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Blended Family: Rom-Com Turned Reality TV

Terry Barnett

Terry Barnett

The scene opens with a man and woman in the heartache of divorce after nearly 10 years of marriage. There are tears, agony, heartache and pain. But the somber music shifts into that upbeat, joyful tune that foreshadows happiness is on the horizon.

Before the dust settles, the exciting search for new love begins. We are convinced they married the wrong person. The only logical thing to do now is to move on and find a new person to fill the void. Maybe his heart was longing for that person in the office or perhaps an old high school flame?

This narrative is becoming all too common, and it was my reality almost a decade ago.

Sparks were flying, and I was a main character in a typical rom-com story where an intriguing conversation swiftly blossomed into a love that I never experienced.

As the relationship deepened, another lifelong commitment seemed to be inevitable. She had two children from a previous marriage and I had four. Destined to form our own Brandy Bunch, we forged ahead at a blistering pace. All seemed perfect at first, then reality hit. Again. Our rom-cam quickly became a reality TV show watched with one eye open. Through all the trials, we decided to push forward and tied the knot.

Perception vs. Reality
Somewhere in the whirlwind of love and excitement, chaos reared its ugly head. The children were at each other’s throats and we felt tension from our different approaches to parenting. The complexity of the blended family dynamics were in its infancy. The kids were pitting my wife and I against each other, former spouses were making an effort to sabotage the new marriage. Did I mention in-laws, former in-laws, former spouse’s significant others, too? Holiday switching, not being with my two children on Christmas morning or their birthday as I alternated with my former spouse…it all became so painful.

The hardest part was all the people influencing my day-to-day life than I could have ever dreamed possible. That is when the guilt set in. With all the disharmony, we clung to our children. Blood thickened and the new blended family was now divided.

The music went somber again.

The Stats
Blended families are on the rise and the trend has no sign of slowing down. With a divorce rate over 50%, blended families are quickly becoming the new norm. Almost 65% of remarriages involve children from a previous marriage. Another shocking statistic: the divorce rate for blended families with one divorce jumps to 70%. The more marriages, the higher the divorce rate. The stats alone make the case that this fast-growing community is in dire need of love and support.

My Blended Family
My wife Jenny and I have been married for 6 ½ years, together for 9 years. Our beautiful family of six children ages 9 to 27 has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding times of our life. Our success in overcoming the struggles and extremely difficult dynamics of our blended family can be contributed to two factors:

1. Our unwavering faith that our Lord and savior Jesus Christ is with us always
2. Our amazing community of blended families and marriage mentors that have walked alongside us every good and difficult step of the way.

The role of the church has a profound impact on the success of the blended families. The truth is, most blended families don’t look like the Brady Bunch or a rom-com. We need all the help we can get to lock arms with other families going through the same challenges. There is healing that takes place when you invite God and other families into your struggles.

The Blended Family Ministry has the opportunities to change a legacy that could impact thousands of generations. This ministry has the ability to save blended family marriages from that 70% divorce rate. If you are in a new blended family, approaching that season of life, or if you’ve been living with this reality for years, please do not face this challenge alone. Stand with us in changing legacies! God loves your blended family; Jesus was in a blended family and there is no mountain He cannot move!

Join the Blended Family Workshop!
This small group workshop is taught from Ron Deal’s book/DVD series called “The Smart Stepfamily.” The workshop provides practical biblical insight into the struggles that blended families face for dating, engaged, and married couples. Join a community that will walk with you as we navigate the complexities of the blended family together.

Workshops will be offered at two campuses and new this year, we will also have Blended Family Home Studies in Oxford (childcare available), Macomb Twp., and Clinton Twp. Learn more and register at https://kensingtonchurch.org/blended-family-ministry/

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