by Sheree Adams
I never knew it would be this hard blending a family. I’m raising a tween-age son from a previous relationship. My husband and I have two young daughters. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My son adores his [biological] father, almost idolizing him. They have a very strong and close relationship. I’m so thankful for that. My husband has always been very commendable in his role, as not to ever compete or attempt to replace his biological. However, the grey area of the roles of step-parenting and being the step-child always seems to leave room for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and chaos.
We have a loving, Christian home that, for the most part, is wonderful. We eat our meals together. We pray together. We laugh together. We love on each other. But there are times when things get kinda sticky. Feelings of resentment and negative emotions rear their ugly faces and leave us all wondering, “What happened?”
Go with me [here] for a second:
You’re a guy. You fall in love with a woman. She has a kid. You marry her. You’re an instant father. But wait. The kid already has a father. What do you do?
You’re five years old, your mom meets a guy. She marries him. You love your dad. You love your mom. Who is this new guy? What do you do?
You’re a single mom. You meet a guy. He’s “perfect” for you. He loves you and your son. You marry him. Your son is resentful. Your husband feels disrespected. What do you do?
That, my friends, has been the soundtrack of my home life. You would think that being Christian (prayer), being intelligent adults (seeking information from those who have blended families) and getting advice from the experts (counseling) would be the answer. But it hasn’t been. It puts me in a horrible place as the never-off-duty referee, because both of them want and deserve my attention and love. Let’s not mention gray hairs on my head.
Marriage is hard.
Motherhood is hard.
And trying to stay sane through it all without the use of any mind-altering substances…is hard.
The cycle of normalcy, is what I call it. My son visits his father on a regular basis. There is a break and a sense of normalcy. My husband goes away on business. There is a break and a sense of normalcy. But then we’re together. One, big happy family on the exterior, but on the inside there is a lot of pain, heartache and sadness…sadness on my part mostly because I’m in the middle.
I’m loved by both and love them both dearly… I don’t choose sides. They both admit that they are at fault when they are. One thing’s for sure, and My God am I thankful, is that the older my son gets, the less he acts out when he’s hurt or feeling sad. He’s able to process things better with a little more maturity and patience. My husband, on the other hand, as loving as he is, wears the old school crown. The head of the household has the last word and is always right…ALWAYS. No ifs, ands or buts about it!
My daughters need me.
I need peace.
I threaten to leave everyone at home and run away to a third world country.
Things don’t change.
What do I do?
By God’s grace, over the years, I have been able to have these enlightening experiences that allow me to take a step back and observe some of the faulty areas and weaknesses in our family. Then I began to pray. I even began to fast. I needed to hear from God. Through Christian experience, I have found that only God, can plant certain seeds of wisdom and understanding that helps you break down some really deeply rooted issues that you never even knew about yourself…. And then it happened….
God spoke to me, “Sheree. The reasons that you are having these issues are that you neglect to follow my rules. You took vows, communion, and made promises that are being broken. Where is the honor? You have also an obligation when bringing children into this world, that they too must obey and abide by my Word. You are knowledgeable, therefore accountable.”
Blew. My. Mind….
I heard this, “Tell your husband that he is the head of the household. AND MEAN IT!”
I also heard:
Repent. Submit. Release.
Submit to your husband who you obviously entrusted with your livelihood and that of your offspring, both spiritually and wholeheartedly.
Repent for your sins and confess, so that you will be left with a clean, humble, honest and open heart that will yield to My guidance and that of your husband.
Release any old history, ill feelings, heartache or pain caused by your husband or your son towards. Cast your cares on ME. I will never leave you or forsake you.
I heard this. And, I repeat. It was mind-blowing.
I held a meeting with my family during a vacation because, once again, things were bumpy and the bickering was just downright annoying. I explained to them my directives from God and the desires of my heart. They listened.
Do you hear me? I said, they listened. Not only did they listen, they are talking to each other more and with a new-found respect and understanding of one another.
I will not place complete and total onus on them. I had to start showing respect for my husband not just while we were together as a couple, but in subtle and more blatant ways, acknowledge him as the head of our family. That I valued and revered him and respected his role IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN.
Instead of wearing my single mom hat, that was super-glued to my head after years of use, and saying, “Yeah, sure you can go outside.” or “Yeah you can do this or that.” I say, “Yeah. Its fine with me, if your Dad doesn’t have anything else he’d like for you to do.” etc., etc.
I am a better and more active listener to them both. My son’s behavior towards his step-father was a cry for help, because unfortunately, I didn’t balance my attention and time between the two very well. The poor little guy felt like my husband came along and took his mom AND HER LOVE AWAY.
Things are better, but truthfully they are far from perfect. But I am so thankful to God for wisdom, courage, discernment, and His mercy. Its been seven years since I married my husband. Seven, biblically and historically speaking, means perfection, wholeness and completion. Maybe it took this long for it to come full circle, for a reason. God makes no mistakes. I still have the grey hairs as souvenirs from where we’ve come, as a new family feeling their way through the darkness of an imperfect life.
Sheree is a Christian, wife, WAHM of three, nurse, blogger and speaker, who is forever drawn to all things health-related. You can find her blogging about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY! Learn more about Sheree on her Website and via Twitter.