Rewrite Your Stepfamily’s Story: Expectations vs. Acceptance by Andy Hetchler
My wife, Heather, is an avid reader. She can read something once, yet she’ll remember every detail and every character for years. I, on the other hand, vaguely remember reading “Great Expectations” while I was still in high school. I loosely recall the author as Charles Dickens and one of its main characters, Pip.
That’s about it. Still, while I can’t recall many details of the book, I think of the title often. For me it encapsulates a theme I took into my remarriage with kids. Heather and I exchanged vows more than 10 years ago, combining ourselves and our six kids into one stepfamily.
We both brought baggage and, yes, expectations into our marriage. Those two things— when accompanied by kids who were dealing with loss, one ex-spouse living down the street and another living on the opposite coast—made for a complicated start to our new life together.
Because my expectations were good, I fought to make them a reality. Yet, in reality, those great expectations fought me every step of the way. My heart and my mind became a battleground until I decided to shift the focus from expectations to acceptance. I then rewrote our stepfamily’s story (with help from Heather), so that it’s based in reality and has a better chance of survival.
Being willing to turn your own expectations into acts of acceptance will provide a foundation for both your marriage and your stepfamily—one that’s grounded in realism. That may not change the circumstances you’re dealing with. However,
it will impact your mindset and will allow you to work within the confines of your unique stepfamily dynamic versus against it. …To read the rest of this article, log in to your account and download the June 2017 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.