Parenting Expectations in ReMarriage

The parenting factor is always interesting, and usually challenging, in blending a family and in remarriage life. And if one of you doesn’t have children, this may be extra challenging, especially if you’re a woman.

As a new bride, you’ll be instantly sharing your husband with his children, and you may experience feelings of resentment, jealousy, or insecurity. But understand also that this is a huge change for the children, too.

Though this transition is a challenging one whether you’re a woman or a man, if you go into it knowing that it’s a critical season in your family life, and if you determine to be understanding, patient, and loving, this season can build a strong foundation for healthy relationships all the way around.

Will one of you stay home and care for the children or will both of you work outside the home? How many children would you like to have together? How will you treat your children versus his or hers? How will stepparenting work? How do you feel about adoption?

“One of the things that attracted me to Tim was that I knew he’d be a really good dad to Alicia, and we talked about having more children,” Hannah says. “Despite the fact that I knew I could trust Tim to treat me and Alicia well and to make good decisions, I kept expecting that history would repeat itself. I thought he’d yell at me, but he never did. I thought he’d be mean, but he never was. Even after we were married, I expected negative things from him.”

Tim understood Hannah’s painful past, so he worked with her to build trust and make her feel safe and secure—and he wanted to prove her expectations were wrong! “While I was unaware of her false expectations,” Tim says, “I knew she needed me to show her I was safe.”

Today Hannah and Tim have three children—Alicia from Hannah’s first marriage and two together. And now they’re even talking about adoption! The healing Hannah has experienced because of Tim’s love, patience, and understanding has made all the difference.

One of the greatest adventures of marriage, and sometimes one of the biggest surprises or uncertainties of your journey together, relates to having children and stepchildren. God has a beautiful plan called family, and that plan is important to Him. There is nothing more rewarding than raising children, whether they are his, hers, or yours together. After all, according to God, starting a family is one of the reasons for marrying (Genesis 1:28)!

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved. Visit for more.


Susan and Dale Mathis are passionate about helping couples prepare for marriage and for remarriage, since they are a remarried couple themselves. Dale has two master's degrees in counseling and has worked in counseling and human resources for over 30 years. Susan, the founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, has written prolifically for magazines and newspapers and continues to serve as a consultant, freelance editor and writer, and speaker. As a couple they enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and visiting family and friends around the world. Their blended family includes five adult children and three granddaughters. For more information about Susan or Dale, visit their website.

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