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The Remarried Life

Dec 17, 2019

Brian Mayer over the next 3 weeks will be talking about the stages of stepfamily development.  These stages were developed by Patricia Papernow, Ed.D.  We will walk through the early stages in the first episode, the middle stages in the second episode, and the later stages in the third episode of this series.  The broad view of this series is to understand that there are steps that the life of the stepfamily will take and that patience is needed to see them all unfold.   We hope you enjoy today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies


  • If you have listened to this podcast for any amount of time you know that we talk a lot about patience in the journey that your stepfamily is taking.  Sometimes we get so caught in the agony and pain of the moment that it is hard to see through to what is next or what is possible. 
  • In this 3 part series we will be taking a look at this journey and what it commonly looks like for most families.  This will hopefully give you a good sense of what to expect as your stepfamily matures. 
  • In these episodes we will be using Patricia Papernow’s 3 stages of stepfamily development as the backdrop for our discussion today.  She breaks it down into Early, Middle, and Later Stages. 
  • In today’s episode we will be talking about the Middle Stage.  In this stage she further divides this into the chapters if you will:  Mobilization and Action chapters. 
  • According to Papernow the middle stage can be quite chaotic and often fueled by lots of conflict.  The differences used to simmer below the surface are now coming forth a bit more often and with more severity. 
    • The Mobilization chapter is marked by the couple in particular will fight over seemingly small matters but in reality it is something else at play.  The fights are more about making changes.  These changes are extremely uncomfortable at times and will generate disagreements over the smallest matters such as where is it best to hang a picture in the living room or maybe even like what photos to display.    
    • The Action chapter is all about negotiation.  It is lots of discussion about how best the family should operate and what types of boundary lines should be drawn.  When these boundary lines are drawn then every member of the family can better understand their roles and how to function in the family.    
  • Check out Episode 120 when we discussed the Early Stages of Stepfamily development which involve Fantasy, Immersion, and Awareness. 
  • In the final Episode 122 of the series we will discuss the Later Stage of Stepfamily development which involve the Contact Stage and the Resolution Stage
  • Just remember to be patient.  The difficulties you may be facing you family are temporary.  You will move along and some challenges will disappear and others will appear. 
  • According to Papernow, stepfamilies who move through all 3 stages do so in about 4 years.  The average time for most stepfamilies is 7 years and some can take as long as 12 years.  Unfortunately some stepfamilies end in divorce, others can get stuck in the early stages, and a small number complete the whole cycle. 
  • It appears that those who complete the cycle, tend to negotiate the early stages quicker. 


Thanks For Listening!

  • With so many things that take time in our lives, I am more grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast episode. 
  • If you liked this episode and believe that it would be beneficial to a friend, family member, or colleague, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.