I understand you are not in an easy position. I understand that, if things were different, you would have hoped your first family, your biologic family, was intact and not broken. But sometimes we can not mend the wounds or close the distance and a restart is needed.
I’m here to tell you I honor you for the dedication you have to your children. Life did not go the way you planned and now you are dating again, engaged, remarried, and maybe had another baby or expecting one. Whatever the circumstances that have brought you to this place I wanted to share some tips on how to create more harmony in your blended family. I’ll give you a hint…it begins with you and your partner.
Your partner may put on a strong face, but know that she needs you. She has to be a strong woman to choose to be in a dynamic that includes you, plus children, plus an ex. She is looking to feel a connection with you that is consistent, meaning it doesn’t falter when the children come into your home. So many times I hear the roller coaster of emotions from women who feel like a queen in their home to then feel cast aside when children arrive.
Everything is a delicate dance and it is important to your relationship that your foundation is strong and supportive to one another. It starts and ends with the both of you. It is up to you to create an environment and foster an open, loving environment. I know, it’s a lot for you, but if you create the foundation and work together with your partner to maintain this it will be a major benefit to your relationship, and consequently the blended family.
Remember the two of you didn’t get the chance to date and experience one another without children. There is no easing into things. It’s an instant family and you may feel a completeness to the dynamic long before she does, especially if she hasn’t been married before.
Here are some tools to help you stay connected and strong in your foundation:
1. Love language. There is a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Take the test together and find out what your love languages are. You will find that it will be easier to relate to one another with this new found information. You will be able to speak to the parts of one another in a new, positively focused way.
2. Listen. This may be the most important tool you have in your tool belt. She needs to feel that you hear her. A woman who feels she is heard will go to the end of the earth for you. You will see her blossom like a flower right before your eyes.
3. Communication. Having open discussions will build trust between you, especially the tough and potentially contentious subjects. Women are very intuitive and have an ability to zero in on details. It is better to acknowledge her, instead of dismissing even if you don’t have the energy to talk. This will build the trust and solid foundation to flourish in the years to come.
4. Safety. She wants to feel safe and protected by you. You are her man. You are her anchor, the reason she’s there. If she doesn’t feel safe you will likely experience more conflict and upset. Vulnerability is necessary here.
5. Action. Follow through on your words with action. As simple or as non-significant it may seem to you I can assure you she feels differently. Instead of avoiding doing something because you think you may risk upsetting her, do it anyway. The benefits far outweigh the risks by being up front and giving more details than you think are necessary. You are thinking things while she is feeling things. Meet her at the feeling place.
No matter where you are at in the stage of your relationship, things can improve. With patience, forgiveness, and a focus on your love you may experience a renewed outlook and energy to transform with the changes that inevitably happen in life. I wish you peace always and in all ways.
Chrysta is a Certified Stepfamily Coach, a stepmother of two and a mother of one infant. Her approach is holistic, supported by certifications as a health and Ayurvedic wellness coach and yoga instructor. She enjoys music, writing, hiking, healthy food, wine, and travel. She lives with her family in Los Angeles. Connect with Chrysta at instantblendedfamily.com.