You’ve tried to bring your blended family together, but nothing seems to be working. You are feeling stressed and pressured from both sides and really want to make this work. Did you know that 70% of second marriages in which both partners have kids end in divorce? The last thing you want to be is another statistic.
Blended families have become more and more common and can have many wonderful assets. A beautiful family and perfect mate are worth fighting for but what do you do when everything you have tried has failed? You’re concerned that divorce could be next, but it doesn’t have to be the answer.
My new book Blended Families Recipes for Success lays out some simple, easy-to-follow, and understand recipes for building a happily blended marriage. Obviously, there is no guarantee that these will work. Your situation may require a more intense solution such as counseling, family intervention, or unfortunately even divorce.
So here are some simple ideas of what to try next.
- Decide what your priorities are
- Find options
- Get support
- Put the plan into action
- Evaluate the outcome
Priorities are always the first step. Knowing what matters most will help create urgency and follow-through.
Finding options. This step is different for everyone. It depends on your circumstances and what is possible. Do your research and speak with professionals or others in the same situation.
You and your spouse must be on the same page. Get support from friends, family, or professionals. Be united in presenting your ideas to the children.
Put your plan into action as soon as possible. Do it and see what happens. You can always modify it later.
How well did your latest plan resolve the problems? Depending on the ages of the stepchildren your options will vary.
With adult children, one idea that comes to mind is to keep the stepchildren out of the family life. This is difficult and must be done with a supportive partner. Have special times for the biological parent to be with their children. Reimagine holidays so they can include the biological parent and their kids without you being present. Arrange a time for the two of you to be together later. With younger children, it looks different. Maybe you agree to be present but take a backseat allowing the biological parent to be in charge. Do what works for your family.
Do whatever makes life easier and peaceful, to begin with, but remember that you and your spouse count as well. Spousal priority cannot be overlooked. Making each other a priority while building a blended family with kids from a previous marriage is challenging but special arrangements may need to be made if everyone is to get along.
A friendly marriage is better than a friendly divorce. Problem-solve together. Make changes, when necessary, as long as you are still being fair to each other. The children will eventually grow up and move out so keep the love and respect between you and your spouse strong. Find ways to carve out time for yourselves as well. The goal of course is to beat the odds of yet another divorce and find a satisfying solution for all.
How have you compromised to make your blended family work? What adjustments did you have to make?