Blending a Family

Man and Woman Standing Alongside With Their Children
So you’ve decided to blend your families. The process of blending families is a complicated and emotional endeavor. Much was written about the dynamics and struggles of consolidating families upon re-marriage. Thus, this brief article focuses only on the importance of building the couple bond throughout the turbulence of blending a family.
Establish and enforce clear boundaries for your marriage
Set boundaries for your marriage; honor them and be consistent. Boundaries provide protection and advice concerning how a couple acts, how you interact with each other, as well as with people outside of the marriage. Boundaries a couple may set for their union may include things such as:
Keeping sensitive and intimate information regarding their partner confidential (ex. We do not discuss marital complaints with family members or ex-spouses)
Accepting responsibility for their unique feelings and not requiring their spouse to feel the same as they do about what
Behaving in a manner that respects their spouse, and also shows self-respect (ex. Name calling isn’t used during arguments).
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Lack of boundaries in a union can be disastrous. If you’re unsure of the condition of bounds in your relationship, give me a call; I’d like to work with you.
Recognize Your relationship with your spouse is different from the relationship with the children
While it’s important to satisfy the needs of the children in the family, strengthening the couple bond is vital. The relationship with your spouse is for the both of you. It’s to love and nurture, to appreciate and value the person they have become, accomplish goals together, and share dreams. The couple relationship is the sharing of personal satisfaction and enjoyment between two adults. Companionship and support, both emotional and bodily, are key in this relationship.
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The practice of dating is something that falls by the wayside after saying”I do”. When mixing a family, dating your spouse becomes even more important. It is an important part of establishing your identity as a married couple, not just parents or step-parents. Additionally, it establishes a culture on your new family, that demonstrates that the marriage relationship is important. Dating your spouse gives an opportunity for your children and stepchildren to witness positive marital behavior. This practice also provides you and your spouse an opportunity to strengthen and maintain your connection. You will need one another’s support when blending the family.
Be careful when getting”well-meaning” information
Friends and family are full of’well meaning’ and unsolicited advice. This advice can sometimes backfire and become meddling, which can be intrusive and damaging. You may even, unwittingly, cause your connection to become the topic of gossip within your social circle, leading to more stress on your marriage. When seeking advice concerning your marriage within a mixed family, talk with someone who will provide you constructive and objective advice, while keeping your private information private. If there’s absolutely no one in your life who will offer this for you, please meet with a licensed counselor. Your connection is worth it.
Check in frequently with your spouse. Communicate!
Be careful to not let offenses to go unaddressed and unresolved. Communication can act as a cleanser in a relationship. It’s possible to build a resilient marriage through healthy, ongoing communication.
When blending a family, difficulties will happen; anticipate them and plan ahead when you can. Before the wedding, talk about financing, discipline, household duties, living arrangements, etc..
Give yourselves credit for the things you are doing well
If you work hard to make time for one another or to enhance the way you communicate with your partner, give yourself credit for all these things. But don’t stop there. Continue reading to learn new skills that will increase the bond you have with your spouse.
Seek professional help if things become too muddy
Sometimes we’re too involved in our own situation to see things clearly. Meeting with a licensed counselor can help by providing an unbiased view of your situation. A counselor can help you and your spouse discover tools to strengthen your bond, while consolidating your loved ones.

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