Be a Smart Stepfamily

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Stepfamilies face nearly all the same struggles that non-stepfamilies face and a whole slew of issues that are unique to blended families. In this post, Ron Deal speaks about some of the common challenges that blended families must overcome. Before you hear from Ron, watch this real-life story where blended couple, Gary and Elizabeth, share about the challenge that they faced early in their marriage.

A disagreement over parenting style almost ended Gary and Elizabeth’s marriage. Their struggle over parenting shows just one example of the many difficulties that are unique to stepfamilies. Ron Deal, bestselling author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, shares some common pitfalls of stepfamilies and how to best avoid them. 

Ron described stepfamilies as swimming in a different ocean than first marriages—that there are unique challenges faced in a blended family that don't exist elsewhere. How have you experienced this to be true? What challenges were you prepared for? Were there any that caught you off guard?
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Ron talked about the loss, sadness, and grief that is carried into stepfamily relationships. Which of these emotions do you carry from the past? How have they impacted your current family? How have you seen such emotions manifested in your children? In your stepchildren? In your spouse?
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Have you found trust to be more difficult now than in your first marriage? If so, what is a specific example? How do you navigate through fears of being hurt again? How do you encourage your spouse when they find it difficult to trust you?
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Ron advised that if you are going to make a mistake, err on the side of protecting your marriage. When you are facing a difficult decision in your marriage, what do you think it looks like to err on the side of protecting your marriage?
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So much of being a smart stepfamily is about avoiding pitfalls. This involves being aware of and preparing for the difficulties unique to blended families. The time you invest to learn about the struggles that stepfamilies face and prayerfully think through them will pay dividends to the peace and harmony of your household.

For more information on how to be a smart stepfamily, visit