6 Questions To Ask Before Blending Your Family

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According to the Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys at least 66% of second marriages fail. The reasons? People don’t deal with and heal personal issues that played a role in the demise of their first marriage before remarrying. And, the pressure of raising stepchildren causes more conflict than the marriage can handle.

I think the reason second marriages fail is closely tied to the same reasons first marriages fail. We carry unrealistic expectations into marriage and we don’t plan ahead for conflict and adversity that may come up.

It is even more important that no one enters a second marriage, especially one where there are children with unreasonable expectations and unresolved emotional issues. Love does not concur all nor is marriage a means to an end.

You have to expect conflict and adversity in a blended family and you have to be on the same page as far as how you will deal with such issues as they arise. In other-words before you attempt to blend a family communicate about the goals and expectations you have for the new blended family.

You must have common ground and be on the same page. Below are six questions you should go over and come to an agreement on before blending your new family

1. What are the house rules and how can you combine what is important to both of you? Let's face it, no two homes are run exactly the same. Before you blend your families sit down, make a list of "house rules" and how you will handle any boundaries are broken. Be on the same page before going into marriage about what is and important as far as how the household will run.

2. How will you enforce the rules that will be well suited to both parenting styles? Discipline in blended families is a complicated issue. When step-children are disciplined you have to take into consideration how ALL parents will feel about it, not just the two step-parents. It is easy to step on the toes of a parent who doesn't live in the household if there isn't a clear understanding, agreed upon by ALL parents from the beginning. 

3. Can you set up a regular time to sit down and discuss, without conflict, any disagreements that come up? Use this time to not only discuss present conflicts but any conflict you think may arise in the future. And, make an agreement beforehand that this is a safe space for both patners to discuss any negative emotions they are experiencing about possible conflict. No blended family issues will be dealt with if you both don't feel safe expressing your concerns. 

4. What things can you do as a family that will help the bonding process? You may be a blended family but you are still a family unit and time should be spent as such. Time enjoying each other’s company. Make a list of regular activities you will engage in together as a family that will strengthen the family. For example, sit down dinner three times a week or, a board game night once a week. 

5. What can you do as a couple that will keep those romantic embers burning? The love you feel for each other is the foundation of your new blended family. If that love isn’t tended to your marriage and blended family suffer.

6. What can you do to make sure everyone’s emotional needs are taken care of? Make the emotional needs of every member of the family a priority. Take care of yourself as an individual and each other. You, as the step-parent are getting what you need...to live together as husband and wife. Stay attuned to the fact that your children aren't as invested emotionally and will take time to adjust. Tune into each other's emotional needs, don't tune out just because your needs are being met.