After being divorced and getting remarried, it can be tricky to navigate your new life together — especially if one or both of you have children. Not only is it a new relationship, but a new family.
Figuring out the new dynamics, relationships and structure can be pretty stressful and often takes a lot of work, but it is doable with some effort — a unified effort from both spouses (and hopefully the children).
According to a TIME article, "Among remarrying couples, 46 percent already have a child under 18 living in the home ... If there are kids, they're usually hers. Only 9 percent of remarried stepmoms are living with their stepkids, while 46 percent of remarried stepdads have their wife's kids in the home. The good news is that more people with stepkids report a happier marriage than those who don't [have stepchildren] ... "
There is a good chance that if you remarry you will have interaction with stepchildren. Because of that, it's a good idea to make some choices with your new spouse about your marriage and parenting.
For your marriage:
Make sure you get to spend alone time together often. Your marriage is your number one priority.
Be unified as a couple by making decisions together — parenting, financial, etc.
Model a strong marriage for your children to observe.
Resolve arguments, problems or other differences in private. Doing this will help keep children more unified as a family because they will not be tempted to pick sides or rebel against the new parent.
Making your new family cohesive:
Make changes slowly. Rushing into a new marriage is especially hard on kids. Being well acquainted before the marriage by spending lots of time together can help the transition run more smoothly.
Don't expect it to magically work overnight. It's a huge adjustment for you as well as them.
Recognize that the step-relationships will be different than the biological relationships — and that's OK!
Find a new "normal." Life in your first family and life in your blended family is going to be different.
Establish new family traditions together, while being sensitive to old special traditions. Find a way to balance holidays with the other biological parents.
Let the biological parent discipline to avoid enlarging the relationship gap with stepchildren.
Love didn't happen overnight with your new spouse, so don't expect it to with your stepchildren. Love takes time for both children and parents. Take it slow and don't fret if it doesn't come as easily as you'd like.
Expect respect and give it in return. Each biological parent needs to enforce respect of their new spouse. And it goes both ways. Stepparents need to make sure they don't treat their stepchildren any different from their biological children.
Blending two families together can be difficult, but it is possible to make the transition smooth. Don't expect your love for your husband or wife to automatically create a loving blended family. Kids need time to heal from the divorce and learn to trust their new parent, as well as learn to love him or her.
Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen