“Is the Heartache of Stepparenting Worth It?”

I saw a question posed on Twitter recently that I began to ponder: “I often wonder, is the heartache of stepparenting worth it?”

I assume it’s a new stepmom who’s questioning what she’s walked into. I’ve been there, haven’t you?

How would you answer her question? Perhaps it depends on what kind of interaction you recently had with your stepchild.

Some days, it doesn’t seem like it, does it? Other days, maybe?

At the heart of the stepparenting relationship lies a love for another person who drew all the parties together – your spouse. So, if you’re asking if the heartache of stepparenting is worth it, you’re asking, “How important is my marriage?”

Step-couple marriage is hard. I know. I’ve written about it repeatedly in this blog. But if you’re married, you must have believed enough in the marital relationship to take a chance on the stepparenting relationship.

Sometimes I wonder why we think life should be easy. If we never experienced pain or heartache, we wouldn’t know to appreciate the good days.  If we never saw rain, we wouldn’t appreciate sunshine.

When you walk through the challenges of stepparenting, and get to the other side, you cherish the place you arrive at. It won’t be perfect, but it will have meaning. The marital bonds will be strong because they’ve withstood the pressure of trials. The stepparent/stepchild relationships will be special because they’ve persisted through good times and bad. The stepfamily as a unit will be a safe place  – a place of peace and comfort for those who have walked the journey together.

Is it worth is? Yes!

Does it come with a price? Yes…

You know the price, don’t you? Heartache. Pain. Doubt. Confusion. The list could go on and on.

So when do you get to the rewards? Unfortunately, there are no pat answers to some of those rewards. The stepparent and stepfamily rewards I mentioned may not come as soon as you want. They may take many more years than you’d hoped. But–the reward of strong marital bonds can happen today.

You see, the beauty of stepfamily life is it offers a bond in marriage you may have never had. The challenges of stepparenting can bind a marriage closer through constant communication, learning to manage conflict effectively, practicing a united front as a parental unit, and other team building interactions.

The beauty of a strong marriage can outweigh the heartache of stepparenting. It can make the heartache worth it.

But it requires work. It requires intentional effort. It requires two people making a commitment to a marriage that will go the distance, even when there’s pain.

Are you up for the challenge? I hope so.

Because some day… your stepchildren will leave home. And you’ll have the rest of your life to enjoy with your spouse…if you didn’t quit.

How do you answer that question? Is the heartache of stepparenting worth it?

Related Posts:

Are You Willing to Go the Distance as a Stepparent?

As a Stepparent, You’re an Olympic Champion!

Learning How to Love My Stepchildren

4 Responses to ““Is the Heartache of Stepparenting Worth It?””

  1. 1 Sharon October 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    This question passes through my head often. Thankfully, there are enough blessings in my marriage and with new children that I don’t let that thought linger. Still, step parenting is hard. Sometimes the thought is phrased more like couldn’t we just give up on THESE kids? I know its not fair and I am not suggesting it’s right. There is little in life that is as difficult as step parenting has been for me, and my life has never been a rose strewn path by any means. Actually I think it would be easier if we had my step kids with us 100% of the time, as opposed to 50-50. The 50-50 split creates such chaos and disorder and allows a lot of manipulation and ugly behavior to arise. Step parenting is hard. Period. It’s almost always consequence of divorce, after all. But sometimes under certain circumstances, it sure does feel like (even if just for a moment) that it may not be worth it. My marriage is worth it though.

  2. 3 Sarah October 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I keep learning how important it is to maintain a sense of the big picture and not get my boat rocked by things that happen on a given day. Being a blended family–and part of that for me is being a stepmom–is often rewarding and also challenging. I do think it si worth it, because it presents me with an opportunity to give love unconditionally. What better task is there in life?

  3. 4 Step Parenting with Grace October 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    You have a great perspective Sarah – it is so important to keep the big picture in mind and not focus on the day-to-day things that can send you reeling. God bless you on your stepmom journey. Thank you for your comment.

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