Many people ask, “how did you make your blended family work?” With so many couples turning to divorce in our society, I can see how this perplexes folks. My prayer is that these five tips will help you in this journey called LIFE.
I am so serious about this. Bringing children and a spouse together is a totally different dynamic, which can make or break a new marriage. It’s funny how stressed out we can get about things, before we decide to take those issue to God.
I prayed so many times for God to give me directions on how to not only keep my mind trained on Him but on how to keep my cool. If you don’t have a prayer life, I would suggest starting today. Something like, “Look God, I need your help.” That’s how my prayers always started.
2. Make some adjustments
At first, I did not want Don, my husband, to discipline my daughter Gabi. This caused so much anger and frustration at the beginning of our marriage. But God has a sense of humor, because I found myself on bed rest seven months into our marriage. So guess who had to do everything?? Don did! That included disciplining Gabi.
Once I made that adjustment and trusted him to love her, the arguments in that area stopped. We had other areas to overcome but we both had to agree to do what was best for not only her but also for the two children we created.
3. Let some things go
We had to be okay with some things and not try to force it. I wanted to change Gabi’s last name to Barnett for the longest time. Every time we tried, something would happen. We even got her father on board with it, but he would change his mind right before we filed papers. Once I got over this thing that I wanted so bad, it didn’t matter. The funny thing about it is, now she is married and she’s taken on the last name of her husband. God had plans for her last name anyway!
4. Release control
Let things happen organically. I wanted Don to be like my dad, but he is nothing like him. The more I insisted he do things like my dad, the more he did the opposite, which was nothing at all. Ironically, once I eased up, he found his place with my daughter Gabi. They both love movies, so every time a movie came out, they were right there. She ran track and he loved track, so he decided to be her coach. This lasted for years until she got to high school. Now that she is in the Coast Guard, she calls him all the time, and some times I have no clue that they even had a conversation.
5. Choose your words
We never used the word STEP. We felt like that made an immediate division in the home. So from the outset, he was daddy to her, and he called her his daughter. No one knew he wasn’t her biological father unless we told them, which wasn’t often. She has written him beautiful poetry since growing up calling him daddy [whereas she calls her biological father by his first name]. This organically happened, and I’m glad we made a choice to not use STEP in our home.
Was having a blended family easy? Absolutely NOT! However, we had to make conscious efforts to have real conversations about what was acceptable and what was not. I love what Don and Gabi’s relationship has finally become.
BMWK, how have you made your blended family work?