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The Most Important Question to Ask in a Second Marriage

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Fighting with the ex. Dealing with your stepchildren’s loyalty binds. Financial implications of child support. When one of you is on your second marriage and brought kids into the new relationship, the stressors can seem endless.

Being a stepparent and second wife is far more challenging than I anticipated. Call me naive, but I didn’t realize there would be added complexities in a stepfamily that those in a nuclear family don’t face.

I didn’t know I’d have such strong opinions on my spouse’s ex-wife, how their child should be raised, and what co-parenting should mean for us.

I also failed to realize that not only were those opinions ignorant and short-sighted, they were largely unwelcome.

I began to understand something very significant. My role in this stepfamily is as a wife first, and a stepmom second.

When one of you is on your second marriage and has kids, the stressors can seem endless. Ask this question to get focused on what matters! Stepcoupling | Healthy Marriage | Husband and Wife | Stepmom's Husband | Remarriage | Second Wife | Blended Family Wedding | Meeting Boyfriend's Children | Dating a Single Parent | Strong Marriage | Healthy Marriage | Healthy Relationships | Love and Marriage | Real Love and Marriage | Soulmates | Relationship Advice | Marriage Advice | Marriage Tips | Marriage Hacks | Marriage Quotes | Marriage Trust | Marriage Problems | Marriage Goals

The Most Important Question to Ask in a Second Marriage

I came across a quote by StepmomHelp blogger and Skirts at War author, Jenna Korf, that resonated with me on such a deep level.

I know I’ve struggled with this battle, and so many stepmoms I’ve worked with have as well.

Is it more important for us to have happy, healthy marriage or is it more important that he raise his kids the way I believe they should be raised?

Jenna Korf

Pretty powerful, isn’t it?

Many stepmoms don’t want to have to make a choice. They want both: to be right and to be happy.

I know the odds are stacked against me in a second marriage, with more than 2/3rds ending in divorce, and I’m determined to do everything I can to strengthen our couple bond and beat the odds.

One of the best ways I can do that is to focus first on my marriage and less on my opinions of his ex, their child, and their co-parenting.

This family situation isn’t forever, but your marriage is.

As a childless stepmom whose spouse has joint custody, half of the time, it’s just my husband and me. If I didn’t prioritize our marriage, we’d be lost on our “off” days when my stepdaughter is at her mom’s home.

I know that some day, my stepdaughter is going to fly the coop and go to college, live in her own home, etc., and I don’t want my partner to be a stranger when that day comes.

Further, and more immediately, what if we add an ours baby to the mix? The family cannot determine the marriage; the marriage must set the tone for the family.

It’s imperative that I recognize my family situation will not look like this forever, but my marriage will.

And for that reason, I can’t allow different parenting styles or any other family disagreements to be prioritized above my desire to have a happy, healthy marriage.

Focusing on differences will never bring you closer as a couple.

Of course it’s okay to be your own person in a relationship: to have your own interests, to disagree on some things, and to have opinions separate from your partner.

But those differences should never be the focus. When you choose to focus on what you dislike, or what separates you, then you’re moving farther away from one another instead of closer together as a couple.

If my top priority is a happy, healthy marriage, then it’s imperative that I do not focus on differences, especially those that are tied to his ex-wife and my stepdaughter, or anything else outside of my control.

There will always be disagreements or differences. Choosing to focus on the things we agree on improves my mood, my relationship with my stepdaughter, and my relationship with my husband.

It’s not too late to change your answer.

At the end of the day, even if I disagree with my partner’s decisions, I still trust his judgment. I married him because I think he’s an intelligent, compassionate, and logical person whose heart is always in the right place.

If I felt truly disrespected, I’d feel comfortable voicing those feelings, and my husband would definitely course-correct. But when it comes to less offensive parenting style differences, I will make the conscious effort to prioritize my marriage instead.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing your marriage:

Walk away when you disagree.

If your partner is disciplining (or choosing not to) in a way you disagree with, choose to walk away from the situation.

Ask yourself if this truly matters.

It’s common advice to “choose your battles.” Is this a battle worth choosing? Is this disagreement more important than a happy, healthy marriage?

Find something you can control.

If you’re feeling helpless in your home, focus on what is within your control. Get a date night on the calendar, cook dinner, or take up gardening. Taking back control over something else helps in all areas.

Remember to do more of the things that make you, you.

Often when childless stepmoms first come into this role, they become completely submerged. Their entire identity becomes stepmom instead of stepmomming being a task they perform.

Rediscover your passions, hobbies, and loved ones that make you feel like you again.

It’s important that stepmomming doesn’t consume your entire life. Regaining these joys in your life will allow some of the frustrations to roll off your back much easier.

And when all else fails, ask yourself the most important question you can ask in a second marriage:

Is it more important for us to have happy, healthy marriage or is it more important that he raise his kids the way I believe they should be raised?

Jenna Korf

A happy, healthy marriage is far more important to me long-term than bedtime, chores, or being right.

I choose us, every single time. I am a wife first and a stepmom second.

Maybe it’s not that easy for you and you could benefit from talking with a friend who gets it and personalized advice? I offer 1-on-1 stepmom support coaching, and I’m here to help however I can!

P.S. Are you also determined to beat the odds? Here are some great tips for stepcouples!

2 thoughts on “The Most Important Question to Ask in a Second Marriage”

  1. How do you separate your hurt feelings when you are not supported by your spouse when the stepchildren are here from your marriage? My husband sides with his daughters when they clearly have issues with me so they don’t see a united front. That hurts me and I have trouble setting that aside when they aren’t here.

    • It can be so challenging when you aren’t on the same page! It’s hard to really understand context from your comment, but I’d love to talk more in a complimentary coaching intro call if you’re up for it. I can better understand what’s going on and how I can help. If you’d like, schedule here:

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