Mon 15 Feb 2010
“A house divided against itself cannot stand” Abraham Lincoln.
On president’s day, I like to spend a few minutes reflecting on the life of Abraham Lincoln. He is my favorite US president. His words and the proclamations he made still impact our world in a positive way today.
The quote above has new meaning for me now that I am a stepmom. I see the rawness and honesty in his words. You see it too if you are in a stepfamily. When you bring two families together you merge different family histories, personalities, ways of doing things, etc. You often merge children who are resistant to the change. Who secretly or not so secretly desire for their biological parents to be together and they prepare to go to war against the enemy – their new stepparent.
There is no quick fix or sure fire solution for when siblings, spouses, stepparent and stepchild are at war but as we all know when anyone is not getting along, our homes feel divided and it is the stepmom who often feels the most despair and often times loses hope that their house can continue to stand if things don’t change.
The one thing we can do to ensure that our house does not crumble is to put our marriage first. This takes two people. Both husband and wife need to put the marriage first. And as I offered advice to another stepmom at stepmommag.com, “putting your marriage first isn’t at the expense of your kids, it’s for their benefit.” You may have a husband who you feel always puts his kids first. That’s a tough one. I would suggest that no matter how difficult it is that you lead by example. And it will be difficult to do this if you don’t feel the partnership. But I would urge you to give it a chance and commit to putting your marriage first and watch for a change of heart in your husband. Watch for it, don’t verbally demand it.
When kids see that their parents stand as a team, they see stability. Children in a remarriage have already suffered lose due to either death, divorce or an unstable parental relationship. They may not like that they can’t play one against the other but they will appreciate the stability that a unified marriage offers.
When kids understand that their parent sees and doesn’t tolerate hurtful things that they do to their stepparent, the “abuse” usually stops or at the least lessens. And when a stepparent feels support from their spouse, it feels like the weight of their burdens has just been given wings.
I know as bio parents, we can be very protective of our children but we also have to realize that we have made a commitment to love, cherish and respect our spouse all the days of our life. In order to do that, we must stand united.
We will make honest Abe proud. For a united house will stand strong and weather the tides of trouble. As stepmoms, we know that storms blow in and out and a home built on a firm foundation of a committed and stable marriage will stand the test of time and that’s what we all want.
- How do you handle division in your home? What advice can you offer others? What advice are you seeking? Please share - your comments are welcome.