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Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family Paperback – February 26, 2002


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Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family + The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family + The Smart Stepdad: Steps to Help You Succeed
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Love may be sweeter the second time around, but once the bliss of a newfound relationship wears off a little, the reality of being part of a stepfamily sets in. If you are one of the millions of remarried Americans facing the challenge of blending two existing families into one cohesive whole, you are part of a stepcouple?and you know all too well how hard it can be to make your marriage work in sometimes tough terrain.

Different parenting styles, finances, relationships with ex-spouses, legal matters, and even seemingly simple issues such as the kinds of chores assigned to children can chisel away at your union if you don?t always make your marriage a priority.

Stepcoupling offers advice for stepcouples on how to do just that?all the while strengthening their blended family with a healthy marriage. Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green provide tips and strategies on dealing with the issues remarried couples face, with a wealth of advice from real-life stepcouples, such as:

* Learning to tailor your expectations of your spouse or children and remembering that no family is perfect
* Knowing where your boundaries are, whether involving a hostile ex-spouse or a stepchild who demands too much attention
* Realizing that traits like flexibility, tolerance, forgiveness, and openness are especially essential in a stepfamily situation
* Making ?us? time for talking, problem-solving, weekends away, and enjoying your marriage to constantly renew and strengthen your bond as a couple

Let this invaluable remarriage manual help you make your stepcouple the foundation of a strong, happy, and successful stepfamily.

About the Author

SUSAN WISDOM, LPC, is a therapist who specializes in counseling divorcing adults and stepfamilies. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

JENNIFER GREEN is a freelance writer who lives in Salem, Oregon.

Both authors have been part of successful stepcouples for the past twenty-five years.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (February 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609807412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609807415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Karon Goodman on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this straightforward book, the authors coin the term stepcoupling to mean the "ongoing process of forming and maintaining a marriage when children are involved." We all know that we have to pay attention to our marriages to sustain our stepfamilies, and the authors tell us that our success "hinges on the willingness and ability of the partners to grapple with personal and family issues." Then they offer help.

The entire book discusses various personal and family issues that can threaten a stepfamily marriage. Instead of a lot of hard to understand theory, you'll find accessible advice that hits home with so many common problems. Gray boxes throughout provide questions for yourself and for discussions to have with your spouse. Autonomous questions pepper the text, and the authors follow them with practical solutions. Real stepparents, too, contribute their stories and feelings. You'll probably see yourself in several places in these comforting pages.
The book discusses a stepparent's expections of herself and her family. And in the very helpful section on boundaries, the authors discuss not only physical boundaries but also boundaries on relationships, including the need to sever the ties with former spouses and how to expand your boundaries to include your stepchildren. The section on "family acrobatics" tackles the issue of finding everyone's place in the family. You'll also learn how to strike a balance when your styles and values on parenting, money or anything else differ from your spouse's.
The final chapter is one stepcouple's story in their words, how they've survived twenty-nine years to become the close family they are. You'll find encouragement, advice and compassion in this book that truly understands stepfamilies.
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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Melissa A. Adams on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a clinical social worker in private therapy practice. I purchased this book three years ago to help a family with whom I was working in therapy. Since then, I have quoted the highlighted passages from my own copy numerous times in sessions, and have loaned the book out so many times that a client finally bought me a newer copy, as a gift for helping her family so much. The best thing about this book is how it highlights the couple relationship. Blended family couples finally have support in creating the foundation for success. Many texts about blending families and helping children deal with divorce focus on how the "children should come first", to the exclusion of what is necessary to keep the adults healthy. Children's needs are certainly paramount, but often that belief feeds a system wherein parents are almost forced to create a triangulated situation between their biological children and their new spouse. This book clearly explains how to avoid that triangulation, and to keep the power where it belongs: with the two adults in the home, as a team. As a structural family therapist, this book helps me to show parents what we mean when we talk about the "executive power system" in the family. In order to have healthy blended families, it is absolutely essential to have a strong parent couple in each family. This book helps the reader with the myths and misconceptions of "step-families", which are really better termed "blended families". It gives good suggestions on how to deal with "the exes" -- the other parents of the children in your home. It addresses the "yours, mine and ours" issues that come up when blended families add more kids to the family. It also addresses special considerations that need to be made when one parent has died.Read more ›
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I married a man quite a lot older than me -- he had children and I did not. I had no idea the sudden imapact having four stepchildren would have on me -- and my marriage! Reading Stepcoupling was the first step to saving my marriage and my sanity. Susan Wisdom clearly understands all the complicated dynamics of the stepfamily -- from an uncooporative ex-spouse to angry stepchildren. She offers useful discussion guides, questionaires, exercises, and tried-and-true strategies to help parnters cope with the new responsibilities and challenges. Knowing that if the stepcouple remains strong and presents a unified position, then all the other challenges can be resolved made all the difference. My husband read the book too and from that point on we began the process of building a strong family.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. Slocum on March 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the real-life stories in the book. It is nice to hear what other families are going through; although I wouldn't wish some of this mess on an enemy, it is nice to know you aren't alone.

What I didn't like is that is seemed to have a "learn to just live with it" attitude. No, I don't think that children coming in and throwing their stuff all over the foor is "their way of making their mark on the house", I think it is disrespectful to do in anyone's home. If my step-children want to make a mark on our home, they can pick out pictures to hang on the walls or even draw pictures - I don't see how having to step over their stuff adds their mark. I surely don't see myself just learning to over-look such acts of disrespect for the rest of my married life.

I enjoyed the reassurance that feelings are normal - such as not immediatly falling in love with someone else's chidlren, but I also think that if you are a rational adult, you already know you can't love anyone's kids the way you love your own.

Most of the arguments described in this book could have been avoided had the step-couple discussed them BEFORE getting married. This book describes a world where you were so much in love that you ran into marriage (which not many divorced people do) and when the "love bubble" affect wears off you are stuck with disputes about money and disciplining chidlren rather than buiding a life together; simply unrealistic to me.

It also seems to encourage building seperate families within a family - I often feel like I expect more from my children than my step-children simply because my kids are here more; however, I think striving to make every child feel as if they are in the family, not just as temporary guests, is important.
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