By Brandi Mitchell
And so it happens that Mr. or Mrs. Right finds you, slipper in hand, and you both vow your love to each other for eternity to live in Blendedville. But on the way to Blendedville, you must first stop to pick up two, little adorable travelers that will forever be a part of your journey.
What becomes immediately clear is that, although you are certain about your love for each other, neither of you may have realized the true effect a ready-made family would have on your own marriage.
So if your new town’s name is Blendedville, then your street’s name is definitely Reality. And what’s real is to survive in your blended family.
In order to survive, the following 3 tips will have to be woven into the very fabric of your blended family’s dna. How do I know? Because it’s my story too!
One of the biggest assets you have in your marriage when you’re raising children in two different houses will be unity.
The key to successful parenting in a blended family is the harmony in the marriage and the practice of respect; both given and received.
Couples who have the most success in keeping their love alive and building a healthy blended family do so by establishing a united front to prevent a divided union.
A strong united front is created when the biological parent and stepparent form an alliance to parent the children together, when in their household. It will also be very important that both the stepparent and biological parent be on one accord when it comes to discipline, and relating with the children, their other parent, the extended family and friends. When the couple presents themselves as a unit, it discourages discord and the child’s ability to make their parent choose sides.
It is of great importance that the child is secure in knowing that their stepparent will treat them fairly and will be someone they can trust. On the other hand, if the stepparent is not sincere in wanting things to work within the stepfamily, their negative influences on their spouse could be quite manipulative and cause more chaos than peace. I say practice the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” You both signed up for this new family unit, so again try to practice demonstrating and commanding respect on all sides.
Although life can be overwhelming, especially when there are children involved, the married couple will have to take the time to keep romance and love in their marriage. Plan date night weekly or on off weekends from your blended family. Go to a concert, movie, or weekend get-a-way, just the two of you. Reignite the spark that made you fall in love. Remember, you can’t continue to pour out love without getting fueled back up so make time for love.
BMWK – Brandi has provided us with 3 very important tips: be united, be fair, and be playful (date_night.) Have you found those tips to be helpful in your blended family? Please share your experiences.
Brandi Mitchell is the author of the book, The Blended Family Survival Guide on Getting Married With Children, Yours or Somebody Else’s!, which was chosen out of thousands of titles as Book of The Week on the nationally syndicated radio show The Michael Baisden Show. She teaches blended families and single parents how to thrive and survive in blended families. Click here for a FREE Subscription to her weekly “Blended Family Survival Guide EZINE.”