Lamar and I just celebrated 9 years of marriage. And while I can’t say that the last nine years have gone by without any drama or trials, I can say that marrying Lamar has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life. He’s not only been a blessing to me, but he has also been a blessing to my children ….our children.
We were recently asked what has been one of your major challenges in our marriage. And hands down, we both said the challenges that come with being a blended family. Things were fine at first. But when the problems came…they hit us like a ton of bricks. I’ve never experienced that kind of pain before. As the biological mother in this situation, it hurts you to your core to see your children hurting and your spouse hurting.
When we were asked, knowing what we know now…what would we do differently when we prepared to get married? I said: I would have prepared more for being a blended family.
You see, Lamar and I thought we did everything right. We discussed all of the major topics that you should discuss before getting married: finances, religion, where we would raise the kids..etc. And we even did pre-marital counseling with the pastor that married us. But, we did not prepare ourselves specifically for being a blended family.
And I know that it’s impossible to prepare yourself for all of the challenges that may come your way. But, the odds of your family succeeding increase when you are proactive and when you prepare yourself. Here is what Ron L. Deal says on page 12 in his book The Smart Step-Family: Seven Habits to a Healthy Family:
There are many hidden challenges in stepfamily life, and you need to be as prepared as you possibly can. Taking off your blindfold and seeing clearly the journey ahead is the best choice you can make. Indeed, your decision to form a stepfamily by marriage needs to be an informed choice; otherwise you may regret the decision once the challenges hit you head-on.
So how is that we still claim to be happily married, even with all of the challenges we’ve faced in our family? We took the blindfolds off.
“You can not afford to go into marriage armed with “better than last time” intentions. The process demands that you know and understand more than that.” – Ron Deal, The Smart Step-Family
With blended families, it’s not enough to have good intentions. You’re going to have to put in the work in order have a healthy stepfamily. And that’s what we did. We read books, we’ve taken classes, and we’ve sought the mentoring of other couples that now have thriving stepfamilies. So, my advice to you, whether you’re thinking about forming a stepfamily or you’re already in one, go today and find the resources that you need in order to grow healthy relationships in your family. If you don’t know where to start…here are some of our favorite blended family resources.
BMWK – if you’re in a blended family, please share with us the resources or tools that you have used for your family.