How can you succeed without a glimmer of hope that your marriage will be enjoyable and fulfilling? I propose that having fun in your marriage has to be just as conscious a choice in the early stages of stepfamily development as the discussions about money. ( Read more )
Space that’s all her own. Money she can do with as she pleases. Time to hang out with friends or spend as she sees fit. Freedom to come and go without having to make plans with a babysitter, husband, former in-law, or ex-wife. The negativity surrounding a new remarriage doesn’t help you get off the ground with the same buoyancy of a first marriage. ( Read more )
I knew I couldn’t begrudge him his duty as a father, and I also knew we would reschedule our lunch for another day. But it’s easy to see that if I hadn’t felt that my husband valued me, I would have felt jealous and angry that our plans to spend time together were interrupted. ( Read more )
In a partnership, each member has to feel equal. But in a stepfamily, the primary partnership has so many strings attached that one partner sometimes gets pulled off to one side, leaving the other feeling vulnerable and betrayed. My father, Ron, remembers how his wife, my stepmother, Nancy, struggled as a formerly single woman with three new stepchildren when her fantasies of her new life met the reality of day-to-day life. ( Read more )
Learning how to live in partnership with another human being is an exercise in humility and personal growth. When there are children involved, the temptation is to put the kids before all else, including your marriage.
But the trouble with that model is that the couple relationship, which is the most fragile bond of the entire stepfamily structure, is destroyed when it’s sacrificed repeatedly for anyone else, whether kids, in-laws, or colleagues. That man is the reason you’re in this stepfamily, and your relationship with him has to be strong. ( Read more )
They were a marker for me, a signpost announcing that I now lived with someone else who would influence my physical and emotional space. Learning to do the dance of partnership is a lifelong endeavor.
The good news is, there are tools to help us learn how to be married. Within the last decade, a marriage education movement has picked up steam in this country to combat divorce rates, which, though they have begun to decline in the last few years as more people choose to cohabitate instead of marry, still hover around 50 percent for first marriages and 60 to 70 percent for remarriages. ( Read more )