“He doesn’t prioritize me.”
“She doesn’t like my kids.”
“I think my step kids hate me.”
“My spouse’s ex must think I’m crazy.”
Welcome to the beauty of the blended family! (sarcasm included).
I remember thinking about all the good gifts I was going to grace my husband’s life with when I married him. I thought about the benefits I would bring to his children and routine. Boy was I living in la-la land. So from the wedding day, fast forward to probably less than a week, there I was. Ugh! How could so many things fall apart and my dreams blow up so quickly?
I’m going to be bold here and assume that many of you fell into this same pit that I experienced. Here’s the absurdity about assumptions; they can sometimes be spot-on, or they can be profoundly preposterous.
Many times we base assumptions off of feelings, which may or may not be helpful. Many times we base assumptions off of what we see, even though we don’t see the whole picture. Many times we base assumptions off of what we think we heard, again, most likely not hearing the whole conversation.
So where am I going with all of this? I’m going to ask you to do something that requires courage – and that is to quit assuming.
Your marriage and your family, no matter how crazy you think they are, do not need your assumptions at this point. You, your spouse and kids need some facts, and here are 2 very important ones to focus on.
FACT: You can’t control others, but you can control you. A hard lesson to remember in the moment when you feel out of control, but so important for your sanity. Focus on keeping your cool when others are heating up. Focus on really listening to what others are saying and then ask more questions to gain knowledge. Knowledge is power, so gather as much information as possible before you make an ASS out of U and ME.
FACT: Your blended family came with baggage! Don’t let this overwhelm you while making assumptions that everyone is out to get you. Remember, you came into this family with your own set of ‘luggage’. Just realize that sometimes you have to deal with a little duffel bag and sometimes you have to lug a huge steam trunk. They are all part of the journey. But remember, you get to put away the baggage in between trips.
Focus on compartmentalizing situations where there is chaos. Just because the ex is causing you to cuss, doesn’t mean your whole family deserves a verbal assault from you. You can look for the bad and find it every time, so focus on all the good. Or you can decide that there are tons of amazing things to discover every day about your life, spouse, kids, gerbils, etc. that are worth noticing and giving your attention.
When you focus on the facts, it gives you the added information to be wiser, more compassionate, and have the ability to slow down when tempers flare.
There is no possible way for you to know what everyone’s thinking and how everyone is feeling, and many times, whatever we think people think about us is completely wrong. Take deep breaths, remind yourself that there are no cookie-cutter humans and that you have control over your response, your attitude, your words, your actions, your perspective, and your tone… and hopefully, none of those are filled with assumptions.
Written By: Kristie Carpenter
Kristie Carpenter is a Certified Professional Life Coach, women’s mentor, and marriage coach with her husband, Dan. Her aim is to help couples navigate the blended family marriage. She is the author of two books: The Blended Family Mom, (devotional) and Blended Mom Moments. You can find her on Facebook and IG as The Blended Family Mom. You can purchase her books or reach out to her via her website: www.theblendedfamilymom.com.