It’s National Step-Family Day! Let’s talk about how to have a healthy marriage in a blended family.

9 Tips for a Healthy Marriage in a Blended Family

Blended families come with a unique set of complexities that don’t exist in intact families. However, you don’t have to let these challenges hinder your marriage. Here are nine helpful nuggets of advice for you to read, glean, and use.

1. It takes time.

Bringing two families together is a long-distance run, not a sprint. Research suggests that it takes at least five years for everyone to adjust. It will take time, so pace yourself.

2. Prepare for relationship changes.

Once you become the step-parent, the relationship with your spouse’s kid(s) will likely get strained. Roles change, and parents of blended families question their level of discipline. This strain can create challenges in marriage. Keep the lines of communication open and extend much grace for one another.

3. Write down your shared list of values as a blended family.

If you feel like you’re struggling in your blended family, create a list of shared values. Then, identify your top three. Match those values to everyday actions as an individual, a couple, and as a family.

4. Establish household rules.

The shared values list is the foundation to build the household rules. This step is important. In your family of origin, your life unfolds, and you roll with it. You don’t have that luxury in blended families. You don’t have a history of their childhood. There isn’t time to build relationships slowly. Here are some ideas for setting rules and boundaries in your blended family.

5. Understand that you will see your spouse differently.

You’ll see each other through different lenses once blended. Men often feel their new wife is stricter than they imagined. And the new wife feels like she needs to compensate for dad’s relaxed style of discipline. Both begin a dynamic of stress in the blended family marriage. Solve this challenge by talking about your parenting style in the previous marriage, and how you want to parent together as a blended family.

6. Make schedules.

Like it or not, blended families run on schedules. You’ve added many moving parts to the equation. Create a schedule. Don’t leave out alone time together. That’s crucial to the relationship.

7. Deal with the ex.

Do you want a healthy marriage in a blended family? Then you have to find a way to deal with your spouse’s ex and manage any negative feelings. Communicate consistently, even if they communicate poorly. Be diligent about not speaking negatively about your spouse’s ex. It sets a bad example for your kids and weakens the marriage.

8. Avoid comparison.

Whether it be gifts, vacations, and everything in between, avoid comparison and keeping up with your ex. It’s always a losing battle. Kids with divorced parents will often see one parent as more wealthy or relaxed, and the other as stricter. That’s a divide. Your values will come into play here. If your top value is accountability, remain accountable to your words and actions.

9. Maintain traditions from your original family.

Maintaining traditions respects and honors the lives you lived before you blended.

Want to read more topics? Check out our other articles here.

The Eagle Family Ministries team is dedicated to helping couples learn and apply Biblical principles for a successful marriage and family. We offer fun marriage retreats, plan marriage conferences at your location, premarital counseling, and relationship coaching. Let us know how we can help you.

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