Positively Paula

3 Top Questions Remarried Couples Should Ask When They Disagree

Wednesday, June 06, 2012
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck Semich, our advice columnist at RemarriageWorks. Our episode, "Top Secrets of Stepfathers" is one of my favorites because I don't think there are enough resources available for stepdads. During the show, dedicated to all stepfathers in honor of Father's Day, Chuck, a licensed family therapist who specialized in blended family relationships and is both a stepchild and stepfather himself, offered a spot check or inventory that we can ask ourselves when we are arguing...  
I asked Chuck for his best advice on how to make your remarriage succeed. Chuck described the top three questions he has asked himself when he has been in a disagreement:
  1. Is this a matter of life or death? 
  2. Am I part of the problem, or part of the solution?
  3. What's more important - being right, or having a healthy relationship?
If you take a moment and think about these questions the next time you and your spouse are arguing, especially about a blended family issue, you can really change your own perspective, and diffuse your anger or frustration. I've tried it. I haven't succeeded in calming myself down every time, but with practice, it gets better.

I invite you to listen to the podcast, "Top Secrets of Stepfathers" with Chuck Semich, and to check out his stepfamily advice in our advice column. His professional and personal experience, along with his wisdom are really helpful. If you and your spouse are facing problems in your remarriage, consider listening to the podcast together.
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Give the Stepfathers Some Love, Too, on Father's Day

Sunday, June 19, 2011
A male colleague and I spoke this week about the lack of positive attention that stepfathers get. (So, for all of you deserving and extraordinary stepdads, it is especially important that we send you some stepfather love on this Father's Day!) I first wrote about this topic in The Washington Times, "On Remarriage: Stepfathers Deserve to be Honored Too" a few years ago. It still hangs in a frame on a wall in our home today in honor of my husband who is a stepdad to my two sons. I'm wondering has anything changed for stepfathers since I wrote that column in 2008?

There have been some positive changes that I've noted. Just yesterday a stepdad mentioned to me that he was pleasantly surprised to see a whole section of stepfather Father's Day cards in the store. I don't know how big that section is, but I still don't get the sense that there are enough cards for even half of the millions of stepdads in the country.

And, since 2008, I am aware of one additional book written specifically for stepfathers, namely The Smart Stepdad by Ron Deal. This book, which is in the Christian living genre offers advice for men navigating stepfamily living and provides essential guidelines to help stepdads not only survive, but succeed.

So, yes, I think things are moving in a positive direction when it comes to supporting stepdads, but there is still a long way to go considering that 4 out of 10 adults are now in a blended family. 

Why aren't there more resources for stepdads? Is there no demand? Do stepdads not care? Do they not seek outside resources and assistance to help them be the best stepfathers they can be? If not, why are they reluctant?  Is there indeed an overwhelming demand, and there just aren't enough experts or resources to meet their needs? What are your thoughts on this?

As a final tribute to stepdads this Father's Day, take a listen to Brad Paisley's music video, "He Didn't Have to Be" which was produced in 1999, reached #1, and was nominated for CMA song of the year. With so many more stepdads around today, this song is even more important. Happy Father's Day!


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