Dear Stepmom sister, listen in as I share some encouragement and help on the journey. You are not alone and do not believe the lie that you will always feel overwhelmed. I'm here to share real tools and truth that will help you begin to break the chains of being so negatively impacted by another's words and actions.
Are you struggling in your marriage? Do you feel alone? Not heard? Are you both great communicators at work and/or with others yet feel you struggle to communicate effectively with one another? Do you feel if you bring something difficult to your spouse they will pull their love away?
You are NOT alone!
It's important to recognize that while you are a couple you are also two individuals. In a traditional family, if mom or dad don't agree - it often works it's way out and there is a balance in a healthy relationship.
With a stepfamily, dynamics greatly impact both the husband and wife and while they seek to be on the same page often complexities of stepfamily living add a page or rip one out of the playbook and the couple is wise to separate their frustration with the other from their commitment to each other.
If you are going through a difficult season, be intentional to communicate your love and commitment WHILE you are working out your frustration.
In a healthy relationship, a spouse does not fear being abandoned or rejected by the one they offended or frustrated. If you are the spouse who has been hurt and offended, communicate that to your spouse but don't recoil or retaliate. Be intentional to say I love you and I am committed to you but I am frustrated and I need time to process. Look at each other through the eyes of love and grace and remember that your spouse is NOT your enemy.*
You can grow stronger through conflict. Conflict often takes the "cover" off of unresolved wounds or hurts from the past and this is especially true in a remarriage with kids.
Be intentional to remind yourself of the difference between what you are responsible FOR and what you are responsible TO. For instance, you are not responsible for your spouse's emotions you are responsible to be respectful towards your spouse in conflict and in "easy" seasons.
If you have more questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in having me (and my spouse Andrew), please reach out. We love equipping others with tools and encouragement to thrive in their marriage.
(*Please note if you are physically not safe or infidelity is involved - seek safety and set boundaries to work on your relationship. Both parties will need counseling to work on themselves individually before working on the marriage.)
You love your family and you spend time reading resources and learning how to navigate this blended journey. You gain tools and put them to use and they work for a short time but gradually, or not so gradually, that frustration and hurt creeps back in and consumes your thoughts.
Are you ready to let hurt and frustration go? Do you long to deal with frustrations and challenges that come your way instead of allowing them to "deal" with you and/or your marriage?
You wouldn't build your home on quicksand. You don't put clean clothes on after running through the mud. These are no brainers. You want AND need a strong foundation if you want to build something that will last.
If you truly want to transform how you experience life in your family -- you need to first understand the CORE of who you are. What are the beliefs, attitudes and values that define you? What about the life you live is not in sync with the beliefs, values and attitudes you hold?
I'm excited to share with you our E-Course: CORE WORKOUT: Uncover your beliefs, values and attitudes.
This course will help you
An anchor keeps a ship steady in a storm. Your core beliefs, values and attitudes anchor you in life. They tell you what is important. They guide your decision making. They impact how you experience other people and situations.
When our core system is challenged -- we feel it and we often fight to get back in sync.
Because I feel so strongly about the value in understanding who YOU are in order to understand why things bother you and not your spouse, I'm offering a FREE code to take this course. Enter CORE2021 when purchasing the course and you will get if for FREE.
Would love to hear your comments both on this post and on the course! Our coaching clients find this course super helpful and I believe you will too! - Heather
When the Other Parent is M.I.A.
Many people believe life is easier in a stepfamily when the "other" parent isn't involved. That's simply not true. What happens in the other home, does end up in your home. So when the other home is absent -- that void is felt in your home and it often shows in the broken heart of the child missing their parent.
What is the impact on a child who is wrestling with the truth that their other parent is not active in their lives? What is the impact on the remarriage and on the other set of kids in the home when one parent is M.I.A.? What can a couple do to navigate the loss and work with the child who is missing the other parent?
Listen in as Andy and Heather talk with Ron L Deal on the FamilyLife Blended podcast regarding what to do when a parent who is missing in action. Our Learning2Step founders share their struggles and learnings to help other couples gain tools and know they are not alone on this journey.
Full-time stepparents don't have it easier. They have it different. - Heather
Make Time to Laugh with Your Spouse
When struggles are plentiful in your stepfamily, laughter can become a casualty. The stresses of life suck the fun and laughter out of a marriage and out of a home — if we let it.
Laughter is good medicine for our souls. We connect when we laugh together and enjoy each other’s company.
My husband and I have learned that we have to be mindful to keep fun and laughter in our home. When we are dealing with some tough issues — we have a funny movie night. We laugh. Share popcorn. Laugh some more.
Our struggles don’t disappear because we watch a movie and laugh but our hearts are lighter. We’ve spent some time connecting and that’s good stuff for any couple.
Sometimes we just NEED A BREAK from the hard stuff. We can get so easily wrapped up in the details of the day that we can feel overwhelmed and then transfer the negative feelings onto our spouse and our marriage.
Moments of laughter won’t erase your hard times but they will build into your marriage and give you reprieve from allowing the trials to consume you. Make time to laugh together.
Heather is a writer, professional speaker and JOY seeker with a Bachelor of Arts from Miami University and a Masters Degree from Cleveland State University. She is the author of two books for stepmoms and a monthly contributor to StepMom Magazine. She also writes for The Huffington Post and various online magazines. She began CafeSmom.com in 2009 to bring resources and encouragement to stepmoms and launched Learning2Step with her husband, Andy. Heather shares some articles and blog posts here. To learn more, contact her at Heather@Learning2Step.com