My husband and I celebrated 22 years of marriage this past weekend. Of our five children, we have only one still at home who is an “ours” child, 16-year-old Nathan. Although life still has challenges, our marriage, most of the time, is free of tension and conflict. I don’t say that to brag, but to offer hope.
It hasn’t always been that way.
If you’ve read much of my blog, then you’ve heard my stories of disharmony and stepfamily struggles. I’ve opened my heart about our challenges in hopes you could avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made.
As I think about what advice I’d give as we celebrate another anniversary, I want to offer a reminder: your marriage counts.
One day the kids will be gone.
The food fights at the dinner table, the step-sibling squabbles over who sits in the front seat, the arguments over chores that didn’t get done, the lingering smell of dirty laundry that emanates from their bedroom, the curfews that are broken…those things won’t matter anymore.
If we’re fulfilling our role correctly as parents and stepparents, we will work our way out of a job.
Our kids will fly away and lead thriving adult lives.
It will be the two of us.
Will we have a marriage left? Will you have a marriage left?
Parenting and stepparenting is a season. And like all seasons, the season will end.
Please don’t neglect to nurture your marriage.
In the midst of watching your stepson at the soccer field, hold your partner’s hand.
While making dinner for the family, smile at your spouse across the room.
On a busy afternoon at work, stop and send a text that says, I love you.
If you’re stuck in unresolved conflict or tension that won’t subside, seek professional help. Stepfamily life is complicated. Sometimes you need help from a neutral party who can identify the root of an issue and what to do about it. Be sure to find a pastor, counselor, or coach who understands stepfamily dynamics.
I also encourage you to check out helpful resources for stepfamilies. My husband and I are currently leading a stepfamily class at our church with the book, The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family. It’s a great book to go through together as a couple that shows how to build on your relationship strengths and helps you improve your weaknesses.
Your marriage counts.
Do you have suggestions on how to nurture your remarriage? I’d love to hear them in the comments.