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Based on personal experience and expert insight, this book can help your new family learn to work and play together and to love and respect each other.


Publié par
Date de parution 01 février 1984
Nombre de lectures 3
EAN13 9781441231840
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0432€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Copyright © 1984 by Tom and Adrienne Frydenger
Published by Chosen Books a division of Baker Book House Company P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287 www.chosenbooks.com
Ebook edition created 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
ISBN 978-1-4412-3184-0
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
To our fathers,
Donald J. Brinkman and William O. Frydenger
They didn’t live to see our dreams come true, but they always believed in them.
Special thanks:
To Steve Hamon, counselor/therapist, for critiquing our perspective on blended families.
To Jim Klein, counselor/therapist, for assisting us in our review of related literature.
To Jessica Stricklin, attorney, for her comments on legal issues concerning blended families.
To Grandma Frydenger and Grandma Brinkman for the many hours of babysitting that allowed us to write in peace (and quiet).
And to all of the stepparents who participated in our blended family group sessions or allowed us into their lives with the hope that their experiences would be of benefit to others.
Contents Cover Title-page Copyright-page Dedication Acknowledgments 1 Looking Back Down the Aisle 2 Laying the Foundation 3 A Vision of Unity 4 Children Reacting 5 Stepping In As a Stepparent 6 Bonding 7 Discipline 8 Working With the Other Household 9 A Richer Blend: Family Bonding 10 Let Grace Abound Back Cover
Looking Back Down the Aisle
I straightened my tie for the hundredth time and looked through the slightly opened doorway of the sanctuary. It seemed every seat was taken, but my groomsmen were still ushering guests down the long aisle. I closed the door and fingered my tie nervously.
“Larry, you’re sure you have the ring.”
“I’m sure.”
“You’re positive?”
“Relax, Tom. After all, today is only going to change your whole life.”
Only going to change my whole life. I’d lived through so many changes already my cocoon was getting thin. And here I was, about to be transformed from Tom Frydenger: single person, into Tom Frydenger: bona fide husband and father. And father! Soon two little girls would walk down the aisle and into my life. What a responsibility!
Just a few months before, I had envisioned myself traveling widely, employing my profession of family counseling wherever needs arose. And not so much wanting to travel alone, I discovered that two tensions tugged at my dream: wanting a wife, and being panic-stricken I’d find one. To help reduce some of the terror of being accountable to someone other than myself for a lifetime, I decided to devise a “Perfect Wife List.” If I could find someone who actually fit my list, I’d have the perfect marriage. Although the list was elaborate, it certainly didn’t include a woman who already had children.
Then along came Adrienne. It was a cold, snowy January morning when she walked through my office door and brought wonderful chaos into my life.
I had seen Adrienne several times at church and had managed to have myself introduced to her. It was a very short introduction “Hello. Nice to meet you, too. Goodbye.” Then she was on her way out the door.
But that was O.K., I reasoned. I wasn’t planning on marrying her, I just wanted to date her. Besides she had two children, a circumstance which automatically triggered my “Slow Children” caution sign.
Adrienne had come to the office to work on a children’s corner for the waiting room, but stopped to talk with the secretary. I overheard her mention she would like to speak to the head of our psychological practice concerning a personal matter and always ready to be the knight in shining armor I jumped into action. In a moment I was in the waiting room, telling her my associate was out, and asking if I could be of service. She surprised me by answering yes.
Time flew as we talked in my office and went out to lunch together. When finally we parted, I knew the rest of the afternoon was shot. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. All I could think of was Adrienne and the list. Just thinking about the commitment of marriage was enough to make noncommittal me break out in a cold sweat, and here I was starting to fall for a woman with two children from a previous marriage.
As time went on, Adrienne and I had long conversations on the telephone about our interests, our faith and our ideas on marriage. Through these conversations I learned that she was struggling with ambivalent feelings concerning remarriage. She told me that she would read a particular Bible verse over and over: “For your Maker is your husband the Lord Almighty is his name . . .” (Isaiah 54:5a). Some days she found it very comforting to know the Lord would protect and keep her while she was without a flesh-and-blood husband. On those days she would think about how well she and the girls were adjusting to a single-parent household.
But on other days, she wanted to marry again. She wanted someone to share special traditions, to fill the void left in the family and to help with the responsibility of running the household. She especially wanted her children to have a loving, guiding father image at home. Yet, she wasn’t sure she was up to the work involved in establishing new, intimate family relationships.
As our interest in each other grew, we decided it was time I became acquainted with her children. I had no qualms about meeting Jennifer. I was convinced that she, like most two-year-olds, would cuddle right up to me. Nichole, being older, was a different story. I expected resentment and resistance to my presence in her mother’s life. As it worked out, my first meeting was with Nichole.
Trying to be one step ahead of an eight-year-old was not all child’s play. I role-played our meeting conversation several times in my mind, and rehearsed various approaches, and responses to what I anticipated Nichole’s behavior would be. If she did this, I would do that. If she did that, I would do this.
Adrienne introduced me to Nichole one Sunday morning before worship service. As the three of us sat together, I could feel Nichole sizing me up. I became so involved in the sermon I barely noticed her inching toward me. And before I had time to analyze the situation, she had cuddled up under my arm and sleepily lain her head on my chest.
I was amazed. It was so easy. With the afterglow of success hovering over me, I couldn’t wait to meet Jennifer after church.
I was so certain Jennifer would accept me at first sight I confidently told her mother, “All babies and little children love me.” My confidence was quickly shaken, however, when Adrienne returned from the nursery with Jennifer and brought her to the church kitchen where Nichole and I were waiting. Before I had an opportunity to wiggle her toes or tickle her cheek, Jennifer opened her mouth and shrieked. Wanting absolutely nothing to do with me, she sobbed and screamed until I left the room.
Completely flustered, and wondering where I went wrong, I knew I had to try again. When the cries had subsided I slowly walked back into the room. Within seconds Jennifer spotted me, puckered up and began crying anew, picking up more volume with each shriek. As I left the room for the second time I felt my successful afterglow going up in smoke. Needless to say, it took a little more time for me to win Jennifer’s acceptance.
The rustle of the crowd rising to its feet drew my attention to the back of the church. Somehow, on shaky legs, I had managed to follow my best man through the side door and up to the altar rail. Jennifer and Nichole had already walked down the aisle as the organist played the wedding march. In spite of my nervousness, when I saw Adrienne and her father round the turn and start toward us, I couldn’t help grinning like the Cheshire cat.
As we held hands and said our vows to one another, I was acutely aware of the presence of Jennifer and Nichole. I knew, figuratively speaking, I was holding more than one hand. For in that moment, we became what is termed a blended family.
In the years since the wedding, we have discovered that forming a new family system isn’t easy. Becoming a blended family means mixing, mingling, scrambling and sometimes muddling our way through delicate family issues, complicated relationships, and individual differences, hurts and fears. But through it all we are learning to love like a family.
Laying the Foundation
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14)
Paul advised his friends at Philippi to let go of those things in the past that would keep them from making daily progress. His advice is relevant to today’s blended family. A new family system needs to build on a strong foundation, and can, once the crumbles of the past are cleared away. I have found through counseling in my private practice and through personal experience that the most common negative influences affecting blended family relationships are feelings of guilt and failure, and grief over loss.
Adrienne and I had been married a little over a year when these influences on our marriage left me feeling certain I was failing her as a husband. She became quiet and distant, and I didn’t know why. One evening, for instance, she called the girls and me in for dinner. We all sat down

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