Warning: Marrying into a stepfamily can cause: ankle-biting, door-slamming, splitting headaches, temporary amnesia, high blood pressure, toothaches, sore throat (from excessive screaming at the kids), temporary paralysis, sex deprivation, and tooth-grinding, to say the least.
We all know that being in a step family is a challenge. One that most of us could not have expected. As I have shared, me and my husband were together for years before we decided to get married, and even bought a home together before the big day. The act of marrying still changed the dynamics and brought on challenges that most do not anticipate. Why does marriage change things? Is it because the children are cruel? The exes are evil? Your new spouse is a fool? And that they are all joining forces to prevent you from having any joy in your life? No, at least most likely not. Marriage changes things because it brings a finality to the previous family structure, for one. Any fantasies that kids might have had of their parents getting back together are thrown out the window, and the new spouse is the reason why. Marriage also means an official change in title that may bring about competitions with the ex that you have no desire to be a part of.
There is one thing, however, that can make the bad days bearable, and the good days wonderful. What I am talking about is making sure that you marry the right person to begin with. I married the right man, at the right time for us, and for the right reasons. I married for love, and a knowledge that we both complimented each other. He makes me laugh all the time, and makes me want to be a better person, and I do the same for him. It was critical that we have a strong relationship that was able to weather all the changes that seemed to take place over night once we did get married.
Ask yourself - did you marry the right person? Are they ready for a/another marriage? What is it that I need(ed) from this marriage? Am I getting it? Carve out 30 minutes to answer these questions. If you have found that step family life has left you ready to run away from your home, you may want to start with the most important questions of all - is it the right relationship to lead the family to begin with.
Before I leave you, I'm so glad to share that my book, Stepfamily Diaries, will be out next month (November). It shares so many more stories from our crazy step family, and the solutions we employed to make a change for the better. Look for my new book, Stepfamily Diaries, and more great resources in the weeks to come.
Best to all,
A. S. Noraford
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