Love and Happiness in a Blended Family

Black Love: Advice to stepparents for creating a united front.

Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, founders of
Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, founders of

(The Root) — With all the fuss over what’s keeping black women and black men from jumping the broom, black married couples have been lost in the fray. Yes, of course they exist! In fact, the vast majority of black women and men do indeed get married.

Many of us are putting our own spin on how we love and make it work. The “traditional” route — love, marriage, then the baby carriage — works for some, but for others, love comes in the form of a blended union, a lesbian wedding or a multipartner (not-so-legal) marriage.

In a three-part series on black love and commitment, The Root will celebrate Valentine’s Day by taking a look at how black folk are loving each other, the problems the community faces and the solutions for making it work.

For the third interview in our series, we caught up with Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, the founders of the award-winning blog and the directors of Blended, an upcoming documentary that takes an honest and transparent look at the difficulties of blending a family. With a blended family of their own — Ronnie had two children from a previous relationship, 19 and 10, and now they have two together, 6 and 5 — the happily married couple of eight years shared with The Root their insights on maintaining a united front, shutting down naysayers and making their family work.

The Root: Lamar, you didn’t have children when you met Ronnie. Did you have any hesitation about dating a single mom?

Lamar Tyler: Not at all. I grew up in a single-parent household, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. My only stipulation was that she was able to take care of them independently. Ronnie had two children, but she was doing fine raising and providing for them. She wasn’t looking for someone to come and save her.

TR: When would you recommend that single moms have a potential mate around their children?

Ronnie Tyler: I don’t know if there’s an exact time frame, but you should have a solid relationship in place. When I met Lamar, my daughter, who was about 2 at the time, was with me. I introduced him to my son a month later, but he wasn’t really around the children very much in the beginning. When he would visit me, they would be with their father or they wouldn’t be there for the weekend. But when we got into a committed relationship, I had them around then.

TR: Did you face any challenges with the children before your marriage?