Pastor Phil Ayres from Kingdomcity joins Mel and Jeziel in the studio to share wisdom on marriage and relationships. Phil has a passion for growing strong families, and is a goldmine of knowledge and advice. Phil says his passion stems from enduring many difficult years of marriage. After weathering the storm, his marriage is now stronger than ever, and he loves to share his expertise on marriage and families.
For some people, marriage may not be as straightforward as meeting, marrying and having a family. For some, previous relationships for either spouse may result in a blended or step family. A blended family is where there’s 1 or more children from a previous marriage, and 1 or more from the current marriage. A step family is where there’s 1 or more children from a previous marriage only. In Australia, there’s around 6 million families, with step families making up 6.3% of this number, and blended families 3.7%.
Are the struggles of a blended family the same as a biological family starting from scratch?
Yes and no. While some issues are the same in both situations, some are unique:
- Developmental order. In a biological family, marriage comes first, then children, while in a blended family, it’s children first then marriage. The reversing of this order means the way relationships develop is different. Each parent has their own relationship with their children, and must navigate that whilst building a relationship with their partner.
- Trust. In a biological family, trust grows with the relationship, particularly with children. In a blended family, there needs to be a conscious exchange of trust.
- Financial obligations. One or both parents may have a financial obligation to their former spouse. for more information on this, click here.
- Visitation rites and rhythms for children. Having to juggle your own family development with children simultaneously building a new family relationship with their other parent can be a challenge.
- Emotional connection to previous spouse or partner. Even though the previous relationship is finished, there may still be an emotional connection. That’s not a bad thing, and it’s understandable that two people who shared a relationship will retain a level of connection.
What are the keys to blending brilliantly?
- Your marriage must be priority. Your children are better off with two great parents than one.
- Bonding will take longer than you think
- Have an agreed discipline strategy. For example, for the first 2 to 3 years, the biological parent should be the primary disciplinarian.
- Find out and fully commit to everything it means to love your spouse and their child/children
- Do a vision retreat and write down your vision:
Habakkuk 2:2: And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
For all of Ps Phil’s excellent marriage tips, check out the podcast below: