Last month Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of Will Smith, created a bit of a stir on Facebook when she posted her thoughts on what it took to happily blend families. This is what she wrote:
A letter to a friend: Blended families are NEVER easy, but here’s why I don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation because… we CHOOSE them. When I married Will, I knew Trey was part of the package…Period! If I didn’t want that…I needed to marry someone else. Then I learned if I am going to love Trey…I had to learn to love the most important person in the world to him…his mother. And the two of us may not have always LIKED each other… but we have learned to LOVE each other.
I can’t support any actions that keep a man from his children of a previous marriage. These are the situations that separate the women from the girls. Your behavior is that of an insecure child who needs to recognize her own weaknesses that MUST be strengthened to take on the task at hand. We can’t say we love our man and then come in between him and his children. THAT’S selfishness…NOT love. WOMAN UP… I’ve been there…I know. My blended family made me a giant… Taught me so much about love, commitment and it has been the biggest ego death to date. It’s time you let your blended family make you the giant you truly are.
Wow. I have to say I am impressed and I agree with her on so many points here. First of all, blending families is not easy. It is hard work. Couples considering it should know that it will require all the patience, determination, and commitment they can muster. I also find it impressive that she is able to have a healthy relationship with her husband’s ex-wife. I believe that is so important for the sake of the children and also for the marriage. But what pleases me the most is that she took such a strong stand on supporting her husband’s relationship with his child from his first marriage. I see so many families where the new spouse makes it difficult for their husband or wife to maintain a strong, healthy relationship with their children, often forcing them to choose between their children from their first marriage and their second. This is a situation where everyone loses. This kind of commitment requires a big dose of healthy self esteem and the “ego death” that Jada mentions above. That’s almost always a good thing in my book.
What are your thoughts about or experiences with blending families? What have you found most challenging and most helpful along that journey? I’d love to hear.