Over 75% of remarriages now end in divorce. That is a stunning fact. Let’s face it, the pressures associated with being in a blended family can lead even the strongest couples down the wrong path. How about you? Are you feeling gloomy about your remarriage? Do you feel like you are falling “out” of love with your spouse?
Clients ask me questions related to the above all of the time. The fact remains that you don’t just fall “out” of love by chance. Not focusing on solutions to problems as they arise causes friction, which if ignored causes tremors, which if still ignored causes earthquakes. It’s a simple trickle-down effect. Instead of addressing feelings and concerns like loss of power in the relationship, feelings of inadequacy and rejection in the family, they decide that unequivocally they must have picked the wrong person and they are no longer in love with their spouse when in actuality their love is strong, but one or both parties have allowed the issues to take over their marriage.
Another reason blended family spouses have such trouble is because of their expectations having not been met. High expectations that their families are going to turn into the “Brady Bunch” the day the marriage license is signed is a recipe for disaster. Mix in a little disrespect from their stepchild here and there or the ex-wife calling for something menial, then “there goes the marriage!” Learning to deal with these issues on the forefront (i.e., pre-marital blended family counseling) can help rectify these situations before they occur or at least help you to not make mountains out of molehills.
In the beginning of any good relationship, chemistry with your significant other is usually going hog-wild. Well, as we all know too well, chemistry never lasts forever. Chemistry contributes to the relationship but it doesn’t make your relationship last. Love sustains it and keeps it going. Being in love means making a commitment to work through whatever needs to be worked on. Being in love means putting your (re)marriage first and supporting it and each other. It means spending time on it and not pushing it aside for anyone or anything and that includes your children together and apart, work and friends. Unfortunately, all too often, this is the hardest task of them all. Finding time to spend together is relatively a key ingredient to a successful, long-lasting relationship.
All successful (re)marriages have common denominators. Trust, honesty, love, support and forgiveness. If you are feeling having the falling “out” of love blues, ask yourselves these questions:
- What is the cause for my feelings? Assess the situation as a whole. Take some time to really scour your thoughts. Is something else causing you to feel this way (i.e., stress, anxiety, depression, work stress, friend stress, etc.)
- Do my feelings on the subject change from day-to-day?
- Are the blended family issues that aren’t being resolved adding to my feelings?
As human beings we are geared to focus more on the negative attributes of any situation. After you have had the chance to ask yourself the above questions, take stock in the following tips to help you get through answering them:
- Make a list of all the good things you fell in love with about your spouse and write out your love story. Just putting those thoughts on paper and reading them will help you tremendously. Encourage your spouse to do the same and read them together.
- Look into a couples retreat. This is a great way to spend time together while at the same time getting some much needed education.
- Enlist the help of a certified stepfamily coach to work up a Co-Parenting Plan that helps your family navigate. It’s OK to ask or help. Call me, I would love to help!
- Stop focusing so much on the problems and give your attention to the solutions.
- Don’t temporarily bandage the issues by sweeping them under the rug and pretending they are fixed. I promise you, they will arise as more than a scratched surface but a full-blown injury.
- Your friends don’t know the value of your relationship. Keep your relationship between you and your spouse.
- Talk, talk, talk! Communication is key! Keep talking to your spouse. Let them know they matter to you and what they have to say, whether you agree or not, matters to you.
- Limit your expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Brady Bunch had great writers narrating the story of their lives. Blended families and remarriage is tough to conquer but think of your commitments and actions as small investments toward your eventual success.
- Have compassion. Honor your spouses difference in opinion. You can disagree with while at the same time still honoring it with understanding. Compassion in the blended family and in remarriage will take you a long way.
- Support your spouse unconditionally. Again, you don’t have to agree on every issue, but support their decisions and let them know you will not judge them.
Peace & Blessings,