I wanted a peaceful home. Harmony and order. Randy and I were newly married, and I’d hoped our kids would get along and be kind to each other.
I soon realized that was more like a dream. And achieving it, a tall order.
A VERY tall order.
We were parenting four kids from two different homes. Two different backgrounds. Two sets of rules. Two sets of expectations.
And we were all learning to live together. Conflict, accompanied by heightened emotions, erupted all too often. Most of the time, there was little warning.
Peace and harmony were not the norm. Getting along and treating each other with kindness…uh, not so much.
Then I attended a stepfamily conference. I heard stepfamily expert Ron Deal speak.
“In a stepfamily, you must learn to endure disharmony.” he said.
When we join two families and begin to untangle the emotions, the circumstances, and the history that brought everyone together, it’s not unusual to have minor (or major) emotional eruptions.
In the beginning, I thought we were failing in our relationships when we couldn’t get along. Ron’s words made me realize that instead of failing we were normal!
That didn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue peaceful relationships. But it helped to remember we were only responsible for our efforts, not the outcome.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18
It’s not usually just ONE thing that contributes to the emotional disruptions. It’s MANY things. The behavior in our stepchildren’s other home, teenage emotions, stepsibling rivalry, a difficult ex-spouse, loss from death or divorce—they all have a tremendous impact on the climate in our home but are out of our control.
Even if we do everything right as stepparents, there will likely be tension and days of little peace in the early years of a stepfamily.
Is your stepfamily in the midst of disharmony? Hang in there! This season will pass.
“…but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b
Look for ways to get the support you need to walk this rocky road. Find other stepmoms or friends who can encourage you while your stepfamily works out its kinks. Look for ways to take care of yourself that allow you to recharge and renew your spirit.
Attend our upcoming Sisterhood of Stepmoms retreat and find hope and encouragement!