It’s good to ask, “What can I expect when my partner and I marry and we blend our two families together?”
When blending two families together expect there will be an adjustment period for everyone in the family.
This adjustment period will likely take about 3-4 years before the family will establish a new family structure that works. Through the adjustment new roles in the family must be set and this will likely result in conflict and arguments. For example one child is used to being the oldest in the household and now he has a half-sibling that is a couple years older. It will take them awhile to figure out the “peaking order” for the house again. The family is not only adjusting to the remarriage but also to the whole process of a pervious divorce or separation, one-parent family set-up, the parent dating a new partner, and finally the adjustment to the remarriage. The issues left unresolved for the children or parents will likely show back up as the parents move towards remarriage. For example a child who seemed fine with the new partner is now acting out with their step-parent due to having to put to rest the hope their biological parents would get back together. Here is a quick glance at how to plan for blending two families together. These things can help with the adjustment period.
When remarrying it is important to:
- Ease into the family being together: Set aside time for the whole family to spend time with each other gradually such as starting with going to a movie together and then working up to having dinner at the house before the marriage happens.
- Be a step-friend before a step-parent: The children will likely push back against a step-parent jumping into a disciple and ruling setting role before getting to know them and liking them as a person; so focus on becoming your step-child’s friend first and gradually easing into the role as step-parent.
- Acknowledge relationships outside of the blended family while building relationships inside the blended family: The children will likely still have relationships with their other parent and/or the parents extended family and each partner will likely have a co-parenting relationship with their ex-spouse/partner so it is important to acknowledge and honor those relationships. In most cases the building of relationships inside the blended family will not start or be diminished if those relationships outside of the blended family are not honored and respected.
Written by: GROW Staff