Preparing to Blend

The Couple's Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily

Cover Art

Where to Purchase


A Premarital Guide for Blended Family Couples

If you want to enter a blended family marriage well, this is 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, and daily routines for your new life together. Within these pages you will learn how to:

· predict common issues
· define expectations 
· create solutions

You, your soon-to-be-spouse, and your children will benefit from exercises designed to accelerate family bonding and help you better understand each other. There is even a chapter to help you plan your wedding with your children in mind, so you can build a strong future together. Preparing to Blend 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, Preparing to Blend is the resource you've been looking for.


"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

"Most people spend far more time preparing for their vocation than they do preparing for their marriage. Maybe that is why they are often more successful in their vocations than in their marriages. 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

"'It can't be that hard, can it?' In reality, many couples and families are unprepared to blend as one. The transition can often be unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and uneasy. 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

"This is the book we've been waiting for in the premarital world! Preparing to marry is one thing, but preparing to marry and blend is another with all the deep joys and challenges that go with it. There is no one in the world who is more capable of writing this book and helping you think through the specific issues of marriage and the blended family than Ron Deal. 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

"Many blended families reflect back on navigating the unique realities of bonding and thriving as a blended family and say, 'No one prepared us for this.' And they're right; 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®

"Preparing couples for a healthy marriage takes intentionality. Add in children, former spouses, money questions, between-home conflict, and the fear of another breakup, and you've got your hands full. 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

"'I wish I had learned about blending before I got married,' are the most common words I hear from stepfamilies. And Ron Deal has provided the perfect go-to resource, rich with insight and packed with relevance. Preparing to Blend explores the crucial topics and unique dynamics associated with blending a family and why it's different than a first marriage. Ron Deal's expert voice and years of experience provide a travel guide of wisdom through the issues, 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, author

"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. Pastors should demand it, because it could reverse the trend of higher divorce rates in blended families. So many children will not suffer in blended and broken remarriages if parents read Preparing to Blend before they tie the second knot. The least you could do before you try to blend two families is to read Preparing to Blend. It will prevent you from having to prepare to end what will not blend."

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

The Author

  1. Ron L. Deal

    Ron L. Deal

    Ron L. Deal ( and is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is president of Smart Stepfamilies, directs the blended family ministry at FamilyLife, and is the author of...

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