What stepfamily myths did you believe before you married? Maybe you’re still believing them and wondering why you’re not happy in your re-marriage.
Our stepfamily group is reading through Ron Deal’s book, “The Smart Stepfamily.” This week we’re looking at some important stepfamily myths from Deal’s book that disillusion us if we believe them. Here’s a few to consider:
1. Love will happen instantly between all family members.
Do you think so? Has it happened? When we were having a difficult time with our kids during our dating period, my husband would say, “We’ll just love ’em through it.” Uh-oh. That doesn’t always work, does it? Deal says, ‘”Love in the sense of ‘love your neighbor’ is attainable; love in the sense of deep family bonds may or may not be achieved.”‘
2. We’ll do it better this time around.
If you’ve been married before, it’s easy to think you have it figured out and this time it will be easier. But if kids are involved, it won’t be easy. Don’t compare this marriage to another one. Accept the good and the bad and live in the reality of your current marriage, recognizing it too will have challenges.
3. Everything will fall quickly in place.
Really? Has that happened? My guess is No. Deal says, “The stepping-stone of patience is critical to stepfamily development. Becoming disillusioned with how your family is progressing is an almost universal experience, because progress never happens on your timetable. Remember, the average stepfamily takes seven years to integrate.”
4. Our children will feel as happy about the remarriage as we do.
If you have attended many re-marriage weddings, it’s easy to find children who are not happy about their parent’s new marriage. Stepfamily experts say kids are often a year behind the adults in accepting and progressing with a new family. It’s easy to find parents rushing their kids to catch up with where they are emotionally. Deal says, “What a blow it is for parents to realize that remarriage is a gain for them, but another loss to their children.” Remember, time is your friend.
5. Blending is the goal of this stepfamily.
We call ourselves blended families because we are combining people from two families into one. But if you think about what happens when you put ingredients into a blender, that isn’t what you want to take place in your family. Deal says, “More realistic is a process by which the various parts integrate, or come into contact with one another, much like a casserole of distinct parts. For example, biological parents and children will always have a stronger bond than stepparents and stepchildren, even if all goes well. This is not to say that different members of a stepfamily cannot be close. Many will develop deep emotional bonds, but there will always be a qualitative difference.”
Have you been disappointed by stepfamily myths? Are there others you have believed that didn’t come true? I would love to hear about them.