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Divorce Resources for Women

Are You Considering Remarriage and a Blended Family?

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Make no mistake. Making a marriage work in a blended family (also known as a stepfamily)a family that includes children from one or both of the spouses’ previous marriages and any from this one, toois incredibly hard. Dealing with your children’s needs, desires, discipline, feelings toward their parents and stepparents, and movement between two households takes tremendous energy and wisdom. Dealing with your ex, your spouse’s ex, visitation schedules, and legal suits related to child custody changes takes loads of time and mental effort, too. Add to this your feelings of loyalty conflict, possible guilt over divorce and/or remarriage, and need for privacy. And remember that spousal feelings of exclusion (from your biological children) and jealousy (of you, the children, and/or the ex-spouse) typically crop up on occasion. Have you considered the financial strain of supporting two households? No wonder many people say that marriage in a blended family hasn’t got a chance!

Yet marriages in blended families do succeed. Check out Blending Our Families Is ‘Truly The Best Decision We’ve Ever Made’ and other articles in The Huffington Post Blended Family Friday series to read about happily blended families led by happily married couples.

For a marriage with a blended family to succeed, it must be tended, as all marriages must. Cheryl Erwin, coauthor of Positive Discipline for Your Stepfamily,reminds us that “the most important relationship to nurture in any stepfamily is between the adult partners.” It is the adults who set the tone, the rules, the examples, and much more for their children. Yet, a marriage with a blended family is not the same as other marriages. There are challenges specific to blended families (see above), challenges to consider before marrying and blending families.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice for couples looking to build a marriage and blended family is this: educate yourself about the process. There are typical challenges, progressions, and benefits that marriages with blended families share.

Start your education by dispelling these common MYTHS:

  • Your experience in your first marriage taught you everything you need to know in order to have a happy remarriage.
  • Because you raised your own children, you know how to be a stepparent.
  • Your stepfamily can be just like your first family—only better.
  • Because you love each other, your children will love you both and each other.

 

If you remarry with your eyes wide open and your skill set for leading a blended family well honed, you have a greater chance of living happily ever after.

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