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The Remarried Life

Dec 24, 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 Later Stage.  In this stage she further divides this into the chapters:  Contact and Resolution. 
  • The later stage is what we are all trying to achieve.  I am a Cincinnati Reds baseball fan and former color commentator Joe Nuxhall used to say and the end of every broadcast, “Rounding Third and Heading for Home.”  This is where we are in this stage.  Heading toward to home stretch with victory in sight!    
    • In chapter 1 of the Later Stage, Papernow describes a Contact chapter.  The agreements have now been made and while things are not perfect, it is like the family has now reached for even ground after climbing from the pit and are positioned to begin the climb up the mountain.  Relationships between spouses and children now become sources of positivity and encouragement.  More clearly defined roles are now present and so the relationships can now be the focus rather than the issues and disagreements. 
    • In the final chapter, Resolution occurs.  A new history and a new normal begins to develop.  Although some of the children may still not feel as much of a part of the family as others in this stage some acceptance has occurred.  Major disagreements like custody arrangements, who will handle expenses has either been resolved or seem less volatile.   
  • Check out Episode 120 when we discussed the Early Stages of Stepfamily development which involve Fantasy, Immersion, and Awareness.
  • In the next episode 121 we will discuss the Middle Stage of Stepfamily development which involve Mobilization and Action chapters.  So check that one out as well in case you missed it.   
  • 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.