First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. As with many childhood plans, this verse from the familiar, childhood game often shows itself to be untrue. As the cultural tolerance for young parents and for single parents (whatever the circumstance) increases, the American schema for the nuclear family—naturally—evolves to include many different images of a healthy family. And the best news is, that each and every image of these families is healthy and beautiful. So, with this ever evolving image of the nuclear family, new terms such as “blended family” are adopted.
A blended family can be simply thought of as a family made up of a couple and their children from all previous relationships. Currently, the average age of a woman having her first child is close to 25 years old, while the average age of a woman at first marriage is 27. So, these age differences bring me to the topic of this blog: blended marriages.
But, what is a blended marriage? A blended marriage is not just the joining together of two people, but rather the joining together of two families.
I believe that it is important for blended marriage ceremonies to occur if a blended family will be present after the marriage has been performed, especially so for children effected by the marriage. Including children in the marriage ceremony will demonstrate familial commitment both to the world and, more importantly, to the children themselves, thus creating a deeper trust for the kids. Because of this, a new dimension to the family’s relationship can begin to evolve.
There are many ways for a couple to modify a traditional marriage ceremony to include their children. Many of these ways can be easily thought of—we’d love to help you!—or found on your favorite virtual pin-board. These ideas range from as simple as a recognition during the ceremony to as involved as custom designed jewelry pieces for the entire family.
However, in the end, it does not matter whether the kids are given spots in the wedding party, simply recognized during the ceremony or given personalized gifts. It is important to remember that no amount of recognition or gifts will have any significance for the children if they do not understand that they have a special and unique importance to the marriage. Not in the day-long-frills-and-lace-party-all-night sense, but in the lifelong-institution-for-better-or-for-worse sense of the word. It is only after this happens, that bigger things can happen!