Jacob’s wives, mistresses, and children became a blessed nation! (See Genesis 29 and 30 for the full story; it may surprise you.)
We recently talked about God’s perspective on divorce and today I want to continue the conversation based on questions that you sent me. Not only is redemption available to those who have been through the deep agony of a broken marriage, but God can restore and rewrite your story with grace and love beyond what you could hope or imagine.
I had people in my office when I was one of the only counselors at Bethel many years ago, wondering if God could bless their blended families. They feared that because they had been through a divorce, remarriage equated living in sin which in turn meant they could not be forgiven. Perhaps you can relate or have a friend or family member who is plagued by this fear?
This lie dissipates under the profound superior truth that God is a God of redemption!
Remarried husbands and wives: It takes the power of God to take dysfunctional situations and make something glorious out of them. I propose that remarriage can be real-life beauty for ashes in the realm of families!
Living a blessed married life
Previously divorced folks, listen up!
Trust me when I say that you don’t want to bring the shadow of your pain from the past into your new marriage. This is your fresh opportunity to come again to lay your life down, to do it better this time, and to be a blessing to the full extent of your potential. Your new marriage can be beautiful.
Here are some words of wisdom for re-marriage that I’ve learned through my son Jason’s divorce.
- A successful re-marriage requires complete forgiveness on all parties, or bitterness will infect your next marriage. Like Joyce Myers says, “Unforgiveness is like drinking deadly poison and thinking the other person is going to die!”
- Learning to trust your new spouse is one major key to the new relationship. Bonding is impossible without trust.
- You can only love to the level you can be hurt. Vows like, “I will never let anyone hurt me like that again,” means you’ve relegated (cursed) yourself to the ice castle! You have to be able to open your heart again. Don’t go into your next marriage with a prenup for your love.
- The inability to take responsibility for your previous relationships will cause you to make the same mistakes over again. It’s not shameful to own your part, repent, and let God move in to speak His truth over the wounded places of your heart so that you can heal and move forward.
- Remarriage can be your best marriage because you have experience.
- Superimposing your previous relationship over your remarriage is sure to cost you.
9 Wise ways to blend families
Blended families can be blessed families! That’s right! If you’re re-married and you’ve repented, you are to be blessed. Your home, your family, and your children are blessed because they’re a gift from God no matter how they got there.
Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way as we’ve watched Jason and Lauren blend together:
1. Children must have permission from their biological parents to have a relationship with their new stepmother or stepfather
2. Using your children to carry a negative message to your ex-spouse can destroy them.
3. Your children must have permission from you to love your ex-spouse no matter how much you despise them.
4. Second spouses need to understand the pressure parents feel to manage their biological children into another relationship with a new mom/dad.
5. Staying connected is the goal.
6. You must respect and not try to replace the relationships your stepchildren have with their biological parents.
7. You can’t navigate blended families with positional leadership. You must have permissional leadership; favor with each member.
8. Blending families is often blending two different cultures. Often people marry the opposite of themselves so their personal strengths and weakness create two very different cultures.
9. When someone is single with children for a long time, their children can tend to play the role of the absent spouse. These children can feel displaced from their role in a re-marriage. Being sensitive to the children who are displaced is paramount in a transition.
I hope that you will carefully and prayerfully consider the challenges that I’ve outlined here, and use them to navigate a successful transition with your blended family.
I bless you!
If you have been through a divorce and remarried, I bless you today. I bless your family and your children— both your biological kids and your step-children! I encourage you to say out loud that you receive this blessing for yourself and for your family!
If you’ve been through a divorce and are single, I want to tell you today that you will love again.
Hear me: You WILL heal, and you WILL love again! God’s redemption is bigger than anything in your past and He can do miracles that we never even dreamed of before!
Like I’ve said before, I know this is often a tricky subject to talk about and I don’t pretend to address the whole situation in one (or two) blog posts. I also want to encourage you to check out the podcast with the message I preached on this."