Ron Deal wrote “Dating and the Single Parent”. He starts his book with a foreword, as most books do. However, this is one of the most powerful portions of the book because it gives the reasons for the book. While the content will be summarized, many people (especially the church), have not been dealing or addressing the blended families that are in need of help because the single parent is so prevalent and many people are not going into marriage of blended families with an awareness of how to do this effectively. Here are some shocking, but not unbelievable statistics:
1. “Forty two percent of adults are in a step relationship of some kind.
2. Thirty percent of marriages ...view middle of the document...
58). The third chapter “Ready or not, here I come”( pg. 61), Deal provides an opportunity to review factors to see if one is ready to experience the life of dating as a single, and with children. The fourth chapter “The Fear Factor: preparing yourself and the kids for dating” (pg. 79) discusses one of the biggest struggles that a single parent has is allowing their fear to stop them from moving forward. Deal refers to this as not “sidestepping but acknowledging it” (pg. 83). Chapter five closes out the first section with “Kid fears and dating considerations” (pg. 95) where he also discusses that the fear the parent has can be reflected or felt by the children as well, and so there is an honesty in one of the most important things that are brought up in this first section, is the idea of the single parent preparing the children for the dating as well. One has to be willing to talk to the children, share their own emotions, but be willing to allow the children to share theirs as well so that their fears can be addressed.
The second section of the book is entitled “Going Fishing” (pg. 115). The sixth chapter is focused on the purpose of dating, finding love and a very important requirement, especially for a single parent in defining the relationship. The seventh chapter uses a traffic metaphor to remind couples dating to view relationships in three categories: green (go), yellow (proceed with caution), and red (stop). The eighth chapter “Going Deeper” (pg. 163) is about taking the time to reflect on where one is in their life and focus on the goals that matter. Deal reminds the reader that often we focus on what we do not have in that the single person needs the focus so that they do not place to much value on marriage, and married individuals need to be reminded of their relationship so that they will not lose focus on their purpose as a couple (pg. 165).
The third section of the book is titled “Marital commitment and Stepfamily preparation” (pg. 181). The final two chapters are for those who have the “green light” and are ready to move forward into another commitment. Chapter nine is “Re-engage? Decisions about Marriage” (pg. 183) and chapter ten is “Preparing for a good blend” (pg. 203). In these last two chapters, Deal focuses on providing a framework (guideline) on how to communicate with children, and well as issues with trust and commitment. He even covers items such as telling the ex, including the children in wedding plans, and understanding that this may seem like a loss for the children involved.
Potential Use for Christian Couples
As stated earlier, many churches have fallen behind in working with couples who are blending their families together. Even churches who are led by blended families still often portray this feeling that because we are all Christians, God will work it out. Not only is this book powerful in every section, but there are three to four ways in which this book could be used to...