As you know, we made a commitment to try to help others who are remarried, blending families, and going through the ups and downs of marriage in a different way than the traditional first time marriage struggles, by sharing our experiences, being transparent and open to anyone in need.
So we decided to fly to Little Rock and attend the Summit on Stepfamily Ministry, which is dedicated to teaching people the best ways to help people like us who are remarried and living in blended families.
Let us say up front that many of these lessons are applicable to all marriages in one form or another, but stepfamilies do have many unique issues: ex-spouses and stepchildren being the two biggest.
Here are a couple of quick first takes:
1 – Marriage sets the tone for parenting and MUST become the first priority. The children are still a high priority in the family structure. But, the marriage CANNOT survive if the vows are in second place.
2 – Clarify the role of parent and stepparent. Parent your own child. To use a metaphor, on day one, the biological parent should be 1st violin and the stepparent should be 2nd violin. Do not place the new spouse in the position of parenting or disciplining your child. It usually backfired – badly. Learn how to parent if that’s an area of weakness.
3 – You are NOT alone! As we said, stepfamilies are much different that non-stepfamilies so everyone needs to understand: A + B DOES NOT EQUAL C!
Things are NOT typical in blended families but there is help if you are struggling. Let us know. And if things are going well for you and your blended family – also let us know because we want to learn from YOU!