Co-Parenting, Love, Marriage

5 Pre-Marital Tips to Winning the Blended Marriage Game of Life

You’ve been a part of his daughter’s life for some time now, as well as he with your son. There have been tribulations and triumphs, but you both cannot see a future without each other. The day finally comes and he surprises you with the question you’ve been yearning for him to ask. And you answer, “Yes!” Now what?
My advice would be to seek pre-marital counseling from someone (or a couple) who is an expert in blended-family marriages. As part of one myself, I recognize that my marriage has unique challenges and circumstances that other marriages won’t encounter (keeping in mind that people typically seek counseling when something goes wrong or possibilities have been exhausted and coaching to be proactive in keeping the marriage strong). So, seeking guidance from a counselor or blended marriage coach who can relate to your experience is crucial to the survival of your marriage. There are several factors that need to be considered before saying, “I do” that should be part of the discussion:
1.) Our Family – You all will now be one big family. There will be no more “my son” or “his daughter”. Your language should shift to “our kids” or “my kids”. There will be an adjustment in treating them equally. Also, this new arrangement will take the children some getting used to, also. Most children secretly hope their parents get back together, especially if their parents were married. Letting them know that you are there to help guide and support them is crucial.
2.) New Household Structure – Everything from the way you discipline and teach respect for both parents to getting your spouse’s support when making decisions involving the children needs to support how well you function as a blended family. When devising the law of the house together, lay the law down together with all the children present so there is no ambiguity in expectations, rewards and consequences. They may not like the decisions, but need to respect them. And when it comes to discipline methods, get on one accord before marriage. As my husband and I state in our interview, we’ve been physically disciplined growing up, but chose to parent with a different set of guidance. That does not mean we did not resolve to that method, but it definitely was not the primary resolution. The circumstances determine the best method of disciplining your kids, even if you need to discuss the consequences together. This is all in love and support as a parent in successfully raising children into adults. And resist temptation in taking sides with your biological child. He needs to understand the new family structure of both you and the step-father as being the authority figures.
3.) Finances – This is always a huge topic for any marriage, but blended ones have other factors to consider. Before parents join in a blended union, their money is allocated to provide for the needs of others besides themselves….their kids. So, there needs to be careful thought of how combining incomes will now provide for a bigger family, especially when child support is a factor. Other elements to consider are getting a home together or moving into either’s existing one (adding that person’s name on the lease/mortgage), where the children will attend school, or the distance between him and his biological child, if he is the non-custodial parent.
4.) Submitting to a New Authority – Now those who are spiritual believe in the principle that GOD covers the husband, the husband covers the wife, and the wife covers the children. If you are a single mom, then making this pivotal change in your mindset is going to take some getting used to. You are accustomed to managing the affairs of a household and making executive decisions by yourself.  Now, you are about to enter into a covenant in which you will be partnering with someone else and trusting their leadership to direct your family.
5.) Unbound the Ex – Your child’s father and the mother of your step-children are not part of the marriage. You are not bound to him and your soon-to-be husband is not bound to his child’s mother. The only obligation is the children. This is actually a topic that I coach very often, including with my husband since there were challenges that arose with his ex-wife as it related to the children (and it has helped! See the link below for our interview). Therefore, the exes should not play a direct or indirect part of your marriage and you have to separate the emotion from the situation. You both should be able to handle situations with them respectively without the other partner needing to get involved, even if that includes from a legal standpoint (i.e. establishing visitation rights). And if everyone got along euphorically, then that would work best, especially for the children. Realistically, most blended couples do not have those types of relationships with their exes. So putting it candidly, your union must be respected….period.
For more tips on blended-family dynamics, watch videos 1, 2, 3, and 4 from our interview about Navigating Blended Family Dynamics on WVON 1690AM or schedule a Strategy Session for me to support you with creating your blended-family blueprint towards living a healthy marriage.
Hey, don’t forget to sign up to receive your FREE “3 Powerful Secrets to Thriving as a Successful Mom Blueprint“!!

Image by Jonathan Daniels

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