Have you remarried recently, and are you blending your families? Are you planning to get remarried? Remarrying when one or both of you have children can be a complex journey to embark upon.
A third of Americans today are part of a stepfamily structure. When both of a child’s parents remarry, that child has two entirely different immediate families to fit into. And that’s only one of the many possible issues and points of friction that remarriage can bring.
At any given time, any member of a blended family can feel a wide spectrum of negative emotions. It’s not uncommon for a stepparent or stepsibling to feel angry, resentful, or left out, for example. Perfection can’t be the goal in a blended family, since we’re all human, but it is possible to blend your families peacefully.
Blending your immediate families after remarriage requires a delicate, empathetic approach. It’s important to take the process slowly as you and your new spouse adjust and acclimate to your new life. While it may be challenging to navigate this transition, it can absolutely be done well.
Today, we’ve gathered some important tips for helping you and your spouse make the transition into a blended family. It’s possible to create a harmonious environment for your new family to thrive, and we’ll show you what it takes to get started.
1. Prioritize Your Marriage
It may seem counterintuitive when you’re combining homes and children, but your marriage should stay at the top of your priority list until you’re solid. Your kids may not understand at first, but they’ll eventually feel more grounded in your new family unit because you and your spouse took the time to work on the marriage. When your marriage is strong, you’ll be better parents–which is a win for everyone.
2. Give Everyone Space
Everyone in your new family needs their own personal space. This is important for helping each individual feel secure, and as though they belong. Even if your home doesn’t allow for each child to have an entire bedroom, for example, you need to ensure that each one has a place in the home that belongs to them. (This also applies to any of your children who may not live with you full-time.)
3. Meet as a Family
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of family meetings, especially for blended families. Meetings should be held in a relaxed environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and sharing ideas. You can discuss everything from vacation plans to the coming week’s schedule. When everyone feels they have a voice, families who meet on a regular basis can establish strong bonds.
4. Create New Traditions
Building a life together as a new blended family means you’ll want to create your own traditions that are special and unique to you. Find your common ground and lean on that, rather than focusing too hard on the things that make each of you different. It may take some time to land on activities you can enjoy together, but the time invested will be worth it.
5. Take Time to Settle In
Remarrying and blending your families is a significant transition for everyone involved. Settling into your new family routine takes time, so try to approach the process without rushing its many different aspects. It’s also important to take your time before making additional major changes, such as having your own child together.
Need More Guidance on Blending Your Family?
This post was inspired by chapter 8 of Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts. It includes more guidance on blending your family, including stories and experiences from real-life couples. To learn more, check out our bundle (which includes workbooks for men and women) here.
Have you remarried and blended a family? What tips would you share with couples embarking on the journey? Leave a comment below and let us know.