Rachel Dunne, a regular blogger on all things related to remarriage, step-parenting, and co-parenting, has her husband, Seth, share his perspective and advice as a remarried dad.
You have to reprioritize.
If you are (re)married, the relationship hierarchy should be 1) God 2) Wife 3) Kids. Men, keep in mind everyone has a seat at the table, but it’s up to you to make sure everyone sits in their appropriate place. It may feel counterintuitive at first, but your wife deserves to be your number one priority and your children deserve to know what a healthy marriage and family looks like.
Stop revolving your life around your kids.
Consistency and routine make everyone feel safe, especially kids who travel back and forth between two different homes with two different ways of doing things. Normal everyday life shouldn’t be put on hold because your kids are there. They need structure, not constant entertainment. Continue to do date night on Fridays, laundry on Saturdays, and church on Sundays. Carry on with whatever normal life is for your family and know it’s okay for your kids to experience boredom and disappointment sometimes.
Set strong boundaries.
Remember, co-parenting is a business relationship. There is no reason to communicate with your ex unless it’s something important about the shared child. Conversations should be short, respectful, and to the point. For high conflict situations, parallel parenting may be the best option and boundaries should be even stronger. Contact should be as limited as possible and there are several third-party communication tools that can help make this happen. For some of you, setting stronger boundaries may mean being “the bad guy,” whether it’s in the eyes of the ex, friends, or even family. But that’s okay, because you are only here to do right by God and nobody else.
You need to be a FATHER.
Just because you are no longer in a relationship with their mother, does not mean you get to stop being a father. Your kids don’t need a best friend or a party pal. They need a parent to teach, discipline, and guide them. Your job is not to make your children like you. Your job is to raise a decent human being that will be a functional and respectful member of society one day.
Stop expecting perfection.
Come to terms with the fact this is not the marriage or family your wife dreamed of growing up. While you may hope your new partner is the piece of the puzzle you’ve been missing, you have to be prepared to accept this new arrangement will be a HUGE adjustment for everyone involved. Know that your blended family cannot and will not operate as a normal family and it may take years for your family to establish a “new normal.”
Men, never give up. God created marriage and family to succeed and yours is not the exception.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Dunne, the Spiritual Stepmom. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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