The Engaged Couples Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily

The Engaged Couples Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily

The research is clear: premarital education works.

You can improve the quality of your relationship and lower your odds of divorce just by spending some focused time and energy preparing for marriage and life as a blended family after the wedding.

The book Preparing to Blend: The Couples Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily gives engaged couples the guidance they need and includes practical Growing Activities to prepare children and adults for stepfamily living. Simultaneously, the book  gives pastors/premarital counselors a premarital preparation program they can immediately begin using with couples.

Get your copy today and click on the tabs below for free bonus resources for couples, and a FREE Leader’s Guide for pastors and premarital counselors.

Get Equipped

Thank you for helping to close the gap in premarital counseling for blended family couples. You are setting them on the right path and proving to be a trusted friend who can support them over time.

The research is clear: premarital education works. In general the average couple sees a 30 percent increase in relationship quality and it lowers the annual odds of divorce by 31 percent1. That’s the good news.

The bad news for blended family couples is while 44 percent of all couples report receiving some form of premarital education (usually by a religious organization), fewer than 25 percent of pre-stepfamily couples received relationship education to discuss their upcoming blended family marriage2.

That creates a significant premarital counseling gap for blended families—and means couples start their stepfamily journey without support and protection against re-divorce (which occurs at a rate 10-15% higher than first marriages).

Let’s close that gap!

Get your copy today

Get the Preparing to Blend Leader’s Guide (PDF)

This download and the Preparing to Blend book by Ron Deal gives you a premarital program specifically designed for blended family couples.

Note: Some couples will want two copies of this book in order to individually highlight what speaks to them most; others will share a copy.

Planning Your Blended Family Wedding With Children

Ministering to Blended Families After the Wedding

FamilyLife Blended has created many resources and strategies to help strengthen stepfamilies. Visit our Pastor’s Page to learn more.


1 Jason S. Carroll and William J. Doherty, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Premarital Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analytic Review of Outcome Research,” Family Relations 52, no. 2 (2003): 105-118; and Scott M. Stanley, et al., “Premarital Education, Marital Quality, and Marital Stability: Findings from a Large, Random, Household Survey,” Journal of Family Psychology 20, no. 1 (March 2006): 117-126.

2 Lawrence Ganong and Marilyn Coleman, Stepfamily Relationships: Development, Dynamics, and Interventions (New York: Kluwer Academic, 2004), 68.

Get Equipped

Thank you for helping to close the gap in premarital counseling for blended family couples. You are setting them on the right path and proving to be a trusted friend who can support them over time.

The research is clear: premarital education works. In general the average couple sees a 30 percent increase in relationship quality and it lowers the annual odds of divorce by 31 percent1. That’s the good news.

The bad news for blended family couples is while 44 percent of all couples report receiving some form of premarital education (usually by a religious organization), fewer than 25 percent of pre-stepfamily couples received relationship education to discuss their upcoming blended family marriage2.

That creates a significant premarital counseling gap for blended families—and means couples start their stepfamily journey without support and protection against re-divorce (which occurs at a rate 10-15% higher than first marriages).

Let’s close that gap!

Get your copy today

Get the Preparing to Blend Leader’s Guide (PDF)

This download and the Preparing to Blend book by Ron Deal gives you a premarital program specifically designed for blended family couples.

Note: Some couples will want two copies of this book in order to individually highlight what speaks to them most; others will share a copy.

Planning Your Blended Family Wedding With Children

Ministering to Blended Families After the Wedding

FamilyLife Blended has created many resources and strategies to help strengthen stepfamilies. Visit our Pastor’s Page to learn more.


1 Jason S. Carroll and William J. Doherty, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Premarital Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analytic Review of Outcome Research,” Family Relations 52, no. 2 (2003): 105-118; and Scott M. Stanley, et al., “Premarital Education, Marital Quality, and Marital Stability: Findings from a Large, Random, Household Survey,” Journal of Family Psychology 20, no. 1 (March 2006): 117-126.

2 Lawrence Ganong and Marilyn Coleman, Stepfamily Relationships: Development, Dynamics, and Interventions (New York: Kluwer Academic, 2004), 68.

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About the book

If you want to enter a blended family marriage well, this is just the book for you. Aimed at engaged or pre-engaged couples who have at least one child from a previous relationship, Preparing to Blend offers wise counsel on:

  • parenting
  • finances
  • establishing family identity
  • daily routines for your new life together

It is appropriate for couples with:

  • young or adult children
  • a full nest or an empty one
  • couples who have experienced death, divorce, or a dissolved relationship prior to falling in love.

You and your children will benefit from:

  • exercises designed to accelerate family bonding
  • insights to help you better understand each other
  • guidance on planning  your wedding with your children in mind, so you can build a strong future together.

It is also an ideal premarital counseling tool for marriage coaches, mentors, and pastors wanting to prepare couples for complex blended family dynamics.

If you are considering forming a blended family and want to do everything you can to ensure a happy and fulfilling union, Preparing to Blend is the resource you need.

Want a preview?

Fill out the form below to read Chapter 1 of Preparing to Blend FREE.

What others are saying

About the Author

Ron is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is director of FamilyLife Blended® and president of Smart Stepfamilies™.

