UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Broken or Blended – Part 1”

I attended a beautiful, outdoor wedding ceremony this weekend. Tucked among tall poplar, birch and evergreen trees was a beautiful white archway wrapped in morning glory and rich, flowered vines.   Underneath this serene, sacred enchanting portico, a man and a beautiful woman said, “I do.” This was a second marriage for both of them. A second chance.  A new beginning. What joy to know that God gives us second chances for a beautiful life.

My ears were perked. I wanted to pay close attention to the words that the clergy woman was saying; I wanted to hear the words of encouragement she would give for making a second marriage thrive. I have also been married for the second time and I am a great advocate for making it work the second time around. After all, who wants to go through more, uninvited pain? Then I heard the words that resonated in my heart, “you must give unselfish love.” Wow, that’s a truck load of information in one simple sentence.  If we thought we had to give unselfish love the first time around; it will be even harder the second time around.   Because:

  1. It’s not just about the new husband and wife. There are many other people involved in this relationship with different personalities and it creates different dynamics.
  2. Whenever dynamics change; no matter how wonderful they may be, the change always causes discomfort and often times pain.
  3. Everyone has expectations of what they want this new relationship/family to look like. Will your expectations be met?
  4. There may still be open wounds from a previous divorce, death, unresolved hurt, grief or anger.
  5. If there are children involved, they may be wondering, “Will it still feel like the family I once knew; do I still belong; will I be expected to be a brother or sister to the other children?”
  6. Is there enough love to go around?

And that’s what it’s all about…love.  The TV show The Brady Bunch was a lie. It has led us to believe that blending two families is an easy, fun and smooth process. It isn’t. Building any family takes work and effort.

So what does “unselfish love” look like in a second marriage? Life is always about making bold choices to make something work. No matter what situation we are in, the hardest decision we have to make is that we must choose to accept each other the way we are. The Bible shows exactly how this works. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 14:7 NIV).

So accepting one another just the way we are is the hardest and most “unselfish love” we can give each other. It’s hard when all of a sudden two families are thrust together in one home and the underlying, unspoken statement is, “Ok, now we’re one family and we have to love each other.”  Not easy to do. Accepting each other can mean:

  1. Accepting or overlooking irritating habits. Learn to live with them or lovingly point them out or work out some ways to overcome them.
  2. Letting go of unrealistic, unspoken expectations. This one is huge. There will be unspoken expectations in everyone’s heart and if they are not met, there may be resentment or outright anger.  Expectations have to be communicated very clearly.
  3. Not taking sides. What I mean by this is that we are naturally drawn to our own children; we want them to feel loved and protected. We need to do this without any of the children feeling like you are taking sides and its one family against the other.
  4. Recognizing anger, in yourself or the other person, as the outer expression of inner pain. 
  5. Speaking the truth IN LOVE. There will be many new issues that will need to be addressed.  Don’t let your words condemn, or accuse the other person.
  6. All behavior is purposeful.  If children are acting differently, openly hostile or quietly hiding away, see this not as rebellion, but as them trying to cope with their inner pain.
  7. Accepting each other does not mean putting up with bad behavior, unmoral issues, sin or open hostility. These need to be addressed wisely, lovingly and with solid boundaries.

Accepting each other is one of the greatest gifts you can give to grow a beautiful, healthy blended family. It is hard work but it can be done very successfully. It will take a lot of “unselfish love”, something you may not be prepared to do or want to do; that’s why it’s called UNSELFISH.

 Next week I will talk about things a family can do to blend a second marriage; beautifully!

 For more information on a second marriage, please read Chapter 6 in my book SAND TO PEARLS: Making BOLD Choices to enrich your life.

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