web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends And Family


Blended-Family-logo

Share Button

As the Mom of a large blended family I am regularly asked, “How do you guys do it?” How do you keep this family going with all of the ups and downs, all of the challenges that go along with being parents of eight children including several who have different combinations of parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents? Well, to tell you the truth it isn’t easy and there are days that I ask myself the same question.

To let you in on a little secret, it is because -thankfully – we are not in this alone. The support of our family and friends has been tremendous over the years and I believe that has been the key to our family’s success. Sure, we have our crazy weeks, our “how did I get myself into this mess” days and “why me?” moments but, for the most part, getting through those times together has only served to strengthen our family and recognize our commitment to making our home a happy and healthy one for all of us.

One of the reasons I began writing about blended families was to give people a window into our lives and bring out some of the challenges we encounter when blending a family in the “frum” world. I wanted to help sensitize the people that we come across in our daily lives; friends, relatives, co-workers, employees and school administrators to help them understand some of the unique and, sometimes, difficult situations we face.

My feedback from readers is a strong indication that my family is not unique. On some level or another most blended families encounter and struggle with many of these same issues. Every family is different and the blended family certainly lends itself to many variables, but one thing I believe we all have in common is that none of us had expected our lives to turn out like this way, back when we were under the chupah – the marriage canopy – the first time around.

Our hopes, dreams, and expectations took a turn somewhere and new hopes, dreams and goals had to be created. Dealing with the change, readjusting our world, and finding that, although things are different than what we had originally planned, we believe we have been given a second chance at happiness.

As I said, even with our “commitment” to a strong family and happy personal life based on Torah values, there is no way my husband and I would be successful in raising this blended family without the help of our respective family and friends. From a financial standpoint alone, it is difficult to blend two families that have each gone through the legal process; “WARNING: divorce isn’t cheap!”

There are lawyer’s fees, processing and filing fees, often, psychological evaluations or testing of the children and parents – which can continue post-divorce for many years and costs a small fortune. If remarriage is within a short timeframe from divorce the new couple is usually strapped with debt before they even begin to build their home together. Add to that, the emotional strain of beginning a family – not with the honeymoon, starry-eyed bliss of a young couple in “love” – but as a family with defined roles and personalities and individuals who have been through a very trying time in order to get to this point.

On a scale of one to ten for “optimal marital bliss”, these happy couples are starting somewhere about a negative 5 and need a lot of hard work, commitment, and support from family and friends, not to mention Divine intervention in order to make it. My husband and I feel quite fortunate to have that support from our family, especially our parents who have always been there for us – and not only with financial support (but that helps, too!)

What I personally find so meaningful is that whenever I speak with my father he has some words of praise about my husband and that, in turn, enhances our shalom bayit. Positive reinforcement, or recognition that we get from our families and friends – as they noticed the efforts we made in overcoming some issue or another as our two families merged into one – gave us tremendous “chizuk”, strength to live up to the challenge and it still rings true today.

I recently received an e-mail note filled with loving and kind words about our family, from a close friend. She pointed out details about the children that show she really noticed them and how they are doing. Her words lifted my spirits, just to know there are people out there rooting for us and recognizing the extra effort it takes to overcome the challenge of raising a blended family. Hearing that your family and friends understand and support you and your spouse and that they accept his children as well as your own, strengthens your relationship as a couple and your connection to the family. Our family and friends, over the years, have been kind enough to listen and give sound advice even if they have never walked in our shoes.

So if you know a blended family, show that you care; be there to listen and to support them. If you are a blended family, it is very important to surround yourselves with people that lend that support, are rooting for you and wishing you well (but realize that although others may not always understand, that does not necessarily mean that they don’t care). That type of positive force is important to the success of any marriage, but in this writer’s opinion, is the essential key to the success of the blended family.

Yehudit welcomes feedback and questions and would love to include blended family experiences from her readers in future articles. She can be reached at blendedfamily@aol.com

Share Button

About the Author: Yehudit welcomes and encourages input and feedback on issues relating to the Blended Family and can be reached at blendedfamily@aol.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends And Family”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Yehudit Levinson
Blended-Family-logo

This particular article has been on my computer for quite some time now – incomplete. What compelled me to complete it was my son’s 19th birthday. Born of my first marriage and raised solely by my husband and me for the past seventeen-plus years, my son has only a few memories of time spent with his biological father. My children have made me acutely aware of Parental Disconnect issues. I hope that sharing my thoughts on it will help save others from the pain and confusion we have had to work through.

Blended-Family-logo

Family court, visitation and child support are all unavoidable realities for divorced parents. One particular rule that would be wise to heed is that child support should be less about dollars and cents and more about dollar and “good” sense.

Journaling, putting your feelings down on paper, is a well known method of coping with difficult or traumatic experiences. In fact there have been studies done that seem to prove that people who “journal” live happier, healthier lives. In his book Writing to Heal, James Pennebaker, Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin, explores this concept. He stresses that when we write about trauma, emotional upheavals or difficult issues we are struggling with, the “heart rates slow, blood pressure drops and immune systems strengthen.”

In all honesty, I really do feel blessed. Interestingly though only someone in a family situation like mine could possibly comprehend this particular “blessing,” and many would not consider it a blessing at all. You see I feel fortunate to have not one, but two wonderful women in my life – both of whom happen to be my mothers-in-law, one from my first marriage and one from my second.

Recently a popular Jewish weekly magazine featured a story depicting the life of a young boy whose parents were divorced. Each parent had re-married, establishing new families. Their shared custody of this son, and he spent substantial time with each of his parent’s new families. Giving a voice to the child of divorce was the intention of the story. It highlighted the distress children feel as well as the confusing messages they often receive from the adults in their lives.

When an opportunity for a fresh start is handed to us, when that new door opens, it is often viewed as a gift from Hashem. In most cases in order to completely realize it, we must fully embrace it. For people transitioning into marriage the second time around this is often the reality they face: a new opportunity seldom comes without a price, without us having to, in some way, compromise the life we were accustomed to. Seamlessly blending “pre re-marriage” life with “post re-marriage, new blended family” life is difficult at best and often times takes many years to sort its’ way out.

It still amazes me how the Internet has completely changed our lives and how we view communication these days. My children hardly believe me when I tell them that there was a time when being in touch with someone, meant we actually saw them, spoke to them on the phone, or wrote them a letter and mailed it.

Sixteen years ago, when I married my husband, I did not give much thought to whether he was Askenazi or Sefardi. Having grown up in what was then a small close-knit Jewish community, it held little importance; my concerns were focused around whether or not my bashert (intended) was Jewish according to halacha, someone who was upstanding in both ideals and actions, and a man solidly committed to a Torah lifestyle.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/we-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-our-friends-and-family/2008/02/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: