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Transitioning into Marriage

Autor:   •  January 31, 2018  •  2,217 Words (9 Pages)  •  228 Views

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Parental Roles and Boundaries. Patrick has never been married, and has no children from a previous relationship. Patrick is learning to be a parent to two young girls without any previous parental experience. Shalay and Brownlee (2007) state, that “role strain occurs when a new stepparent experiences relationship difficulties due to an inability to carry out the intended role … or feels alienated or unsure about his or her position to a step-child” (p. 19). Patrick may not realize what his role is, particularly during the custody battle for Aurora with Christine’s ex-husband.

Children thrive with boundaries, says Pastor Davis. Considering both physical and psychological boundaries … “they reported that when clear boundaries and roles had not been established in blended families, the children tended more often to develop behavior problems” (Shalay and Brownlee, 2007, P. 20). It is important that Christine and Patrick clarify, the biological and step-parental roles, and remain clear and consistent, while fostering a positive relationship with Aurora’s biological father. The newly remarried couple may “unintentionally increase the child’s feelings of anxiety and uncertainty if they undermine and/or criticize their ex-spouse” (p. 20).

Healing and Loss. It is important to recognize that blended families may enter a new marriage with unresolved conflict, such as negative communication, or an on-going custody battle over children. Children, in particular, may suffer with anxiety due to all of the changes. Zeleznikowa and Zeleznikowa say, “It is vital for parents to acknowledge their children’s losses during divorce … a new home, new school, and new friends potentially” (2015, p. 328). Christine and Patrick are currently struggling to help Aurora feel settled and secure as the custody battle continues. It is important to empathize with Aurora, in particular, by allowing her to vocalize her questions, comments, or concerns.

Pre-blended Family Counseling

Similar to pre-marital counseling, pre-blended counseling helps families adjust to blending. Gonzales (2009) proposes that all family members meet for counseling before they are officially and legally one family (p. 150). Counseling is made up of four stages, discovery, education, parental unification, and family unification (p. 150).

Gonzales (2009) does not intend for pre-blended counseling to act as therapy. He states, “It differs from family therapy in that it focuses on what is to be, rather than on what already is … it is meant to serve an intervention role rather than problem-solving role. Regardless of the term “counseling,” Patrick, Christine, Aurora, and Genevieve could benefit from learning about what each member hopes, and expects, as a blended family.

Biblical Instruction

The Bible is clear that God intended for marriage to last a lifetime. The Gospel of Matthew says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" (Matthew, 19:6, New International Version). Divorce, in other words, is “marital death.” Gonzalez reports, one major theme among Pastors’, is marital death as “a way of conceptualizing the end of a covenant which was intended to go on forever but which may still be destroyed while the partners are still alive” (2008, p. 147).

The complexities, regarding marriage, and divorce are far more complicated than during Biblical times. Adultery and abandonment seem to be acceptable grounds for divorce, but not much else, according to Gonzalez (2008). Abuse is a cause for separation until the perpetrating spouse can learn new skills and behaviors (p. 147).

Abandonment refers to those who leave, including non-believers, whether they were once a believer or not. The Bible says, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace” (1 Corinthians, 7:15, NIV).

Regardless of acceptable implications for divorce, divorce, and remarriage are happening at alarming rates. Once a couple remarries, they should seek guidance from God, as one flesh. In terms of biblical instruction, there are no instructions for remarriage. The marriage contract is renewed.

Husbands and wives play very important roles, as God designed. Husband should be,

Faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect (Timothy, 3:2-4, NIV).

The Bible says that wives should submit to their husbands. “But, I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians, 11:3, NIV). In today’s society, these roles are distorted and misunderstood. Second-marriage families must learn to adjust to step parenting and co-parenting with the ex-spouse, none of which is described in the Bible.

Homework

A couple would be wise to enter into a form of pre-marital coaching and/or pre-blended family coaching (not counseling specifically). A couple could benefit from the Save Your Marriage Before it Starts (SYMBIS) program. The SYMBIS program aims to uncover the most important misbeliefs of marriage, how to communicate with instant understanding, how to discover the secret to reducing, and resolving conflict, and master the skills of money management. Genevieve and Aurora would benefit from being able to communicate their hopes, expectations, and potential fears, with pre-blended coaching. Another recommended homework assignment would be to write about family and parental roles with the use of Timothy 3:2-4 as a starting place.

In conclusion, this paper has explained the concept of a blended family. The statistics indicate that nearly 65% of remarriages form stepfamilies and these families have many challenges. Coaching techniques discussed in the paper include communication, parenting roles and boundaries, and how to deal with loss. Biblical concept relating to blended family issues have been presented along with homework assignments.

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References

Gonzalez, H. (2008). Pastors' theological perspective on divorce and remarriage. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage,

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