I regularly receive emails from men and women worldwide who are seeking advice on their blended family. These come to me here in New Zealand, a small but famous country southeast of Australia. Sometimes these emails are from individuals saying they want to leave their relationship. Here I will respond to those people and others like them in a similar position but first up I’ll share an illustration based on a true story to highlight a point I want to make.

Rugby is HUGE here in New Zealand. A couple of weeks ago there was a match between two rival teams. One man (we’ll call him Gary) bet one hundred thousand dollars that Hawkes Bay would win. At half time the other team was leading. Can you imagine how Gary was feeling? I’m sure if someone had offered Gary his money back and given him the easy way out during those tense moments, he would have taken it and run with relief. It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the game that Hawkes Bay scored the try that won them the game.

Now back to you. I don’t know whether you’ve invested any money into your relationship but you have invested you life and for some, your children’s lives into your blended family. I know from firsthand experience that blended families are hard work that’s why I’ve devoted years to helping couples strengthen theirs. It can be tempting to throw in the towel when it’s only half time and you think the outcome looks gloomy.

What many don’t realize is that it takes on average seven years for a blended family to achieve stability and function as a unit. If you stick at it you’ll reap the rewards. Blending does require time and effort but can bring much joy and fulfilment when a couple have a plan to unite their family together as a supportive team. Unlike the rugby game above, you DO have control over the final outcome.

A note to those who are married:
The stability and health of your marriage is directly connected to your attitude and beliefs. If you have made a promise to each other that you will be together for as long as you both shall live, then make the conscious decision that your blended family will succeed. YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming others when things don’t go your way but you have a choice about how you respond.

Let your setbacks become set ups for future success

You can’t change another person but you can take responsibility for how you react to them. When problems arise (and they will) your response can either escalate the situation, or defuse it. There will be times you will naturally want to retaliate when hurt but by fighting these instincts you can protect your relationship and work toward unity.

In your relationship, love will not always be a feeling to felt but an action to be learned.

There are two parts to commitment. The first is the decision to honor the commitment you made to remain with your partner for a lifetime. The second part of commitment is not about the “head” decision that you’ll ‘stick it out’, but what I’ll call a “heart” decision. This is the commitment to strive for a rewarding relationship. You make the decision to put time, effort and energy into your relationship AND into being the best possible partner.

I say to those who attend my seminars that you’ll never be a perfect person or partner (or parent for that matter), but you can be a PURPOUSEFUL person and partner. You can set some goals for your relationship and work purposefully towards these. For example, your goal might be to improve communication or the way you resolve conflict.

Given that we’re not perfect, we will let down those closest to us at times. During these times you’ll need to choose to forgive. Forgiving someone DOESN’T mean you approve of their wrongdoing. It is the decision to not dwell on the offence or hold on to a resentful attitude such as “I’ll make you pay”. I recall many years ago a woman I knew who made a poor financial decision that greatly upset her husband. He said he would remind her of her mistake every day of their married life, and he did. He was devastated when she finally left… Ultimately his behavior did more to destroy their relationship than her poor judgment on that one occasion.

The thing is we all go through tough times and the ONE thing that separates those who succeed from those who don’t, is the level of personal commitment to the relationship.

Commitment is easier if you first believe your relationship is worth the fight and if the loving feelings are not there, it’s hard to find the incentive to stay.

Is the feeling of “love” gone??
You can rekindle old romantic feelings. If you once experienced them in your relationship, trials and tribulations may have buried them temporarily but they are not dead. Don’t use your feelings to justify your decision to leave a relationship but as a guide to identify what needs to change to create a more satisfying relationship.

Finally, what will you do today to show your loved one that you are striving to be the best partner possible?

Warm regards
Adele Cornish BSW
Blended Family Advisor

Author's Bio: 

Adele Cornish is an author, speaker and International Blended Family Advisor. She has developed a program that currently teaches practical skills and strategies to blended families worldwide, enabling them to overcome the common obstacles to success. To find out more or contact her, register for her free regular tips by going to www.BlendedFamilyFocus.com