The other morning, I took a banana, chocolate powder mix, ice cubes, milk and a daub of peanut butter and hit the button on my blender.

I watched as each of the individual elements I had placed in the blender cup were broken apart and forced into one singular new entity that no longer retained any identity of the former individual components. As you can expect, I had an enjoyable shake.

While that may work well with smoothies, it isn't necessarily ideal for Families. The concept of a "blended" Family has been around a long time. Even the Lord Jesus came from a "blended" Family.

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1:18-25, it gives the account of Mary's supernatural conception of Jesus. Joseph is given the responsibility of raising Jesus as his own son. From what can be gathered from the biblical account, it seems the Family of Joseph was successful. There are many reasons why "blended" Families exist, and many of those Families are successful and develop solid relationships. Other times, some Families literally feel like they are going through a blender.

Blenders force, destroy, bring hurt and tear apart. Relationships between step-mom and stepson are strained. Stepdaughter and step-dad constantly fight. Children do not exhibit the same affections for the outsider parent as they do the birth parent. Even adoptive Families may experience the blender. Many parents with good motives attempt to force relationships to work before relationships are established. This can be frustrating and hurtful to both parents and children.

Multi-dimensional Families that are struggling should consider the slow-cooker approach to the Family. When using a slow-cooker, each item retains its own individual identity. Carrots stay carrots, potatoes stay potatoes. Dad, mom, kids all retain their individualism just like the veggies.

However, over time with the right amount of heat, the slow cooker simmers, and each item enjoys emitting its own flavor which complements the other items flavors and creates a delicious meal for all to enjoy.

There is a biblical principle that speaks to the slow-cooker Family; love is patient, kind, not forceful, not easily irritated, bears all things, hopes all things, and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

If your Family is in the blender, think slow-cooker and simmer.

(Editor's note: Merchant is the 795th Military Police Battalion chaplain.)