He is the author of more than a dozen books and resources including the bestselling The Smart Stepfamily and Building Love Together in Blended Families (with Dr. Gary Chapman).

Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and he and his wife, Nan, have been married since 1986 and have three boys.

Find resources, podcasts, and conference information at SmartStepfamilies.com and FamilyLife.com/blended.

Preparing to Blend is highly recommended by numerous relationship experts.

Preparing to Blend is a kind and helpful guide for families who are merging two households into one. Ron Deal provides such valuable wisdom on this topic few are talking about, but many are in desperate need of. What a gift this book will be to all couples who want to navigate well and learn to thrive as a stepfamily.

–Lysa TerKeurst, #1 New York Times bestselling author; president, Proverbs 31 Ministries.

“As you contemplate creating a blended family, reading and discussing Preparing to Blend is one of the best ways to prepare for success in creating the blended family that you envision.”

–Gary Chapman, PhD, author, The 5 Love Languages.

“There is absolutely no one better than Ron Deal to help blended families. No one. This resource is a critical tool in helping a couple prepare for their future together and the future of their blended family.  Do the critical work now and your kids will thank you later.

–Dave and Ann Wilson, co-hosts, FamilyLife Today.

“Ron L. Deal has provided parents and family members with a Hope-filled, practical, timely, and insightful resource in Preparing to Blend.”

–Dr. Tim Clinton, president, American Association of Christian Counselors; executive director, James Dobson Family Institute.

This beautifully written book is an extraordinary gift to stepfamilies and to those who want to help them. Ron Deal brings decades of experience, deep compassion, profound wisdom, and step-by-step practical guidance to forging a unity of heart for stepcouples and children journeying through the complexities of becoming a ‘blended family.’”

–Dr. Patricia L. Papernow, author, Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships and The Stepfamily Handbook.

I view Ron as the leading expert in the world of stepfamily issues. He brings his years of knowledge in the field to this most helpful book. I love it and will recommend it to anyone preparing to blend.”

–Jim Burns, PhD, president, HomeWord; author, Getting Ready for Marriage and Doing Life with Your Adult Children.

“Most premarital preparation doesn’t foster the needed dialogue to prepare for blending families. But now, Preparing to Blend gives couples a roadmap they didn’t know they wanted! Ron gifts us with a one-of-a-kind resource from a deep, practical well of decades of focused work counseling blended families and biblical expertise.”

–David Robbins, president and CEO, FamilyLife®.

“Ron Deal is a recognized expert on blended families; Preparing to Blend will equip you to face your future together and blend your family well. It’s also a great guide for leaders wanting to offer effective pre-stepfamily counseling. I highly recommend it.”

–Shaunti Feldhahn, social researcher; bestselling author, For Women Only, For Parents Only, and Thriving in Love & Money.

“What are the practices and considerations couples should prioritize as they prepare for remarriage? Ron Deal is a foremost authority on blended families, and he has written an indispensable manual for engaged couples who want to successfully blend their two families.

–Jim Daly, president, Focus on the Family.

“I thank God for Ron Deal! His advice is so practical, real to life, wise, and helpful. This will be my go-to book to give to couples who are about to blend their families.”

–Gary Thomas, author, Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting.

“Many books on blended families focus more on helping parents and minimize children’s needs. Preparing to Blend boldly dives deeper into the struggles of family members. This is a powerful, effective, and easy-to-follow roadmap for every blended family. If you want a healthy and strong blended family, Preparing to Blend is a must-read.”

–Meg Meeker, MD, bestselling author, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.

“Ron Deal’s expert voice and years of experience provide a travel guide of wisdom through the issues of blending a family, such as what to expect, why it’s different, how to handle unhappy kids, setting boundaries, the former spouse, jealousy, discipline, bonding, loyalty, and other issues that can cause conflict. Preparing to Blend is a must-read for blending couples, extended family, pastors, and therapists. I highly recommend this resource.”

–Laura Petherbridge, speaker, co-author of The Smart Stepmom.

“Ron Deal has studied and assisted stepfamilies for decades and knows more about them than anyone ministering to them today. Preparing to Blend needs to be required reading for any two people wanting to marry and blend their families.

–Steve Arterburn, bestselling author and founder of New Life Live.

If you want to prepare yourself adequately to blend a family, read this book. Ron Deal has identified relational dynamics and everyday scenarios of stepcouples that prepare you for the road ahead and how to navigate it. Whether your kids are young, teenagers, or adults, this book is for you.”

–Gayla Grace, staff writer for FamilyLife®; author, Stepparenting with Grace.

“Preparing to Blend is Ron Deal’s crowning jewel! Packed with practical application for couples entering the stepfamily journey! You’ll be delighted as a pastor, counselor, or one who is remarrying to heed the guidance in these pages. Knowing how to navigate the pain one has come from increases the success of remarriage legacy.”

–Gil Stuart, MA, LCHMC, and Brenda Stuart, CTC, coauthors, Restored and Remarried.

“Every couple who is preparing for married life in the proverbial blender needs all the help they can get. And Ron Deal is the expert on the topic. He writes with knowledge, compassion, and a wealth of practical insight. We’ll be recommending this book for many years.”

–Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, #1 New York Times bestselling authors, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts.