From the beginning of your marriage, prioritize your life, placing God first, your spouse second, and children third. If a couple does not start out on the right foot with the “I dos,” the child-raising experience can become a hair-raising nightmare.

I came across a wonderful little book titled Home-Making by Rev. J. R. Miller, first published in 1882. The title may make some of you wrinkle your nose and think, “What a dull subject!” Who wants to read about homemaking when visions of washing and ironing, cooking and cleaning come to mind? Beyond the title and cover is a treasure trove of insight into what produces a successful marriage.

The author impresses upon the heart and mind what the roles of husbands and wives ought to be. Rev. Miller’s words are as applicable today as they were in the 1800s and are probably needed now more than ever.

Today, when the family is suffering due to the neglect of its responsibilities, this little book provides much-needed truth to set husbands and wives on the correct path to successful home-making. I encourage you to add this little treasure to your home library, and read it! It contains many morsels of wisdom.

Marriage is a work in progress; just because a couple has been married for years, doesn’t mean they can’t learn a thing or two or more about marriage and how to improve it. Show that you value your marriage by continuously cultivating your relationship with your spouse. This is a lifetime process.

A Gift for Your Children

What better gift to give your children than to model for them the godly husband and wife relationship. One day they will leave home (hopefully) to establish their own homes. To have had parents who manifested the husband-wife relationship that God requires is priceless. Far too many young couples begin married life lugging weighty baggage given to them by parents who poorly modeled the role of husband and wife.

We observe no difference between Christian couples and other couples. Divorce among Christians is keeping pace with that of non-Christians. Each successive generation of husbands and wives repeats the previous generation’s mistakes; the children emulate those mistakes, and their children do likewise.

Marriage is God’s own ideal of completeness-it adds to the fullness of life of the husband and wife; neither loses but both gain. As a relationship, marriage is the closest and most sacred on earth. Let marriage be held in honor among all (Heb. 13:4). Marriage is closer than the relationship between parent and child. Husband and wife are to live for each other.

When you put the needs of your spouse above those of your own and treat your spouse with respect, you are showing your children how a godly marriage works. Your children’s chance of having success in their own marriages increases when your marriage flourishes.

Carol DeMar is regular article contributor to Family Raising: Growing Organic Families. Visit her website at:

When I was commissioned to write a book some years ago on stepfamilies, it was assumed that step parents would be wed. However, the question of coping with step children, these days, doesn’t necessarily involve being married to their natural parent. On the contrary! As more and more couples are involved in serial relationships, so the question might more reasonably be asked: how do step children cope with step parents?

I was invited by BBC Radio 5 Live to take part in a debate, arguing the case for the premise Can A Step Parent Take The Place Of A Real Parent? The e-mail was from one of their producers, who said he’d found my book in a Google search. During the telephone conversation that ensued, he asked me if I knew of anyone who might argue the case against. I had to say that I don’t. Because most of the stepfamilies I know – including my own – have been very positive about the experience.


My book was based on personal experience, but also included a number of case studies: people my second husband and I interviewed for the book. Some of the contributors were step parents coping with step children; others were the biological parent; and yet others the stepkids themselves. Not one of them could say that they were a stepfamily without problems. But what all of them could vouch for was that they had worked through their difficulties – and were prepared to continue doing so.


So the BBC5 invitation prompted me to think through the sort of advice I might offer – not simply to those families who are encountering problems, but to those who’ve not yet taken the plunge. In other words, those who are still thinking about becoming a stepfamily.

The first thing I’d say is:

Understand where you’re coming from.
Evaluate what emotional baggage you’ll be taking with you into the new family.
And how you can deal with it to get where you want to be: a cohesive family unit.
A stepfamily is the result of remarriage after either a divorce or a death. Both are traumatic experiences which affect every member of the family.
Divorce and death involve dealing with the loss of a loved one: spouse or parent.
Both may engender similar emotions: denial, rejection, failure, sorrow, guilt and regret, anger and depression – not just for you, but for your children, too. Some of the points I’ve made in my posts on bereavement, are relevant to those who are divorced.
You may think that you’re over your emotional upheaval – particularly if you’ve found a new love – but it may not be realistic to expect your children to be, too.
The fact is that trying to blend two families together can be like trying to renovate a ruin, whils living in it at the same time!

Understanding that this is where you and your children are coming from and the emotional baggage you’re taking with you are crucial to developing the skills needed when it comes to understanding how you can deal with the upsets which, inevitably, will arise in the stepfamily. I have identified the following three F’s:


Fear of the unknown is very real for all members of a stepfamily. Will it work? Will he/she walk out on me? Will my mum/dad stop loving me? The thing to remember is that fear can only flourish in the absence of love.

Develop an atmosphere of love – before you even become a stepfamily.
Love means trusting one another; being open and honest as a family; making yourself vulnerable.
Communication is key. Vocal. And physical. Never let anything become off-topic. Talk openly about the past with your children. And about what will be happening in the future. Encourage them to talk about their own fears. What if . . .
Show them lots of affection.
Never run your children’s absent parent down – particularly in front of their soon-to-be step parent. It’s bound to upset the kids and alienate them against their step parent.
Help your children to understand that even though you’re going to become a stepfamily, you are utterly committed to them.
Teach them that love does not mean allowing yourself to be manipulated.
Love means that they will be disciplined when they behave badly.
Above all, help them to understand that love is not finite, like a cake divided into slices with only so much to go round. Love grows as you give it away.


This is another topic I’ve written about previously in articles about the art of forgiveness, and healing and forgiveness . The point I’d like to stress above all is that the only person who suffers because of unforgiveness, is the victim who has been wronged. Why punish yourself twice? Forgiving helps you, and your children, to be free to take on new relationships unencumbered. Here’s what you, and they need to know:

Forgiveness is an act of will, not emotion.
It doesn’t mean condoning the bad behaviour of an adulterous ex-partner.
It doesn’t mean that you are to blame.
It’s a journey. Today’s forgiveness will almost certainly have to be repeated tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.
Learn to admit it if you are in the wrong. And teach your children. ‘I am sorry’ are said to be the hardest three words in the world. But they’re also liberating.
Learn to forgive yourself. And teach your children to do likewise.


If you’ve been hurt, you can wrap yourself up and refuse ever to trust anyone again. But living is loving. Do you really want to die on your feet?

If you are a person of faith, exercise it when it comes to new relationships. We only live once. Don’t let hurt and mistrust deny you some happiness in life. You may be hurt again, in a new relationship. No one can guarantee that you won’t. Take heart. Remember the old saying ‘Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’

Do let me know if you’ve had problems in your stepfamily – and the way you’ve overcome them. Or not!


© Mel Menzies, 2008-2009

Related Parenting Articles

Being single parent  is hard choice. It’s really tough for those experience such matter accidentally  and as a result they are not capable to shoulder the responsibility.  It is truly overwhelming to take care of a child, especially when your young child solely relies on you for the whole matter, for food, shelter and even education in the future. Indeed, single parent has to work twice than people should be doing. It particularly happens when raising their children by themselves without any help from their partners.

But don’t be panic. Same with other matter that you will have to solve in life, there are many solutions to conquer such situations. Below are 4 tips you should carry out to survive single parenting.

Establish a close and loving relationship with your child

Treat your child as partner now. You can rely your life only on her or him, similarly your child can depend only on you. Build a strong and close relationship with him or her while your child is still young. If you carry out, you are going to be happy when they mature

Find and join community for young single parenting

Don’t worry. You are not the only one who experience the above matter. Therefore find  community for young single parenting to get help or support. It’s very helpful to join such support group., you can share problem and learn experience each other. By this way, you can face your future matter without doubt.

Give yourself time to heal

You have been burned. Don’t be hurried and in the hunt for love right off. Give yourself time to make well and to find yourself again. Getting into the dating scene again for merely looking for another mate is a no-no. For the moment, make your child as main concern in your life and just face that aspect in your life when the right time comes. And when is that? You’ll know when.

Know clearly who your main concern is

You should know clearly who your priority is. Certainly you should set your child as first priority and  then it can be your career that provide well for your child. By knowing your main concern and having specific goals, you will focus what you should carry out. It will be helpful during moments when you are tempted to turn back on your responsibility or just surrender.

Read moreTips to Survive Single Parenting , visit:


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