Statistics show that second marriages tend to fail more than first ones due to the challenges of a “blended” family. Statistics do not define someone’s destiny, at least not mine. I consider them a tool to inform myself and keep up with reality, but also as a tool to guide my efforts and educate myself on the subject, as well as to articulate viable solutions. Those stats get darker when it involves one spouse who has no kids, nor previous marriages.
I found love and established a new family. I was not thrived by the tricky circumstances involved, but did not let them place prejudice. I knew there would be a lot of challenges, but I was sure love and tenacity would overcome them (of course, I did not considered back then that sometimes the biggest challenge is not the “step” part of the family, but the defensiveness the “soul mate” would bring, or how distorted every comment could become).
I still believe that when there is love, there is strength; and when there is tenacity, there are achievements. There is no way to prevent conflict, human nature prevails, but one can look for rational and functional solutions (something one cannot ask to the parent spouse, the parent nature will prevail, and develop sided views most of the time). There is no way to know up front the road the challenge will take, only time can tell, as it is true only our hearts will know how hurtful or joyful the experiences will be.
Did I expect everything I’ve been through? No. Did my husband expect how things developed? No. The main difference between us in terms of how we approached this challenge: Full of love for his kids, he had what I think was the unrealistic expectation that affection would come instantly, and harmony would reign, and never considered I may have something to say sometimes, nor that any effort from his side to conciliate or understand was ever necessary. Regarding my position, I would say I was more conscious about the hard work and difficulties it would involve, but I was naive thinking I would be able to freely speak my mind and share my thoughts and jointly move for solutions and improvement, and even worst, as soon as found myself feeling that all the burden and expectation of any applicable effort was placed on me, I blocked myself, and focused on minimize interaction to avoid those misunderstandings and protect myself, for the sake of my emotional health I thought.
A few years later in this adventure, I’ve been riding an emotional roller coaster. Sure it would have been easier if I had formed a family the “traditional way”, but that’s not the point. The personal growth has been rewarding as well as my marriage strengthening. I would say I can enjoy the taste of achievement every day, while overcoming the challenges… from the smallest, to the biggest, from a simple misunderstanding, to the greatest fear.
My story could be like any other involving a stepfamily, or as isolated and unique, as unique is the human nature and the individuality of each person. One can find a lot of information, opinions and advises out there; however, the truth is that due to the sensitiveness of the issues involved, I think the deepest thoughts, analysis or conclusions of those who happen to live in this reality are sometimes guarded by silence; after all, the least one may want is to be misunderstood, or hurt our loved ones, or sound a bit selfish.
I’ve found the space in my mind and soul to crumble each scenario I’ve been through, and I’m always amazed with the complexity of the human nature. Some people may agree with me, some people may not, there’s no ultimate truth any way, and every circumstance has multiple edges. I just found in the letters what sometimes spoken words cannot say or should not say on prudence command.
One cannot change some facts, but one has the power to transform things, to improve ourselves, to fight for the life and family one want, and be successful at it while conciliating. I’ve found rewarding the fruits perseverance and patience. To many people the Latin “Amor Omnia Vinci” (love conquers all) may be a useless cliché; I’ve find myself close to find it may be true, when coupled with tenacity and transparency.
So this is my story and my daily thougths, these are my thoughts, the conclusions I’ve been developing, the questions I have.
I may be part of stepfamily statistics, but they will not decide my future, nor will they lessen my strength.