank God every day for His phenomenal work in bringing our family close.

Stay tuned for our posts in the weeks ahead which will detail some of the things that worked for us in hopes that it may work for you!

Who Is In Your Church?

We read a quote and statistic today that was eye-catching to say the least!

40% of families in your church and community are blended families.

– FamilyLife

Yup – that’s us!  We are in the growing statistic of couples who got married, had kids, got divorced and then remarried.  And our kids are still under 18 so they are living with us part-time.

There was a time, which seemed not too long ago, when our churches and communities were mostly filled with the “traditional” family – meaning married once with kids.

But, as we all know, over the last couple of decades blended family living has been on the rapid increase.

In fact, approximately 33% of all weddings today will form step-families. Continue reading “Who Is In Your Church?”

Mike and Carol Brady had it right

We know, we know.  It’s just television and it wasn’t real.  BUT!  Mike and Carol Brady modeled some great behavior for us married folk!  And who doesn’t love the clothes, house and decor from the 70s? (NOTE: Michael Dennehy is a 1970s freak)

As you may know, we are both remarried and blending a family together.  Thinking way back to 1969 when The Brady Bunch first aired is a pretty remarkable storyline.  A couple remarrying, each having three kids and blending a family was not something that was very common.

Now, of course, we know firsthand that blending a family is not nearly as easy as it is on The Brady Bunch.  No one is screaming – “you’re not my real Dad!”, or “my real Mom would do it that way!”  However, it is pretty much understood that both of the Brady’s first spouses passed away which made it easier to blend 6 kids together when they only have Mr. and Mrs. Brady and the kids live together full-time.  But, still hard to believe it can ever be that easy!

Let’s get to what is realistic in the show and is a great modeling for marriages and families. Continue reading “Mike and Carol Brady had it right”

Cruisin’ For Closeness

For almost two years we’ve been blending a family.

Trying to get 4 very different kids to develop relationships together is harder than it looks. Unless you think it looks hard – then it’s exactly how it looks!

However, with last year’s vacation we felt we had a breakthrough because there were times when all 4 kids played together – more than we expected.

Then there were other moments like that throughout the year too.

So as we prepared for our second family vacation together we had high expectations that the kids would grow even closer together.

But to our disappointment, our expectations were not met.

Did they have some close times together? Yes. And that was important.img_2757.jpg

Continue reading “Cruisin’ For Closeness”

MARRIED STRONG!

FRIENDS!  This is a quick update.

So much has happened for us since we launched our blog “Remarried Forever”.

WOW!  Marriage is hard…and REmarriage is even harder!  At least it is from our perspective.  But marriage is a BLESSING every day!

As we have become more active in the marriage arena we are encountering and lovingly interacting with couples of every stripe: newlyweds, veteran married couples, remarrieds, and even engaged couples.

We know that ALL marriages need support and we don’t want to limit our reach as we seek to share, experience, and help married couples.

So today we are retitling our blog:

MARRIED STRONG!

We will always have a special affinity with couples who have remarried, and those blending a family as we are doing, but we want to celebrate and walk along side all married couples.  We will continue to have material that will likely favor remarried and blended families – but hopefully it will all be helpful and fun!

We look forward to being in touch.  And we are excited to be a resource to make ALL marriages STRONG!

 

LIVE from the Summit on Stepfamily Ministry

As you know, we made a commitment to try to help others who are remarried, blending families, and going through the ups and downs of marriage in a different way than the traditional first time marriage struggles, by sharing our experiences, being transparent and open to anyone in need.

So we decided to fly to Little Rock and attend the Summit on Stepfamily Ministry, which is dedicated to teaching people the best ways to help people like us who are remarried and living in blended families.

Let us say up front that many of these lessons are applicable to all marriages in one form or another, but stepfamilies do have many unique issues: ex-spouses and stepchildren being the two biggest.

Here are a couple of quick first takes: Continue reading “LIVE from the Summit on Stepfamily Ministry”

Are you banging a square peg in a round hole?

We are just one month away from our first wedding anniversary, which will also mark one year together as a blended family. Of course, with 4 busy kids and us only having them 50% of the time, it has been difficult to “blend” and get to know each other.

When we bring two families together after living very separate lives for a long period of time, it feels a bit like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. We want it to work so bad that we keep pushing and forcing that square peg insisting that it will fit into the round hole!

However, what we want and the reality are often two separate things.

One of the most common sayings is “Stepfamilies cook in a crock pot, not a blender.” (Thank you Ron Deal) Obviously that means that bringing together a stepfamily takes time, and they aren’t forced together but come together in their own way, in their own time. Unlike that of whipping together a quick protein shake in a blender.   Continue reading “Are you banging a square peg in a round hole?”

Kids overnight summer camp: Who is more afraid, child or parent?

As parents, one of our top jobs is to prepare kids for a life of independence WITHOUT their Mom and Dad. We know that leaving kids at their first overnight camp for a week is hard for the child – but it is also hard for the parents.

The issue of preparing youngsters for a first time overnight camp can be another tough issue to navigate for blended families. It has been a tough one for us these last few weeks.

Knowing that we cannot control what happens when the children are not with us makes our strategies for raising and preparing the kids all the more important. And we know that overnight summer camps are critical in building independence as youngsters grow into teens and then adults.  Continue reading “Kids overnight summer camp: Who is more afraid, child or parent?”

Yes, climbing a mountain can be hard

Have you ever thought to yourself: climbing a mountain can’t be that hard, I’m in shape, the weather is good, this will be a piece of cake.

Well, blending a family is like climbing a mountain for sure. At times it can be straight uphill, and LOOK OUT, sometimes you can get caught in a vicious thunderstorm along the way.

You may have noticed we have been quiet for the last few weeks. Well the truth is, blended life – and regular life – happened and we got caught in that vicious thunderstorm while climbing our family mountain. We hit just about all the obstacles that we could: Joya and I struggled as a team, each of our kids were going through something, and on top of that we had the largest external factors of remarried life pull us into a ditch. Continue reading “Yes, climbing a mountain can be hard”

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