Family is the source of the greatest happiness this life has to offer. Unfortunately, that does not make building and maintaining a strong, happy family easy. It takes dedication, especially when multiple families are trying to blend together.
Troy and Nandi Goodjohn, who we met in the latest Happy Families episode, are good examples of that kind of hard work paying off. Nandi has two kids from a previous relationship who live in South Africa. She and Troy take care of Troy’s 8-year-old daughter, Dior, who spends every other week living with her mom.
“It’s not easy for families to blend together. There are always complications,” Troy says.
The Goodjohns are finding success in their family, and so can you. The simple but significant principles below will make a difference in the way your families blend together, and they are useful to any family, no matter its structure.
The Lord said, “If ye are not one ye are not mine.” Be one with your family members by sharing goals and time. Family prayer, family councils, projects, vacations, and fun activities all provide opportunities to grow closer to each other. Putting aside time for family home evening on Monday nights is a simple and convenient way to put the focus on family time.
President Thomas S. Monson said, “We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program [family home evening]. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”
Open, honest communication is essential in any kind of family. It is particularly useful for blended families that are establishing new responsibilities, boundaries, and relationships.
“To be effective, family communication must be an exchange of feelings and information,” said Elder Marvin J. Ashton, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Doors of communication will swing open in the home if members will realize time and participation on the part of all are necessary ingredients. In family discussions, differences should not be ignored, but should be weighed and evaluated calmly. One’s point or opinion usually is not as important as a healthy, continuing relationship.”
Encourage open conversation and respectful listening. Don’t forget that the most important communication you will do while trying to strengthen your family will be between you and Heavenly Father. Pray always.
Things You Have Learned
What ideas and principles have you found effective in successfully blending families? What obstacles have you faced and overcome in doing so? Share with all of us by leaving a comment.