Snapshots of a Blended Family by Shanna Gregor and Bobbie Rill

This content is part of a series.

Snapshots of a Blended Family
Series: Blended Families (Part 1)
Shanna D. Gregor & Bobbie Rill

Congratulations if you are considering or have already accepted the challenge of making a blended family work. As you may already know, relationships take effort, time, commitment, patience and compromise. As a couple with children from a previous relationship, you face special challenges. The reality is you must work to build a committed relationship with each other while learning to step-parent one another’s children and find your own place in the extended family tree.

Every day couples are baffled as they helplessly watch their blended family—their second chance at a happy home—disintegrate into another trial of brokenness. A lack of preparation and unrealistic expectations can become catalysts to disappointment. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we hope this series will help you gain a greater understanding of how you can effectively navigate the course to a successfully blended family.

Perception is each person’s reality—but not necessarily the truth. Each member in a blended family has a different perception. Shanna experienced family blending as a teenager. Her biological parents divorced when she was ten and her mother remarried a few weeks before she turned twelve. While she didn’t have the role of a stepparent, she is the product of a successful family blend. Her experiences provide a unique view of just what it takes to make blended families work.

Let’s get started with Shanna’s picture of her own family blend.

If someone asks me about my dad, I’ll immediately assume they are asking about my step-dad who became a powerful father figure for me. He and my mom were married 22 years, and by the time I got married and had children of my own, I loved and respected him. I appreciated the father and grandfather he proved to be to me. We had an unbreakable bond. But if someone asks about those early years of our relationships, and about the attempt made at a quick blend, I’ll tell them right away—it proved near disastrous.

At 12 years old, my first family was the casualty of abuse. I was pretty angry, after so much loss, at the thought of a blended family. While I was happy my mother had found someone who seemed to really love her and would treat her with respect, I still resented my stepfather.

He assumed the role of Dad, but I didn’t feel like he was my dad. He was a stranger who moved in with us, along with his two kids. He didn’t make his children mind—so what makes him think I should do as he says. And, he had suddenly taken my time—the time that I once had to spend with my mother in the evenings, she now spent with him.

There was no time to get to know anyone—or at least that is how it felt to me. I seem to recall one “family” event before they were married&m ...

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