When I met my husband to be, my son Mack was four years old, and my daughter Rory was two. My ex husband had left us flat a year before, so neither really had any man in their life. A few months after we had started dating, one evening it was time to settle the kids down for the night. My little boy shouted, "I don't want YOU to tuck me in tonight mommy, I want HIM to tuck me in!" He pointed to my boyfriend, who scooped him up in his arms and took him to his bedroom. I peeked in a few minutes later, and witnessed my son falling asleep, and the man I was falling in love with stroking his hair and reading him a story. You would think that this sight would make me leap with joy, and pride, and I would be filled with all kinds of warm fuzzy joy, but this was NOT the case. I began to pace the floor, with my fists clenched. I was filled with a violent rage that I had never known before, nor could understand. But I was feeling something, and it wasn't passion. A few minutes passed, and my boyfriend closed the bedroom door, his feathers all fluffed, and him looking pretty proud of himself, he received a reaction that I highly doubt he was expecting. With a steaming glare in my eyes, I pointed my angry finger in his face and said, "Look! If you don't see a future with us, then you need to go out that door, and never come back! I can handle my broken heart, but I cannot handle his! Do YOU understand me?" He placed his hands on my shoulders, and as I retracted my finger he said, "Well, what I was about to say is, I hope you're planning on keeping me around, because I'm falling for them, as hard as I'm falling for you."
And with that, I was sold. That was that. My children had the father I had dreamed for them to have. And our blended family had begun, and it would be a dream come true.....
My husband had three children, and between his and mine, we had five children who had perfect stair step ages, and we all just fit together and got along. Now that he was in a stable marriage, we were able to share custody of his children, and spent every other weekend faithfully with his children. Soon after we had a baby together, who blended our family perfectly. All the children shared a same sibling, and had her in common, and our blended family was complete.
But as the months went by, I noticed that when his kids came on the weekends, he began to treat Mack, my son, very differently. Not only was he being treated like he didn't exist, but when he did exist, he was treated like he was the worst child on the planet. This bothered me, and every time I brought it up, we would end up in a fight. I admit I was overly defensive, but I just couldn't understand why my son was being singled out. His kids were often disrespectful, rude, and messy, and never corrected in any way, yet he barked at my kids like they were demon children. I began to dread the weekends when his kids would come, because of the obvious line that was drawn down the center of the house. The tension was obvious to everyone except for my husband, although he felt that I was complaining about him. He often pointed out the long list of things that I should grovel at his feet about in gratitude, whenever I would protest about his behavior. I couldn't argue with his list, and often became silent.
As we fast forward to this past year, we have dealt with a lot of issues with my step son. He ran away from home, and became involved with drugs, and other delinquent activities. He moved in to our garage, and we helped him through drug court, his court fees, and protected him from furthering his juvenile crime career. He turned 18, and passed probation, and left our garage in a messy disaster, that I still am dreading having to clean. Just this past weekend, while my husband and I were on a weekend get away, he started complaining to me about Mack's bedroom being messy. Exasperated, I said, "I just don't understand how you can be so hard on him, when your son left the garage in such a mess, and he's NEVER held accountable!" He calmly responded in a way that shocked me to the core. He said, "He is never going to learn anything that we have to teach him. He already has been taught, and mistakes have been made. I love Mack so much, and I don't want him to turn out like my three older kids. I want different for him." My jaw dropped, and I think it's been dragging on the ground all week. All these years, he HAS been treating my children differently than his, and it's not the same way I had been accusing him of. He has been treating my children as if they are solely his, and they are the only ones he has been comfortable disciplining. He over compensated, in his own way to prevent them from becoming the bad children that in his eyes his ex wife was raising.
Once you understand psychology behind someone's behavior, you really can change your point of view. Although I often didn't agree with his approach, and wish that he were a little softer at times, I can never accuse him of loving my children any less than he loved his very own. It wasn't him that drew the big red line down the center of our family. It was me.
If you are having a hard time understanding your spouse's point of view, try very hard to put rainbow colored glasses on. You may be very surprised at how much more beautiful things look with them on. And, as my soul sisters and I discovered, this revelation took ten years to discover! Be patient, and and be kind to one another. This process is NOT always sunny.