I noticed in your bio that you are in a blended family. I am, also and I am wondering why you don’t write about blending families more often. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and together we have 4 children (his two daughters – ages 5 & 8 – and my son and daughter – ages 10 and 12)…To be honest, this has been a lot harder than either of us thought it ever would be. The kids are not responding the way we thought they would, our relationship is strained and our exes are not making things any easier. I fear that we have made a mistake and didn’t think this through. Do you have any advice to offer? I do love him, but sometimes I wonder if that is enough… V”
Hello V! First let me offer you a big virtual hug. This is just a portion of your letter, yet it’s obvious that you and your mister are in a bad place right now and I’m sorry for that. I am also sorry that it has taken me a while to respond to your email. I’m not completely comfortable with giving advice and, in fact, I’m not going to give you any. I’ve given your letter a lot of consideration and finally mentioned it to my husband to get his perspective. What I can tell you is how we have dealt with our situation in hopes that it can give you some encouragement and insight.
First, please know that blending a family is not easy for anyone. We honestly do not know of one blended family that hasn’t suffered from bumps and bruises. In biological families there is a multitude of personalities and quirks that often get in the way of familial bonding. Blended families tend to have that same dynamic and then some. We enter these marriages with such high (and often unrealistic) hopes for an instant family without realizing that not too long ago we were all perfect strangers. I know that for you these three years of marriage have seemed long and trying but, in reality that’s not a lot of time for people who barely knew each other to grow to love one another. Big Poppa and I have been married for 11 years and we are still stuck in a blender.
I would have to admit that the pressures and trials of being in a blended family have almost ended my marriage…more than once. We have sought counseling (family and couples) on and off throughout these 11 years – which is not a bad thing even when all is well. To be honest with you, I don’t think that we have done a very good job of effectively becoming one family. In many ways we still operate like three separate families – his, mine and ours. Each of us is still very tender about the subject of our children and it has become a topic that we really don’t discuss much. Awkward? Yes. Survival technique? Definitely. I don’t advise this approach, I’m just being honest.
Our saving grace has been our love for God and each other. Ultimately, we are committed to our vows and each other. Not to mention that Big Poppa and I are the best of friends. There have been moments that we have lost sight of this, but that has been what’s always brought us back to try to talk things out or at least find a comfortable place to call a truce. It’s so easy to find fault with the other person and their children and fail to see where we missed the mark. On the other hand, you both need to firmly believe that nothing the other person is doing is with malicious intent or trying to cause harm. Yes, we are there to provide protection for our children, but we are also there to provide protection and support for our spouse. It all starts with trust and commitment.
V, raising a family is hard and a blended family is even harder. There’s no easy way to say it. I wish that I had advice that could help you or somehow make it easier, but I don’t. I can tell you that I feel you, girl. I’ve been there and it’s hard, and it’s exhausting and it’s painful. You’re husband is not going to understand everything that you’re feeling and you’re not going to understand him completely either. His kids may reject you and your kids may reject him, but don’t reject each other. Please don’t do that. Hold on to one another and eventually you will all get to a comfortable place. Some couples therapy wouldn’t hurt either.
Take good care,