Family Frameworks

How Do YOU Keep Your Family Together


Mar 2013


Many years ago when I started my second marriage I listened to the 7 Keys of successful Marriage ( I think that’s the name of it) by Gary Smalley.  It was a video series that I made the guy I was dating watch (who happens to be my sweet husband).  This was a great series that helped us tremendously by starting our marriage with the skills and thoughts that would lead to success especially after both of us had failed marriages.  When I listened, the most profound point I heard and that stuck with me was you need to suffer together.  When a family has trials and they make it through the trials and they actually suffer they bond.  Well, I wanted this stepfamily to bond, and one of the things he said, was that you could put the suffering in by doing something together as a family that might entail some suffering.  He gave the suggestion of camping.  

He tells the story of how his family bought a motor home and headed out and all the escapades with Greg (the oldest) and the other three children and truly bonded.  They had all kinds of great stories.  It sounded just like the movie “RV”.  Well, I thought, “I can camp, I have a tent in my garage”.  So I convinced John that we needed to camp.  So off we went with five children between the ages of two and ten and headed to Fall Creek Falls about one and a half hours away.  We set up our tent got out the Coleman stove and seemed to be having a wonderful time.  As bedtime rolled around the temperature dropped.  Our sleeping bags were not that heavy and we had some little children that were starting to get very cold.  We all huddled together.  The kids were crying “why did we have to come camping?”  I remember having some candy and gave it out to the kids and our youngest daughter Julie chomped down on that m&m and lost her first tooth.  She cried and cried.  It seemed I had created a disaster.  Everyone was miserable!!!

Years later we looked on that experience and many other camping experiences and found them to be some of the most wonderful highlights in our life.  We laugh about all the disasters, getting up in the middle of the night, hearing the raccoons getting into our stuff and having burned macaroni at the campsite.  Those assimilated tough times did help to bond us.  It was a gift I am very grateful that Gary Smalley gave to my family.  To this day, I recommend many stepfamilies to “go Camping” have some tough times.

I was blessed to have someone share the quote above “The couples that are Meant to be are the ones who go through everything that is designed to tear them apart and come out even stronger”.   There are many things that could have torn John and me apart, but we chose to weather through them.  There were times I did not want to keep going.  Kevin Leaman’s title “Living in a Stepfamily without Getting Stepped On” rang true to me.  I felt left out and unimportant so many times.  I felt my opinions would never matter.  But now twenty-two years later,  I watch our kids talk about those times and laugh.  We laugh the hardest at the times when I really messed things up.  But I can see now that our kids love each other as adults and really enjoy the memories that we gave to them, in spite of some being tougher than others.

When I consider the tough times I go right to one of my favorite Bible Verses Romans 8:28.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  So those times we thought were the toughest if we hold tight and let God do His work, you will see the good He creates.

Wish me luck,  I’m bonding again.  Next week John and I will be biking 440 miles on the Natchez Trace.  I refused to camp on this trip, but I know we will have some great bonding time.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

So what are some of the tough times that you have shared that have “BONDED” you together?  Share them on this blog or on the Facebook post if you read this.

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