My Step Kids Are Ruining My Marriage
"…it felt torturous…as the stepmom, I was starting to doubt there would ever be a solution that could make it bearable…"
This stepmom was hopeless. Her anxiety was growing every time her step-daughter was around.
They just couldn't connect. She felt disrespected and dismissed…like she didn't belong.
Not knowing what to do, she began finding ways to stay busy, looking for excuses to leave. She just wanted to create a little separation, but that came at a cost.
She told us that she felt "closed off".
The real problem was that it wasn't just her step-daughter she was 'closing off' to…she was pulling away from her husband as well.
The more anxiety she felt around her step-daughter — the more separation she felt with her husband. And she hated that.
She was head-over-heels in love with him and she was sure he loved her back. So it was clear to her that there was only one problem — the step kid!
Imagine her surprise when she found out that the problem wasn't her step-daughter at all…
What if it's something else?
This isn't a unique story. In one form or another we hear something like this from step-parents all the time.
And it's a part of my story too! There have been several seasons in our marriage that I saw my step-daughter as "the problem". When I was stuck in that mindset, I felt hopeless, angry and jealous.
I've learned that there were two primary problems when I was stuck here:
I was pre-occupied with things I could NOT change.
The truth is I couldn't change my step-daughter. So that meant the more I focused on her as "the problem" the less hope I had that anything could change — including our marriage.
I was giving my step-daughter too much control.
If it was my step-daughter that was "the problem" and I couldn't force her to change, then ultimately she had the power to influence my mood, my outlook and even my hopes for the future. That's way too much power for an adolescent child.
So what solved these problems?
It all came down to shifting my focus.
How United Are You — Really?
When I hear step-parents describe what a problem their step-kids are…I can really empathize. I know how it feels when it seems like they're threatening your marriage — robbing you of your "happily ever after".
Some children are more difficult than others. Some have limited capacities or professionally diagnosed challenges. And some are being heavily influenced by an irrational Ex.
But the problem isn't our step-kids. The problem isn't you. The problem isn't your spouse.
Most often, the real problem when step-parents are feeling this way is connected to Unity.
Not unity with the kids or even as a whole family, but unity as a couple.
Now, before you quit reading…hear me out.
You may be thinking, "Whatever…we're so in love and we've got so much in common. We want so many of the same things. Of course we're united!"
That's great! I've felt that way with Kim since day one. But being in love isn't the same as being in unity.
Do you want to connect more with everyone in your stepfamily?
Click below to learn more about how you can simplify building those bonds you really want to experience and fast-track your family’s success!
Want to see if you're fully unified as a couple? Try this 'Unity Test':
Set a timer for 15 minutes, then go into separate rooms and write down your individual answers to these three questions:
What are our top 5 family values?
Describe what each value actually means?
Name the next step you're taking to be sure everyone in the family is living each of these 5 values.
When the timer runs out, compare your answers.
If you both named the same 5 values, had the same definitions for each value and identified the same next steps to take as a family — then you guys are Unity Superstars!
Most likely, you've got some room to grow.
What does this have to do with the problem I'm having with my step kids?
Here's the answer: Unified couples create clarity and stability for kids and step-kids.
As you get united as a couple around your goals and values for your family, you're establishing your marriage as the foundation of your home.
That foundation helps the kids to understand their boundaries. It helps them to know where they stand and where you stand. And ultimately it puts the couple in charge of the family's future. The step kids are no longer "the problem".
If you've been feeling like your step kids are ruining your marriage, I want to remind you that you're not alone. I've been there and so have so many others. But don't lose hope…
Remember that stepmom I told you about earlier? She and her husband discovered the power of this kind of unity and once they did everything changed. They've worked hard to identify their most important values and they're focused on living them out as a team every day.
I saw a post on Facebook recently of that stepmom and her daughter simply having fun together and she shared a little about how she never thought that would happen…but it did.
And that can be your story too.
Want some step-by-step help to build that unity you’re looking for?
Click the button below to find out more…
QUESTION: How well do you think you and your spouse would do on the 'Unity Test'? Leave a comment below…