The Blended Tribe

Three Simple Ways To Put Your Spouse First

 

remarried
Jon & I

Who comes first in a blended family? Your spouse always comes first right?! Spouse before kids can get a little tricky after getting remarried. Parents have a lot of guilt when it comes to their kids and having gone through a divorce. For some period after your divorce, it’s just you and your kids; your kids move to your top priority.  You then bring another person into the mix, and sometimes they bring kids with them…..things can get complicated, and the kids that were once number one are supposed to be number two.  Doesn’t seem like an uncomplicated task right? HA!  Children are a temporary assignment, but your spouse is supposed to be with you a lifetime.

spouse first
Spouse is number one

Spouse is number one!
Marriage first has taken some getting used to for us. The first year was a learning period where we were trying to help the kids adjust the best way possible along with us getting used to this new family we created. Going into year two we slowly figured out that to make this entire thing work, Jon and I need to be number one in each other’s lives. Forget the guilt, forget the kids thinking it’s unfair, forget the negative comments from the kids. This thought was a little foreign to both of us, so we started off slowly, and it seems to get better and better each day.

Here’s what we started doing to put our marriage first:

1. Check in with each other before making big decisions when it comes to the kids. Whether it’s my kids or his, we connect first to make sure we’re on the same page or to discuss why we aren’t on the same page.
2. We try to take a walk each evening just the two of us and connect on our day and what’s going on without the nosey kids listening in or interrupting. The kids will ask to go, and we tell them NO!! If we have to do a separate walk with them we will, but they are coming to terms with this is our daily time to connect, and we need that time. Our walk time has been one of the most beneficial things we started doing. Getting the fresh air and getting away for a brief moment, does a world of good for us.
3. Pray together!! If you’re religious, take the time to pray with your spouse. It takes you to a deeper level with your partner and with God, it’s called spiritual intimacy. I can’t stress this enough. We pray every night together and just started praying in the morning as well. It’s awkward at first, but fight through it, it’s so worth it!

Doing little things in your marriage like these will be a good start in putting your spouse first. These tips apply to all married couples, not just remarried couples in a blended family. The best example you can give your kids is showing them a loving, caring, union between you and your spouse. It gives them security, and it shows them the way that they are supposed to treat their partner when they are older and what they should expect in return.
Also, you don’t have to be perfect in front of your kids. You can argue and disagree in front of them, but make sure you are showing them the proper way to handle the situation and that it’s ok to disagree and still love one another, it’s a good thing for them to witness this as well.

♥ The Blended Tribe


**photo credit: www.weddedfilms.com

Meet Mr. & Mrs. P

•How did you two meet and how long have you been married?
We were matched on eharmony but didn’t want to pay so found him on Facebook and became friends. We lived 2 hours apart but had long daily phone conversations and met up about once a week. We started dating in February and married in October. We’ve been married a little over three months.

•How long did you date before getting married?
About eight months but it was more purposeful than dating- it was like premarital counseling that whole time, ha!

•How old are each of the children that you brought into the marriage?
One boy is 3, and one is 8

the boys
The Boys

•Did you become an instant family?
Not really, more like roommates who (mostly) enjoy each other. The boys both started out (when we were dating) really wanting a sibling and after moving in together weren’t as excited. We have to know when and how to give each individual space.

•What does discipline look like in your home?
We try to allow the older to be disciplined mainly by dad in order for him to grow a relationship with stepmom. The younger, not having had a dad around, is disciplined by both to set clear authority guidelines for him as a toddler.

•Biggest blessing in having a blended family?
I think both boys are now able to learn what it’s like to share life with others, versus the kid world revolving around them alone before. We all benefit from learning to appreciate and cooperate with different personalities.

•The biggest challenge in having a blended family?
I think while you need to be building strength and unity as a couple, the needs of the kids often emerge and take center stage. So it’s a balancing act. Making sure the kid’s needs are addressed while also prioritizing the marriage and keeping that bond strong.

•What does Co-parenting look like for you?
In my case, I got sole custody, so I don’t co-parent. In my husband’s case, they share 50/50, and I support that process by providing rides, etc. I’m cooperative and cordial with his ex but leave most of the logistics to him/her.

