Articulate Your Silhouette

Since you can’t judge lasting love by physical accoutrements or initial biochemical attractions, you need an objective measure of the qualities, attributes, and character of the person you are looking for. But you also need—and here’s where single parents fall short—a silhouette of the type of family you are hoping to create. If the person you are dating isn’t good parent material (with yours or theirs), for example, you ought to move on. Yes, not liking the fit between the person you are dating and your kids is a deal breaker, even if you love them as a partner.

Learn All You Can About Stepfamily Living

Nearly twenty years of counseling, coaching, and training blended families has revealed to me this secret of successful blended family couples: They work harder at getting smarter about stepfamily living. Getting smarter means learning all you can about how stepfamilies function, operate best, and why they have the unique complexities that they do. You may know how to drive a car, but driving in snow and icy conditions requires a different knowledge and skill set. Nearly all blended families have inclement weather to manage as they drive (especially in the first few years), so adopt the attitude of a learner.

Pick up a copy of Dating and the Single Parent (Amazon or Barnes & Noble) for yourself or someone you know to learn more dating best practices including how to manage your fears and those of your children, what online match-making sites will never tell you about dating and kids, and recognizing flashing yellow lights, red stop lights, and green “keep moving forward” lights. Plus, you’ll learn how to deepen a good relationship that is moving toward marriage while attending to the children and their needs, how to make the engagement announcement, and six steps you can take to prepare for blended family living after the wedding.

For further online reading browse hundreds of articles here.

Ron L. Deal is president of Smart Stepfamilies™, director of blended family ministries for FamilyLife®, a popular conference speaker on marriage and family matters, and author/coauthor of a series of DVD’s and books for stepfamilies including The Smart Stepfamily, The Remarriage Checkup (with David H. Olson), The Smart Stepmom (with Laura Petherbridge), The Smart Stepdad, and his latest Dating and the Single Parent. Learn more at

Publication date: August 23, 2012