“If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again!” BUT…BEWARE if you keep trying the same thing, you will continue to get the same result.
So we need to look at ways to do something different in our blended family marriages so we can get what we really want – a love and a marriage that will be the last one! So what can you do this time around?
Well, truthfully, you can expect less. (Did I just hear most of you gasp!?)
It takes 7-9 years to form a solid bond in a new relationship, so expecting everything to jive with your partner in the early years is unrealistic. It’s going to take years to figure out how to parent well together. It’s going to take years for each of you to grieve/get over your past losses and relationships. It’s going to take the rest of your lives to learn about each other, but that is actually a fun process!
Here’s what I recommend doing…
Expect to stand by each other and continue to ask questions about each other’s opinions, ideas, and choices. For example: “I know you don’t want to live in an apartment. Would you please tell me more about that?” Asking questions gives you valuable information so that you not only learn what ticks off your spouse, but you can also gain much understanding and compassion from knowing why something ticks off your spouse!
Continue to create an understanding of your partner’s past so you both can work to create a better present. My past includes my husband dying at age 32. My husband’s past includes three divorces and his son dying at birth. We both respect the fact that we have been through some STUFF! There has been some rough and painful STUFF in each of your pasts, so be gentle, careful, and very tender towards each other.
Brainstorm tons of ideas when you both feel like you can’t find resolution in a situation. When many couples fight, they have a hard time seeing any other solution but their own. Instead of waiting for your spouse to realize your way is right, slow your roll and just take the time to sit down together and jot down every good, bad, and weird idea that comes to your mind. After a bit, you both may find your own unique solution where everyone feels loved and respected.
Focus on the reasons you fell in love with your spouse and then share those reasons with them! It might surprise you how badly they need to hear those words from you. The blended family has many, many tough dynamics, and if you choose to allow it, those dynamics can crush your marriage. There may be exes, step-kids who hate you, in-laws who don’t accept you, a spouse who can’t prioritize you, differences in parenting, expectations that are not attainable, I could go on and on. And so could you, but why? Is it going to make you feel better to ponder the problems?
Or, instead, could it be possible to practice some positivity? What would that do? What would it look like to continue dating your spouse – pursuing them? What would it look like to create a home where each of you feels safe, heard, cared for, honored, and loved? You have so much power here.
The power is in your choices.
Your marriage may have been blown to bits by the blended family bombshells. But it is possible to take a breath and step back, regroup, develop a battle plan, and take back your marriage!
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