“I refuse to get on that bandwagon and stay consumed with my stepson’s problems. It’s a tough situation but I don’t want it to ruin every aspect of our lives.”
I recently spoke with a new stepmom who is dealing with some tough issues with her 16-year-old stepson. She recognizes the critical place her stepson is in but refuses to allow the strain of his problems to interfere with her marriage to his dad. I told her I was proud to see her separate the difficult parenting issue from the new marriage she and her new husband are building. It’s not an easy thing to do.
When we’re raising children in a blended family, we often get consumed with the negative issues surrounding the kids and allow it to interfere with our remarriage. It’s crucial for us to be aware of how an unfavorable stepchild situation can bleed over into resentment toward our spouse. If we see that happening, we need to make a conscious choice to separate the parenting issue from our marriage, and talk with our spouse about our feelings.
When I blamed my husband for difficulties with his children in the early years of our remarriage, he would say, “I’m your friend in this marriage, not your enemy. We can work this out together. But we have to be on the same side and I don’t sense you’re on my side.”
He was right. I was allowing my stepparenting struggles to interfere with my feelings toward him and create a strain in our relationship. I’m thankful he didn’t allow me to stay stuck in those feelings.
There will naturally be some overlap between our stepparenting role and our remarriage. But when we let negative feelings toward our stepchildren interefere with our feelings toward our spouse, we need to evaluate the situation and separate the stepparenting struggle from the marriage relationship.
Do you have difficulty separating marital and parenting issues? Does it affect your marriage relationship?