•Any tips you can give other blended families?
I’d say to take advantage of resources like Weekend to Remember and Family Life Blended and their materials and conferences. We make going to church, family prayer and bible time a unifying experience. And we look for ways to put our marriage first to model for the kids what a healthy one should be. They feel loved and secure when our marriage is important.

Blended Wedding
Blended wedding

•Anything else you want us to know about your family?
We both had to understand and sort through the effects of having past marriages with narcissistic abuse. It impacted everything as far as guilt over divorce, lingering triggers related to anxiety and PTSD, and being able to date someone new in a healthy way. If anyone is trying to understand what happens in a toxic marriage and heal, I recommend The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick and Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft. If divorcing and dealing with custody with a high conflict individual, I highly recommend the book Splitting on divorcing narcissistic or borderline people, and pretty much any resource by Tina Swithin and One Mom’s Battle. I know for me, I had to come to a full understanding of what my past marriage had broken and warped in me before I could love again. Now I’m passionate about helping others understand abuse, raise healthy children despite it, and avoiding toxic relationships or dealing with disordered individuals the best ways possible. It impacts way more marriages and families than people even know.
I’m so grateful now to know what it is to have an actual partner in life and have this fresh chance to model that cooperation and sacrificial love for our kids.


→ Thank you, Mrs. P. for taking the time to share with us.  Your family is adorable and you are an inspiration, my friend!                                    ♥ The Blended Tribe

New Year, New Menu.

My friend (you know who you are) gave me the idea of sticking to a weekly menu. So, for an entire month, we are going to make the same meal on the designated day each week. For example, every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, and every Wednesday is pasta night. She was explaining that this will cut out the hassle of menu planning each week and it saves money. We are giving this one a try for these main reasons: I don’t have to figure out a weekly menu and shop for it, the food is the same for the entire month….easy! Also, the kids have been begging us to let them cook more. Cooking this way is the perfect opportunity for them to make a meal four weeks in a row and actually learn how to make the meal instead of cooking it once and forgetting. They should be pros by the fourth time making it.
The kids aren’t thrilled about this idea at all, but I’m excited to give this a try and see how it works for us.

 We’ve been putting them to work!

Here are some photos of them in action

kids in the kitchen
camp cooking

teaching kids to cook

 

WEEK 1 UPDATE: We got through a full week of trying this out, and it was AMAZING!! Takes all the thought out of what’s for dinner tonight and made things ridiculously easy for all of us, now on to week 2.

 

 

Holiday Blending

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Tis the season to be jolly right?!? Not for all families! The Holiday’s can be extremely tough on blended families.

Here are some tips to get you through the Holidays:

1) Plan ahead. You know when you do and don’t have your kids. Make sure that you plan the month out and be organized and prepared.

2) Be flexible. Although you need to plan out your month according to your parenting agreement, some things just aren’t going to be at your scheduled time with the kids; this goes both ways. Try to be as flexible as possible with the kid’s other parents without messing up your schedule. Everyone has important activities that they want to do during the Holidays so keep an open mind to that.

3) Have a good attitude. Stay positive and don’t let drama get you down or ruin your mood. Focus on your family and the true meaning of Christmas.

4) Make new traditions. It’s fun to make new traditions that your blended family will come to know and appreciate. Get creative and even if some of the kids “act” like they aren’t into it, they will probably be the first ones asking to do it the next year. At least that’s what usually happens around here. Along with making new traditions make sure you respect any existing traditions that are important to the kids or your spouse.

5) Be sensitive. Realize that the kids have a lot of non-stop activity going on during this time of year. Parent’s trying to cram traditions and activities in half the time with their kids. The kids might be a little worn down and overstimulated. Try to have extra patience and understanding during this time.

 

Blended Family

 

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Forgive & Move On

“Forgiveness doesn’t make them right, it makes us free.”

Forgive and move on

The quicker you can let yourself get to the point of letting go, the better off you’ll be.  It took me a bit and my biggest problem was thinking that by forgiving it meant that I was condoning or that I had given in.  Nope, not true!  It’s the most freeing thing in this world.

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