Do you like to put puzzles together? There is no end to the pictures you can build piece by piece. some are of animals, ocean scenes, majestic mountain ranges, funky puzzles with weird words or images on them, and some that are meaningful. Piece by piece. Hour by hour.
When our kids were growing up, we would go to the local Hallmark store and purchase a 500-1,000 piece puzzle to put together at the beginning of every single tax season. My husband owned a CPA firm and worked about 80 hours per week, and wasn’t home much, so we decided putting fun puzzles together was a good way to pass the time until “Daddy came home.”
The most important thing about doing a puzzle together was the conversations we would have. The kids would talk about their day, tell me about their friends, maybe talk about upcoming holidays or celebrations, tell jokes, and talk about what they were doing in school, etc. At the end of tax season, the puzzle was done and we had a good time doing it.
When I think about puzzles, I think about how families have become like puzzle pieces. The minority of families are traditional and intact and do not include divorce. Most of the families in America today have split up, parents remarry and they form stepfamilies. Children are sent back and forth, many times, between households. What is accepted at one home is frowned upon in the other parents’ home. Rules are different, food is different, activities are different, conversations are different, faith issues are different. EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT! Children have to adapt on a dime and are left confused and wondering what a “real family” truly is.
The experience of being a step parent is full of minefields if the couple have not been prepared. Issues such as discipline, rules and guidelines, traditions and rituals, finances, boundaries, school/sports involvement, etc. are the things that need to be addressed BEFORE vows are made and the new couple walks down aisle. It is important to step out of the “hearts and flowers” of the love relationship and address these issues with purpose and resolve. In this case, love is NOT enough! If a couple will do the work BEFORE getting married and setting a plan in these areas, this newly formed marriage and stepfamily can be wonderfully successful.
This Tuesday, June 21, at 2pm ET, Laura Petherbridge, an expert and author on step-families and divorce issues, will be our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio. Her topic will be “How To Be a Great Stepmom.” She will talk about the challenges of being a stepmom and give advice and practical tools that will encourage our listeners to be successful. Tune in at www.toginet.com
Whatever your family looks like, never stop looking for ways to make it better. Look for resources, talk to healthy friends who may have lived the same experience, but most of all, seek the Lord through prayer and reading His Word. Proverbs is a good book to learn what to teach your children/step-kids/grandkids and set them up for success in their lives.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Prov. 22:6
“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” Prov. 17:1