I have been a step-mom for 8 years now but I have known my husband longer than that. We dated for almost 2 years before we got engaged and were engaged for a year. During that time, we dealt with a high conflict ex-wife. My step-son clashed constantly with his mom. She would, in turn, call my husband to come deal with him and he would go over there every time. No matter what we were doing. I always felt it was a control issue on her side. I was right. It was.
We had our fair share of arguments about him dropping me like a hot plate to run over there. Even after we were married. My husband is the type of man that would do anything for his kids. Which is a wonderful trait, until it turns into his ex-wife having more control. If you find yourself in a similar situation, then here are some things I did to help keep my marriage and my sanity.
Let It Go
Just like the song says, let it go. In the early years of our marriage, there were times it was tough. To the point, I actually told my husband that if things did not improve that I was leaving. (In looking back at it I know now not to threaten with leaving.) There were times I had to let things go. There were things happening outside of our control. We could only control how we reacted to it and to each other. We had to focus on our marriage and realize that sometimes it took priority over other things.
Treat Yo’ Self
I made sure to take time to focus on myself. This came in many forms that ranged from going for a long run by myself to sometimes taking a day to do what I wanted. The kids would stay with my mother in law or if they were already supposed to be at their mom’s, I would just do whatever I wanted. It was exactly what I needed. When you are a stepmom, you have to remember to take care of you. It’s hard raising kids then when you add in an ex-wife, it makes it even harder. Make sure you take some time for yourself. It helps to be able to reset.
Talk it Out
This one can be a little harder to do. Not everyone fully understands what it takes to be a step-parent. You will find people that range from you should love them as your own to you don’t have any responsibility for them. So finding someone who truly understands is priceless. Once you find that person, hold on to them. There are going to be times you need someone to talk to about the challenges of being a step-parent that does not involve your spouse. I have a few people in my life who understand when I need to vent about something with my step-kids.
Focus on Your Spouse
During those hard times, remember why you married that person. That is one of the main things that helped me hold it together. I had to focus on why I married my husband. I had to make sure I was focusing on the things I needed to. There was a reason he swept me off my feet and sometimes it required me to really dig down deep and find that reason again.
Don’t be Afraid
Sometimes as women, we make up scenarios in our head that make no sense at all. I used to be terrified that if I did something the same way his ex-wife did it, then he’d hold it against me. I lived in this fear for so many years. I don’t know why I did or where I got that notion of this. However, a few years ago it finally dawned on me that it was absurd to think this. There was a reason his previous marriage failed and it had nothing to do with me. I am a complete opposite of his ex-wife. He fell in love with me for who I am. Once I realized it our marriage changed dramatically.
We both agree that in the summer of 2014 our marriage took a turn for the better. Neither of us knows why it was that summer but it was. There have still been a number of hard times we have had to deal with since that summer. Getting our foundation solid has made those hard times easier and the good times even better!
Let me know in the comments below what are some challenges you have faced in your own marriage? What are some of your favorite marriage tips?