Step-family counseling and pre-step family counseling looks very different than counseling your average couple and family. The dynamics are different and there are specific considerations to make when coming together. One of the leading books to help both counselors and the general public learn more about becoming a stepfamily is Ron Deal’s The Smart Stepfamily. This psycho-education material helps step and pre-step families come together in a way that is both psychological and biblical.
Dysfunctional is the “Norm”
Many stepfamilies or pre-stepfamily couples discuss a certain level of guilt or shame that accompany their move into another marriage. In the first step, Deal’s big idea here is, “to discover a redemptive God who loves, forgives, and provides strength and direction for your journey.” As Deal discusses in his video, he was looking for a family in Scripture to help be a guide to be a “faithful family”. Deal, reported that he started in the Old Testament with Adam and kept going. He saw just how dysfunctional families have always been, but how God still uses us in all the brokenness. The pressure our modern families put on themselves to appear perfect is not realistic or even biblical. Deal, discusses how biblical families are far less than ideal, and hopes to alleviate some of the stress stepfamilies have in trying to appear to have it all together.
All Are Welcome
Just like any other family, stepfamilies must learn how to endure disharmony within the family unit. It can be difficult when navigating the blending process, but it does not mean that it is “wrong”. Furthermore, individuals within a stepfamily may feel like a second class Christian following the separation of their previous family and the blending of their next family. Deal, argues that there is no such thing as a second class Christian because there is no such thing as a first class Christian. Believers, don’t we know this to be true? We all have sin — the church needs to be more of a hospital for those that are in need rather than a place to go and receive blame. Stepfamilies, I implore you to find a church family that will welcome you as you are.
D & R
In closing, the shame and guilt that might weigh believers down as they enter into a new marriage, one in which they desire to glorify God, need not be afraid. Ron Deal, reflects on a time he was approached and asked, “what do I do with the D and the R on my forehead?”. This person was referring to the D standing for divorce and R for remarried. After a pause Deal responded “I believe that the D and the R stand for delivered and redeemed”. Yes! Yes, indeed! Please allow those words, delivered and redeemed, to wash over you. Allow yourself to rest in mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Move forward in your stepfamily journey, delivered and redeemed!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please contact us at 832-421-8714.