After a divorce and remarriage, blending families is arguably one of the most difficult prospects for many families. So difficult, in fact, some relationship experts recommend waiting to marry until after your children have left the home.
But if you are going to get married, having the right tools is critical to successfully blending two families together. So how do you successfully blend families together after divorce? The Huffington Post addressed this question in a recent post titled, 7 Things We’ve Learned From Our Blended Families.
Steps to blending families after divorce
1. Let relationships build organically
The first suggestion for blending families from the article is to allow each member of your family the time and space to cultivate relationships on their own. Yes, it may be difficult not to try to force people to like each other, but realizing that people will bond together in their own way and time can be freeing. Let go of any guilt you might feel and believe that relationships will follow.
2. Negotiate house rules together
Did you marry someone who was a stickler for bedtime schedules? Maybe you like the house spic and span? Guess what? Compromise may be key to blending families together. Talk about what’s important to you and your new spouse. What rules are you willing to bend?
If you are blending families, rules should be predictable and fair. But they can be negotiated. They also should be agreed upon before they are presented to the kids. With all parents, it is critical to present a united front to the kids. Do not let kids side with one parent or the other and play the parents against each other. You and your new spouse are a team- act like it.
3. Continue to date each other
Nothing is more critical to a successful relationship and blending families than spending time together. This is especially true for a second marriage. It is imperative that you and your new spouse get away from the kids and spend some time together and alone. If money is a problem experts suggest date night doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. Take a walk, cook dinner together or go to the park. Find ways to stay connected.
4. Allow your new marriage to model success
The great thing about a second marriage is it’s the perfect chance for a do-over. Did you make mistakes during your first marriage? Don’t repeat them in your second. Get healthy before starting a new relationship and commit to not repeating those past mistakes that damaged your first marriage.
5. Forgive your ex-spouse
Anger and resentment hurts you a lot more than it does your ex-spouse. Experts suggest finding ways to forgive your spouse and move on is key to successfully blending families. This may mean you need counseling and you might need time. But one of the greatest gifts you can model for your children is forgiveness.
Does this mean you have to be best friends with your ex? No, in fact, you may never like them or their new spouse, but you can be civil and you can choose not to bad mouth them in front of your children.
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