relationships

How to strengthen relationships as a blended family

How to strengthen relationships as a blended family Vidya Sury

So I’ve been offline for the most part over the last two weeks, busy with various family happenings and activities. An insect has also chosen to bite my right cheek (face—what were you thinking?) and I am sporting a really swollen face with the lymph glands kicking into protect me (according to the doctor). Anyway, that’s another post!

This post is about some really pleasing news I received last week, and what with all the discussion going on, I felt a post brewing.

You see, two cousins are planning to remarry. One split with her husband three years ago, and has been a single Mom, raising her two young girls on her own. The other lost her husband a few years ago, quite suddenly. Her daughter is now a teenager. The great news is, both have found soulmates and we are rather thrilled about their decision. Both the prospective spouses have children of their own, so naturally, a lot of adjustment is anticipated.

Have you seen the 1978 Hindi film Khatta Meetha starring Ashok Kumar and Pearl Padamsee? The movie demonstrates, with great humor, the travails of the lead characters in trying to get their blended family to work. There are real problems that they tackle, sometimes wisely, sometimes not.

Obviously, when one’s getting married and the significant other has children from a previous relationship or marriage, it is critical to start building a bond right away. Essentially, the marriage is not only about the bride and groom, but about the family as a whole.

My cousins realize this, and since they will forever be blended as a family unit, they have been working out ways to show their prospective spouses’ children that they’re appreciated and valued, starting with involving them in planning process of their most special day.

Of course, as any engaged couple knows, there is a LOT to be done to plan for the big day from finding the right attire, to ring shopping, and everything in between–and your kids can feel special, by helping out with several things. Of course, responsibilities will have to be divvied up, based on age.

How does one include the children from both sides? How will the bride and groom achieve this balancing act successfully and create a solid foundation for their relationship?

As I see my cousins handling it all, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride at the compassion with which they’re planning everything. Here are some success tips I gathered from what I saw, and I thought they made good suggestions:

When children are pre-teens and teens

When there are older children, as there are, in my cousins’ case, the marriage, and the relationship will impact them the most. Teenagers are already reputed to be a little moody, and are likely to isolate themselves. And let’s face it, their Mom getting married again can definitely make them feel a little nervous, wondering how life is going to be. So it is important to make them feel included, lovingly, right from the start. Some of the tasks my cousins got their daughters involved in, are:

Jewelry shopping

Jewelry shopping is a great way to bond with a teenager, and the girls were honoured that their Mom trusted their judgment on choosing a ring that her partner will wear forever. Whether it is the bride taking her step-daughter to pick out wedding bands for men, or a groom-to-be who takes his step-son to find a band for his mother, they will appreciate the gesture and have tons of opinions. Also, it is great fun and a wonderful way to bond.

Wedding clothes shopping

It is highly likely that the bride and groom will include their stepchildren in the bridal party. My cousins certainly intended to, and so, they took their stepchildren clothes shopping, so they could pick the right attire. Giving them the flexibility to wear what they wanted on the big day allows them some independence—something teens crave, and love, and appreciate!

When there are young children

As in the case of one cousin, when there are younger children, they cannot be involved with the more significant details of the wedding, but they will definitely be pleased to be a part of the wedding party. In most cases, children under the age of 12 are best suited as flower girls and ringer bearers. Finding a unique way to ask them to be in the wedding will make them feel special. Make them feel important, take them out for a special meal and ask them if they would like to be at the wedding. And of course, buy new clothes or other gifts together.

Write vows

One of my cousins is marrying a Christian, and is enjoying the tradition of writing vows. But rather than work on this on her own, she is involving the entire family from both sides, in writing vows. This essentially means that the step-children also get to say, “I do” and vow their love to their new growing family. I think this is wonderful! She’s making it fun and creative, and the kids will enjoy being part of such a special moment during the ceremony. Of course, being a school teacher, she will make sure that they practice ahead of time, so that they’re not nervous on the actual day.

My cousins are doing all they can to make their wedding a family event, by including their step-children as much as they can, in various aspects of the wedding planning—to make them feel loved in what will be one of the most special family moments. I am sure that not only will this help them build a lasting bond as a family unit, but also as a couple.

Please join me in wishing them all the best.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Asha
    December 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    That’s an awesome news Vidya and I am happy that both them got such wonderful second chance ! I definitely remember that Ashok Kumar movie and that was such a lovely one too. Marrying when both partners have children requires a different level of maturity all together. Wishing both the best best! Hope you recover from your insect bite soon !
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  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    December 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    ***she is involving the entire family from both sides, in writing vows***

    I love this idea, Vidya. WOW.

    Love you more than snowflakes on my tongue. xx
    My Inner Chick recently posted…After The MurderMy Profile

  • Reply
    Galen Pearl
    December 8, 2016 at 5:21 am

    I loved this post. My daughter is in a blended family. She and the father of her son split up and she eventually married Mr. Right. So there is her married family, our family, and her son’s daddy and his family. There are definitely bumpy places, not time smooths things out, and for the most part everyone works well together, keeping the child’s welfare paramount. Great advice to all who find themselves in this situation.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      December 11, 2016 at 12:33 am

      Actually, I thought of you, Galen! I am really so glad both these cousins found new life partners. In a traditional family such as ours, this doesn’t always happen. Not because they’re forbidden to–they just don’t consider it. Hugs. Yes, yes, still writing to you!
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  • Reply
    Shilpa Gupte
    December 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    The moment I read about the remarriage news, I remembered the movie, Khatta Meetha! I have a friend who has remarried – and she too put in a lot of efforts to bond with her step-sons, as did her husband who bonded well with his step-sons. But, as good as it feels , all the bonding and all, it’s also a continuous process that needs to be worked upon on an everyday basis. I am so happy your cousins are going all out to bond with their new families; I am sure they will make wonderful parents for their entire brood! God bless them!
    This was such a sweet post, with so much positivity and hope, Vidya! Thank you for sharing this wonderful news!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      December 12, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      🙂 Thank you Shilpa! Both cousins are wonderful people and I feel it in my gut that they’ll be happy. It is nice to see the communication they all share–and everyone is eager to make it work. That’s so positive! Of course the adjustment will take some time when they all start living together, but I think they’ll be okay. Hugs!
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  • Reply
    Vishal Bheeroo
    December 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I think it’s great news to hear on your part, Vidya and I believe in second marriage where both found a partner to share joy in life. We need to change our attitudes towards second marriage. Love your ideas for the marriages where children should be part of it. I love the Tanishq ad and this post reminds me of it.
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  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    December 27, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Best wishes to these two families!
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