Many years ago, I was a member of local church branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and met two wonderful women. We became good friends, and always stayed in touch despite the fact that we all moved away from the ward. Both ladies were married, but over the years divorced, and remarried other men, and blended their families. I’m married to a man who had three children from a previous marriage, I had two, and together we had one child, and had suffered silently most of the time with our “His mine and ours” situation.
I couldn’t remember when or how we reached out to each other but
one of the ladies reminded me that she was having a conversation with a family member about her struggles with her blended family, and when the family member realized she couldn’t really relate, suggested that she join a support group. There aren’t a lot of local resources available for that type of support group, and together the two of my friends reached out to me. They knew I had experience with my blended family, and said I always made it look so easy. They were sure in a shock, and somewhat comforted by the fact that for the three hours during church I may have held it all together, but the reality of my life was very different. Blending families is no easy task, and over the years, we have reached out to each, other, vented, cried, came close to throwing in the towel, laughed, and calmed each other down, and decided to give the next day another try. Sometimes this was a process that happened daily. We recognized patterns, thought processes, and reminded each other of the break-throughs we formally faced.
The conclusion that we all came to was that the three of us couldn’t be the only people to struggle with these feelings, and that we maybe could provide some relief to other women struggling with the same complicated issues; of biological children verses step children, ex-husbands, and ex-wives, visitation/custodial situations, in laws, ex in laws, rising and falling sex drives, and that OH SO DIFFICULT road map of the husband himself! This list of issues, just scratches the surface, but I with the help of my dearest friends hope to help you through them! After all, it's a learning process for us still even after all these years, we find new and fun ways to love and support one another through this journey.
In researching I learned that over 65 % of Americans are a step parent, a step child, a step sibling, or a step grandparent. 65 %!!! 46 % of weddings taking place in the US are a creation of step family, and less than a third of these newly created blended families will last. This makes me realize that not only are we "NOT THE ONLY ONES", but we are fooling ourselves to believe that we can make our families work without the support of those who are in similar situations. Therapists can teach coping mechanisms, and there will surely be blog posts suggesting family and marriage counseling, but a support group of women who have "been there done that” just may be what you are searching for! They say it takes a village to raise children, and I believe that it takes an army of strong willed women to save marriages.
Heavenly Father's plan of salvation is meant to be a plan of happiness for us, and although our trials make us miserable at times, He wants us to search for a silver lining of happiness throughout every trial. Families are never designed to be a source of misery. I don't mean to imply that this blog is only directed toward ladies, men and husbands should feel comfortable to continue. This is never meant to be a "man bashing session", but a safe venue to vent, share, and express our opinions on very real and painful experiences that a lot of times are about our men. Just realize that we are not medical professionals, nor do we have any clinical credibility when it comes to these topics. We are just three busy mothers, and wives, with three different situations, and backgrounds, with common interests, and have created and forged a bond. Think of us as three soul sisters, who have expressed a desire to reach out to you, and help you make some head way. They sure have made a difference in my life, and marriage!
Some of our posts may cover more serious topics; some may make you laugh out loud! A lot of times we find ourselves clutching our sides from laughing so hard, and I personally collapse afterward in tears. It's very comforting knowing that even when I feel that I have gone bat stick crazy that I am not alone. I may have been wrong at times, but never alone. So, join us on this exploratory journey. We will be posting throughout the week, each of us taking turns, so stay tuned, and stay posted, and we can't wait to share all of the findings that we have learned over the years.
As this Christmas holiday approaches, we decided to act now, and help everyone maintain a level of perspective through the month, and try to stay focused on the joy of this time of year. Blending families may be complicated and difficult the majority of the time, but doing so, gave us the opportunity to love and serve a brand new crop of people, and my intention is to stay more mindful of that during this holiday season, and stay Christ centered. After all, even Jesus Christ was Joseph's step son.