6 Strategies for a Happy Marriage in a Blended family
From the moment you commit to a blended family, the odds are stacked against you.
Statistics place the number of divorce cases among a blended family as much higher than those in first time families. From my experience, marriage in a blended family is far more complex than a regular marriage. Here are the things that I have learnt along the way;
1. One fight at a time
I came in knowing that the odds were against us. At the very beginning, each time my partner and I fell out, I imagined that our blended family situation was the cause of our woes. Truth is that you and your partner will disagree on things even if yours is a first time family. I have learnt to separate our family situation from our disagreements.
When we disagree, I do not make any assumptions.
2. Dealing with your insecurities
When you tell people that you are thinking of starting a blended family, you will hear a lot of frightening stories that partners in blended marriages have experienced. What I have been doing is not let these stories get to me. True, there are blended families that fail spectacularly. But I know that there are also first time families that are riddled with pain. Without allowing these stories to define my situation, I am working to make this family my last.
3. Prioritise your relationship
Just like any other healthy romantic relationship, a blended family needs date nights and special time alone with each other. I knew this but I found myself worrying that the children who only get to spend adequate time with one of the bio parents needed this time.
For your relationship to last, you need to quash this guilt and create time for each other. After all, the children need to see what a healthy, committed relationship looks like.
4. Cordial relationships with exes
Blended families more often than not come with exes. In an ideal world, everyone would get along well but in the real world, sometimes there are bitter feelings between one of the partners and an ex. For the blended family to move forward, you need to make the relations with exes as cordial as possible.
This benefits the children involved and you as a couple as well.
A marriage involving a blended family will not thrive if there is constant conflict with the exes.
5. Professional guidance
A far cry from how things were a decade or two ago, there is less stigma directed at blended families. People do not frown when you say that you are a step Mum. In the same stride, there are counselling centers available in Kenya which are dedicated to seeing blended families work, one of them being Family blended network . When we aren’t sure, we reach out to a professional.
6. Talk about money
I know, finances can be an unromantic subject. However much in love you are with each other, money can become your undoing. Author Ruth Hayden in her book For Richer Not Poorer advice that a couple getting into a blended family start this conversation early. You are likely to have two sets of children, agree on who will pay for what early on.
She proposes that you have this talk at least once a week. Just as it is with discipline, when it comes to money, display a united front to your children. This will stop the children from pitting you against each other and causing friction in your relationship.