I do life better when I have an outline – a plan. If it is easy to remember, then the more often I’m able to recall and then implement. As Dan and I have been working with other couples, God has given me a compact life, marriage and blended family plan. This is not an all-encompassing list – but it is pretty well rounded. So let’s talk about the four building block B’s that will help you do some blending in your marriage and family.
The first B is for Boundaries. Boundaries keep good things within your marriage and family and also prohibit bad things from invading your marriage and family. For instance, not hanging with your single friends at the bar is a good boundary. Continuing to keep a date night with your spouse is a good boundary. Setting aside a dedicated weekly time for family to talk, play games and laugh is a good boundary. Some folks think boundaries are inhibiting. You are going to find that where there are boundaries, there is freedom and safety. Consider driving a vehicle and staying on your side of the yellow line — there is freedom for travel and adventure with a large amount of safety. When you cross that yellow line, you have just opened the door for collision and chaos. Set your boundaries for your marriage and your family. Song of Solomon 2:15 says “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming”. In other words, set boundaries around your family so that the foxes of this world will not have a chance to come in and destroy what you are trying to grow and build.
The second B is for Balance. I am a firm believer in “work hard, play hard.” Now I’m not promoting working 50% of the time and playing the other 50%. You can find a great balance within your family with an 85/15 ratio. God gave us this work ethic example right in the beginning of the Bible in Genesis. He created the world and all living things within six days. Day seven He rested and admired. It’s important to follow that same example – do well at work and then come home and do well there also. Keep up what you have been entrusted with – whether it is a 600 square foot apartment or a large mansion. You may think that 15% is not enough time to rest and play, but do you realize that 15% equals 25 hours out of every week? That is plenty of time for date night, family time, nap time, and even personal time. I encourage you to track your time this week and see if you can find areas where you can create balance.
The third B is for Budget. I hate this word!!! Dan has been patient and taken the time to show me the money coming in and where it all goes. He has also asked me to help him make our finances work and not continuously increase our debt. Living on a tight budget has shown me that you can still somehow find dollars to put towards vacations, Christmas funds, and emergency funds if you will plan it out and then play it out. Yep – you have to follow it in order for it to work. Dan is still praying for me in this area!!
The last B is for Brainstorming. I love this word!!! Brainstorming can be done by yourself but it is much more fun and enlightening when done with others. This is a practice we teach our couples going through pre-marital counseling. It helps the couple learn how to throw out ideas in relationship to a problem or situation to see solutions from many different aspects and angles. We encourage silly ideas, serious ideas, and impossible ideas. Then the couple can find a solution that best fits the problem. Sometimes compromise takes place. Sometimes the couple is surprised to find a new solution they never dreamed of using. Most of the time, the couple comes through the problem with a better outcome without the usual fighting, disappointment and bitterness.
Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. Don’t just let life happen. If you want a terrific marriage and family, then be strong and courageous and take the steps to make that happen. I encourage you to try my Basic Four B’s to build a better blended family. Boundaries. Balance. Budget. Brainstorm.
Blessings in Your Blending!