When you get married, you become something totally new.
Two worlds, two families, two long lines of rich tradition must now form a unique hybrid. It is the opportunity for you and your spouse to create something that is truly your own. However, you should proceed with caution.
For both spouses, there are elements of life that must be preserved. The important elements that much be preserved depends on the person. For me, a big element was food. I like most kinds of food, but I can still be picky. It was important that I was eating recipes that I was accustomed to in order to feel “normal.” For you, it may be other elements such as household decor, time of Mass on Sundays, holiday plans and traditions.
The early days of your marriage are the most precarious. You are two people who may be used to living on your own for some time, trying to get back into the routine of living in community. That means that you might not be able to leave your clothes piled on the bed anymore. You must be sensitive to the wants, needs, and desires of your spouse.
The best way to merge two families is communication. Sharing what is important and what you value with your spouse can make it easier for them to understand your vision for your life together. Listening to your spouse’s sharing can do the same for you.
There are two things that will make your life easier:
Be open to new ways of doing things
Be slow to judgement on new things
Your spouse wants to invite you into their very personal family traditions and you want to do the same. The worst thing you could do is refuse to participate. You may like their traditions more than your own, or you both together might develop a fun hybrid. This can go a long way in the emotional bonding that will need to take place in the building of the foundation of your marriage.
Second, be slow to judgement on new things. As humans, we don’t like change. However, when we put up barriers, we close off the possibility of us getting to enjoy something new. Take your time, understand the tradition, and enjoy the discovery process.
Merging families isn’t easy, but at the end of the process, you will both have a deeper and richer unique set of family traditions that your children will enjoy all the days of their lives.