Joining two families can be a messy process, especially after a difficult divorce.
Ron Deal and Susie discuss obvious roadblocks in marriages that almost always ensure failure vs. success. A lot of these roadblocks can be applied to both first time marriages and blended families.
“We found through our research that couples in poor blended family situations were four times as moody as couples in healthy marriages. They were three times more critical and negative of one another. They were seven times more controlling; they’re twice as unhappy and grumpy and stubborn…having quick reactions and harsh reactions with one another.”
The Bible reminds us that we need to be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to get angry. We can contrast negative behaviors to a couple who is demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
“What a contrast between that list and the list of things that pulls apart a marriage relationship. That’s true for everybody.”
Ron teaches us that there is another important factor lies within family dynamics, the likability factor.
“I think it is something we can change; this is where God grows us up. This also applies to step parents, for example; if you’re moody or you got a quick temper, it’s really hard for stepchildren the warm up to you. It’s also really hard for a spouse to want to invest themselves with you.”
Not only does a quick temper build up walls between family members, but it causes tension and diminishes trust.
“If you’ve got a quick temper and you’re quick pretty harsh and your negative and critical…everybody starts tiptoeing around you.”
Ron reminds us that this behavior doesn’t generate or foster trust. He elaborates on the negative impact that this behavior has in relationships:
“It escalates fear…and anytime fear goes up, the relationship quality goes down.”
Ron’s book is titled The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family.