Advice to Newlyweds

By Melanie Anthony, Author of "Daily Bread for the Starving Stepmom"

A little wisdom for those newly wedded out there!
I wanted to tap into this because I feel that more often than not a lot of us feel caught off guard and things hit us unexpectedly in the first year or two or three that we can have difficulties handing. And if you're off and running and stressed in your first year well, that's no way to live in peace or to start off as a newlywed.
Here are a few topics to name a few that seemed most prominent;
-- Dealing with issues/emotions surrounding BM and her house.
-- Defining your role as SM
-- Parenting styles
-- Setting healthy boundaries
-- Holiday's
-- Blending of bio kids with stepkids
-- Scheduling
First and foremost I'd like to let everyone know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  We've all been there at some point dealing with one of these issues.  The HOPE in all of this is that things do and will get better through prayers, patience, support and much more!
MARRIAGE:  Your marriage serves as the foundation of your family.  The priority is that DH puts God first, you second and kids.  This spiritual hierarchy will serve as the godly foundation that God designed for marriage; blended or not. 
BM:  This is probably one of the most challenging issues.  Letting DH deal with BM and what defining that boundary will be one of the most important boundaries that is set initially.  Of course, this all depends on your relationship with BM.  If you have a better relationship with BM then that changes the dynamics and you have to set boundaries accordingly. 
BOUNDARIES:  DH and you are a team.  He needs to be the one to lead the way with setting boundaries within your home and between homes. This is important as you will find that it can be a challenge to prevent bondaries from crossing households and there can be backlash and a change of dynamics if not dealt with upfront.
YOUR ROLE AS SM:  Depending on your visitation schedule it's very important that you and your DH sit down and discuss and set expectations.   Depending on your dynamic (50/50, custodial SM, etc) know what DH expects of you both as a SM and together, as a team. 
HOLIDAYS/SCHEDULING:  Depending on your family dynamic and whether or not you have a court order and/or amicable relationship with BM, do your best to always stick to the court order in regards to visitation.  When challenged with changes etc, always do the best to set healthy boundaries but know when to take the "high road" and do what Jesus would do.
BLENDING OF BIOKIDS AND STEP:  Although there is a DNA difference between the two always treat kids with equality.  Yes, that can be hard because your natural instinct is to support your blood but always let kids know that they are loved and they can count on you no matter what.  Building that strong, sure foundation for them will give them security and confidence which is so important. 
PARENTING STYLES:  You're the "softie" and he's the "hardie."  Ever hear that?  I have because I experience it and quite honestly, it's a good combination as far as you have a solid foundation and you put Jesus first.  Again, expectations are very important here.  Be sure those are communicated regularly to one another; whether it be regarding discipline, schooling, friends, adolescence, extracurricular activities or anything of similar nature that involves decision making.
Stepmoms!  I've only mentioned a few but some of the pretty major topics that are dealt with initially and depending on your dynamic you may or may not have some of these issues.  The above advice is based off of lots of reading, counseling, mentorship and support through groups like this and sound biblical advice and the bible.  There is no cookie cutter recipe to blend a family but there are practical, godly ways to approach all of these topics with God as the head of it all.  God's got to be first place in all you do or there is no purpose for this journey.  He has a plan for you and your stepfamaily and it's a wonderful one.  Stay connected to God, reach out for support through groups like this or through your church, read books about stepfamilies (The Smart Stepfamily, The Smart Stepmom) and trust God through the process!  Keep calm and stepmom on!  Love you all!

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