Being a spouse can be difficult. Being a parent can be hard. Finding balance in family life and doing your best to get it right is rough and takes mountains of patience. Even trickier than all of that is trying to pull it off in a blended family.
I tried to look up statistics on blended families, and it became overwhelming. What it boils down to is that about 50% of American families are blended, meaning the adults in the family have children from previous relationships.
My family is blended. Well, my family is chopped, minced, and then blended. Even though we don’t use the terms “step” or “half,” the reality is that we have stepparents, stepkids, step-siblings, half-siblings, and we even have my sister who we’re raising as our daughter.
We’re the poster family for blended families.
Being a blended family is tough work. You don’t just have to figure out how to make life work inside your home, you also have to figure out a way to make life between two or more homes work. Navigating co-parenting with another family is not for the faint of heart and is another post altogether.
I’d like to say we get it right all the time and that love always trumps the hard times, but I’d be lying. I’d like to say grace is always given when we tread on bumpy terrain, but I’d be lying. I’d like to say that we never doubt the choices we’ve made, but sometimes none of our choices make any sense at all and I wonder how the heck we got here in the first place.
Blending families takes more than most of us are equipped with, and because of that, the failure rate is through the roof. The brutal reality of it all is that your blended family is going to fail, and over and over again, you’ll fail at trying to make it work.
You’ll fail at never having feelings of resentment.
You’ll fail at swallowing your pride. You’ll fail at relinquishing some control and allowing another person discipline your child. You’ll fail at showing compassion and grace. You’ll fail at keeping jealousy under wraps. Your family will fail at not being territorial inside your own home. Your family will fail at making love completely equal between all its members. Your family will fail at pretending it’s easy. Your family will fail at wanting to make it work.
But through all the rough spots, you’ll find immense beauty.
There will be the moments when the light shines through the cracks. There will be the moments when the broken pieces will come together to make a stained glass window that others will look through and see nothing but beauty. They’ll see all the different colors, shapes, and sizes and stare in awe at how it all came together so perfectly.
There will be the times when you watch your spouse love and parent your child as their own, and it will bring up a love so deep you can’t even imagine how it contains itself inside your heart. There will be a time when your spouse’s child kisses you and tells you they love you, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived your life without them. There will be times when your children walk hand in hand with your spouse’s children, and you’ll know that you are teaching them to love far beyond any boundaries.
Your blended family is going to fail.
They’re going to fail over and over, but they’re also going to prove that love and grace can outshine any darkness. They’re going to show others how broken things can be mended, maybe not back to the way they were, but in a way that lets the light shine through the cracks and heal the hurts.