In the journey of life, we often find ourselves in situations we never anticipated. One such situation that many men find themselves in is navigating the complex dynamics of blended families. Whether it’s through adoption, fostering, remarriage after divorce, or widowhood, these situations present unique challenges that require authentic manhood to address.
The concept of a blended family is broad, encompassing various scenarios. It could be a family formed through adoption or fostering, or perhaps through remarriage after a divorce or the loss of a spouse. Each of these situations has its unique dynamics, challenges, and blessings.
Let’s consider fostering first. We’ve seen young couples who are eager to foster and possibly adopt. They go through rigorous interviews and assessments to ensure they are stable and capable of providing a loving home for a child. But the journey doesn’t end with the approval of their application. The real challenge begins when the child steps into their home and their lives.
The struggles that come with fostering, adoption, or remarriage are not unlike those faced by biological parents. There will be challenges, issues of attitudes, expectations, and personality clashes. After all, you don’t have to be adopted to have a different personality than your parents.
Every child is unique, and every parent-child relationship is different. As parents, we need to set realistic expectations. If you go into fostering with the expectation that these children will be yours forever, you may be setting yourself up for heartbreak. Many times, fostering is a temporary arrangement, a safe haven for a child during a difficult time in their life.
Adoption, on the other hand, is a more permanent commitment. It’s a process that can be lengthy and costly, and the more specific your requirements, the more challenging it can become. We’ve seen friends who were eager to adopt, but their specific requirements made the process more difficult.
Then there’s the scenario of remarriage after a divorce or the loss of a spouse. This situation presents its unique challenges, especially when children are involved. The dynamics of what the children knew before and what they know now as their family can be a difficult transition.
So, how do we navigate this while embracing the challenges of blended families? How do we exercise authentic manhood in these situations?
God at the center
Firstly, we need to put God at the center of our families. Whether the children know God or not, they will be exposed to His love and grace in a God-centered family. Make Bible reading time a daily routine until everyone gets on the same page regarding behaviors and communication styles.
Secondly, we need to establish boundaries. Even though children may resist them, they appreciate the security that boundaries provide. It’s important to approach this process with planning, patience, and good communication with your spouse or spouse-to-be.
Lastly, we need to be there for our children, especially when times get tough. They need to know that you’re going to be there even when their other parent is not. Having boundaries will help build that trust.
Authentic manhood in the context of blended families is about embracing the challenges, setting realistic expectations, establishing boundaries, and above all, putting God at the center of the family. It’s about being the man God wants us to be, not just for ourselves but for our families as well.
- How can you put God at the center of your family today?
- What boundaries do you need to establish in your blended family?
- How can you better communicate with your spouse or spouse-to-be about the challenges of your blended family?
Challenge: This week, I challenge you to have an open and honest conversation with your family about the challenges you’re facing. Ask for their input and work together to find solutions. Remember, you’re not in this alone. You have a family who loves you and a God who is always there to guide you.
Remember, if you’re going to be something, be Uncommen. Be an authentic man who embraces the challenges of blended families with grace, patience, and love.