Communication isn’t a new concept to a healthy marriage and before you decide this is another “healthy communication, successful marriage…” speech, think again! Communication in a blended family is often detrimental because there are multiple aspects in which communication is required.
It can be difficult sharing pieces of your spouse with another woman, or in my case many women. Effective communication is something your husband not only has to learn with you, but also with the women he shares children with. This may require multiple phone discussions, text messaging, and/or sit-down meet-ups. Depending on the nature of these previous relationships you might feel uncomfortable, which in itself requires clear communication between you and your spouse. But the reality is the child has a mom who is also a part of you and your spouse’s life more than likely indefinitely.
While I am perfectly fine with my husband having discussions via phone or text with his children’s mothers in my absence, I feel I should still be made aware and oftentimes apart of the discussion. When the boys didn’t live with us, I kept a safe distance from the phone discussions. I never wanted the moms to feel ambushed because there was two of us and one of her, I didn’t want to be labeled insecure, and some of the discussions quite frankly had nothing to do with me. I’m sure you’re thinking as a wife, the care of his child had everything to do with me, but this just wasn’t true. My husband and his boys’ moms had some pretty heated discussions and under normal circumstances I would’ve intervened because in our marriage we believe women address women and men address men. But this wasn’t some random woman, these were women who he shared children with, so me jumping the gun and adding fuel to the fire just wasn’t necessary.
However, with the boys now living with us full time the dynamic changed as did my role. As the dynamic changed that meant the communication needed to change as well. By definition, I was still their stepmom, but this didn’t seem to capture our true dynamic. I scheduled all of their doctors’ appointments, purchased their school clothes and materials, packed their lunches, did homework, prayed over them and tucked them into bed…I mean there were no obvious differences between the boys and my biological girls. These were my children, no step, no exclusion, I would give my life for these children, they were mine.
Our communication heavily consisted of discussions related to child support- my husband paying, and should we be receiving, financial commitments, school, travel plans (i.e. summer breaks, holidays), and discipline just to name a few. I made my expectations clear. For example, if one of his children’s mother contacted him depending the nature of what was being discussed I needed to be made aware. Anything financial required my input, if he needed to send extra money, clothes, or anything that required money leaving our household we agreed I should be in the loop.
Also, discussions derive in our home first. This is just what works for us. Tre and I discuss our expectations together and come to an agreement and then, and only then bring his children’s mothers into the fold. It was easier for us to be on the same page first, prior to adding another party into the decision-making process. Ultimately it goes back to being on a team with your spouse and making sure everyone is on the same page.
- Be clear and direct
- Be mindful of your delivery and your approach
- Always remember you and your spouse are a team
- Try putting yourself in your spouses shoes
- Reevaluate your position
- Table the topic, when discussions get heated take a cool off period and revisit it when you’re both level headed
Communication is an integral part of our marriage and something we encourage in other blended family marriages. Communication allows you to address possible issues before they become problems and remove the stress of one person carrying the burden alone. I assist my husband by being solution oriented, together we figure out the best approach in any given situation. Not only does communication assist in bonding, it helps to build trust with your spouse. When you’re in the know and are aware of what’s being said it shows unity to the other parent. When you and your spouse don’t present as united it shows vulnerability and division to the other parent. Remember your spouse and their ex have history and while I hope this isn’t the case, someone may have lingering feelings and this could quickly form a wedge in your marriage. By being open, supportive, and transparent you are building a bridge to healthy communication in your marriage.
Do you and your spouse have good communication? What are some areas you’d like to have better communication with your spouse? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.