It's 8 p.m. on a Saturday, and I've been solo parenting the five children of our blended family all day. Normally my stepkids spend weekends with their mom, and my husband is here. It's been a long day. Everyone is cranky.
I text my husband, the love of my life, a few complaint messages. Why am I the one who has to deal with all of this disrespect on my own? He responds with an understanding text, promising we can talk about it when he gets home.
I love all my kids, but my husband is the main reason I do all that I do. It's not easy to keep our marriage a priority in a blended family, but we try our hardest. To make it happen, we make a few conscious, daily choices:
We avoid divisive speech.
We try not to use terms such as your kids or my kids. The words that come out of our mouths should unite — not divide.
We put each other's needs above our ex’s.
As much as an amicable relationship between divorced parents is preferred, everyone has to draw the line somewhere. My husband does not cancel dinner plans with me if his ex suddenly needs him to take the kids. Likewise, I don't leave my husband out of a text conversation about how everyone will spend vacations. My spouse gets first say — and compromises are reached as a married unit.
We are fiercely loyal to each other.
Kids, exes and even family and friends may try to divide us. We must keep a laser-sharp focus on the most important part of the union: our commitment to each other. Without commitment as a foundation, nothing else will function as it should in a blended family.
We recognize the importance of our new family unit.
We both want this new marriage to last for a lifetime. We work hard to love each other, trusting that God will help our family grow stronger.Katie Parsons is a freelance writer, editor and social media manager.