Successful Second Marriages Blog

We help remarried mid-life couples beat the 65% divorce rate, create beautiful marriages and live happily ever after together.

The Second Wife’s Guide 5 Tips to De-stress the Holidays and Ditch the Anxiety

Whether this is your first holiday season as a “second” wife or you’ve got a few under your belt, you know that the holidays can sometimes be a dangerous minefield.

Instead of barely surviving you can learn how to create a unique family gathering that brings members together without driving yourself crazy.

Between the adult children, the grandchildren, the in-laws, the ex-laws and a few outlaws, Christmas time can feel like a three-ring circus. Exhausting, upsetting and expensive! Coordinating the dynamics of the modern family ranks right up there with planning a military invasion. – If you allow it.

Or you can step back, re-evaluate and create something different, something that works for your family that ends the cycle of craziness.

Rather than becoming an exhausted martyr, running from event to event, wrapping dozens of gifts and decorating house worthy of a magazine photo shoot.

Stop, Just Stop.

What’s most important here?

We’ve been doing our blended Christmases since 2012 and have learned an awful lot about creating a stress-free happy holiday. While you can’t control how other people celebrate or congregate, you can create an island of peace and serenity around yourself and in your home.

You can celebrate the festive season without all the family drama. You can choose to be the role model.


1. Let Go of the Date

Growing up you likely celebrated Christmas on December 25. If you’re not used to celebrating on a different date, you may feel upset about missing Christmas on the 25th.

These days with the high percentage of divorces and break-ups you probably have your kids and grandkids going in ten different directions through the whole holiday season.

Be flexible and find a date that works for everyone who can come. Whether it’s a week before the 25th or a week after, or anywhere in between. It’s more important to create happy memories gathering together as a blended family than to be upset if everyone can’t come on the 25th.

Hosting a family get together several days after Christmas can be ideal. You can get last minute gifts on sale; the children are done being shuttled between homes and you can wind up the season with a low key gathering.

2. Let Go of Having Everyone Come


No matter how deeply you want to gather your family together, it is probably unlikely. Your adult children have in-laws and maybe even their own ex’s that have visitation rights.

(We’ve never actually had all five of our children together since the day of our wedding. They are scattered in five different cities and it’s never happened. Sometimes I think that the only time they’ll ever get together again is at our funeral!)

3. Let Go of Competition With the Ex's

Keeping track of who gave what presents and who served what for dinner and then trying to outdo them is pointless and exhausting. It can be a slippery slope into jealousy and resentment if you feel that everyone is trying to outdo each other. Step back, opt out, focus on what is really important.

Keep your self-esteem intact and know that you are enough and what you do is enough.

4. Let Go of Comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a recipe for unhappiness and can leave you feeling frustrated, anxious and disappointed. It can be disheartening to hear a grandchild complain that they like nana’s stuffing better than yours. Or that they got better gifts, or had more fun somewhere else.

Remember: it’s none of your business what all the ex’s and in-laws do or don’t do. It doesn’t pertain to you at all.

If someone is so rude as to compare how you’re doing things, rather than react, simply say something along the lines of, “that sounds lovely.” Then move on.

Focus on creating memories that fill your soul with joy and bring happiness to your family in a way that is authentic to you.


5. Let Go of Expectations

It’s easy to get swept up in the celebrations and glitz of the season. You want your cookies, decorations and meals to look like your Pinterest boards. You want everyone to feel happy and festive like a Hallmark movie.

If your home is not spic and span 11 months of the year, let go of your expectation that your home will shine spotlessly in the month of December. If you only deep clean when people are coming over then let it go!

They are not coming to see how clean your home is, they are coming to see you.

When it comes to having a blended family, the simpler you make things, the easier your life becomes. Letting go of the competition, expectations and comparisons will reduce your anxiety and in turn allow your family members to slow down and enjoy the season with you.

Christmas is all about sharing love and connection with your family whether you do it in person, over the FaceTime, or just a chat.

Most of all, we just want to feel the love of the season.

We believe that second (or third) marriages can be filled with love and happiness!

You can learn the skills and tools to make your marriage your forever marriage!

Here's a free ebook for you that we think you'll love.



127 Reasons I Love You

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with love

Barry and J'Anne  
Transformational Marriage Mentors

J’Anne Monteleone is a certified Relationship Coach and Master Life Coach specializing in mentoring couples to enrich and strengthen their marriages. After spending over 30 years helping people design and build their dream homes, she’s now helping couples design and create their most important relationship: their marriage.
J'Anne along with her husband Barry Monteleone are certified marriage mentors and help couples transition through remarriage, empty nest and into a fulfilling and successful retirement lifestyle.
To see more information about Barry and J’Anne click here.