Dec 9, 2019
Remarriage and a Blended Family
Finding the Right Partner
After going out casually with several great people, I met someone who particularly caught my attention – someone who was learning, as I was, how to love herself in an appropriate way. Someone who was ready for a healthy relationship, someone who had learned from life and was better able to love, someone who was ready to connect with another person as part of the further journey of life.
That part was magical.
Building a relationship with my kids and her kids.
But, a hidden challenge awaited. Each of us had three kids. Blending families is a major issue about which we knew very little. In our situation, the kids were older. Each of us had one child who was already in their college years and therefore establishing independence. We each also had two children still at home, all in, or approaching, their teenage years.
We set out to introduce our kids to each other in a gradual, and hopefully comfortable, manner. When our own relationship had developed to a certain point, we took her two teenage daughters to dinner and to a movie – a movie they wanted to see. It was a simple interaction that allowed them to meet me in a low-key way. There were no deep conversations or breakthrough moments, but only a chance to meet and spend a few hours together. After that initial meeting, we found ways for the four of us to do things together as part of our life routine. Similarly, she met my two boys at a local pizza restaurant that my boys enjoyed. It was a simple meal with introductory conversation, and little pressure. After that, we found ways for the four of us to interact on a regular basis.
Only after we had developed a comfort level with these interactions did we plan a larger event where her kids and my kids could meet each other. That was more awkward and took a little more effort by everyone involved. But we all persevered and kept finding ways to interact together thereafter.
Being flexible with our household
We have now been married for over six months. Some days, it is just my wife and I at home together. Other days, my boys are with us, or her girls are with us, or all six of us are together, or on the rare occasion our older children are around too. Each arrangement gives rise to a different dynamic in our home. We are constantly adjusting depending on who is with us that day. Yet we have learned to experience it as a wonderful venture for us as a newly emerging family.
There have not been many magic moments when our teenage kids have suddenly bonded into one great big happy family. Yet they get along and respect each other. They just tend to stay in their own lanes – to keep their own previous lives intact as they get to know each other. Which, we have learned, is just fine.
My wife and I never planned to be blending our families. None of our six kids ever envisioned doing that. While it is not what any of us planned, like so many things that come out of aftermath of divorce, it can open up a new world of learning, adventure, and connection.