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Friday, July 20, 2018

Five Things I've Learned in Five Years of {Re}Marriage


We are celebrating this week - Five years of marriage!  It doesn't sound like a whole lot, but I think we are officially out of the "Newlywed" category.  Thankfully, there were no big surprises when I married Mr. Wonderful.  We took the time to know each other well and that paid off.  Still, I have learned a lot about family (blended and traditional), myself and the ones I love.  I'm confident that there is still a great deal to learn, but today I'm sharing five things from the first five years.

Blending is hard.  Complicated. Most people don't get it, even the close friends and extended family.  Unless you have lived with and experienced the combining of two full households, there is no way to understand the layered complexity. Because it's tough, I've learned to let go of some control and to let the outcomes happen as they will.

I cannot manage the emotions of others. I spent much of my first year of marriage consumed by how everyone else in the house was feeling:  Are my children adjusting alright?  Do they feel conflicted? How are the teenage girls feeling with us in their space?  Can I move that picture on the wall?  Does anyone feel attached to this dish?  Is my new husband getting enough attention?  Am I doing this right?  It was all-consuming and so exhausting.  Slowly I learned to communicate, to connect and to do my best and trust others with their own feelings.  Yes, there are conflicts when bringing two homes together (merging kitchen items of two homes alone is a huge task), but when we do it together, we each have a chance to demonstrate selflessness and resilience.

It's essential to seek the greatest common good and exercise selflessness.  Mr. Wonderful articulated it early that we will both be defensive for our biokids.  The most challenging decisions are the ones that benefit one set while feeling detrimental to the others.  When we acknowledge our intrinsic bias, it helps to take feelings out of the decision-making and be objective about what is truly best for all of us.  Whether it's bedroom capacity, budget limitations, noise and clutter or meal-planning we attempt to aim for the greater common good.

It is essential to live in the moment. The past is part of us and being aware of our stories helps to inform our present.  When I jump to conclusions with Mr. Wonderful based on experience in a prior relationship I am applying a mask over the individual he is.  When he assumes things about me that were true of his previous relationship, he is usually wrong.  Once more, communication has been the key to unlocking our present reality and knowing each other even better. 

I can trust my husband. Time and again I have witnessed that my husband is trustworthy.  I cannot describe the true soul-peace that is found in knowing and resting in his love, protection and care for me and our children.  In him I have a safe place to fall and a partner for times whether good or bad.

Above all, two are better than one when both are first surrendered to the Lord.  It's worth is to work through difficulty and join together for common goals.  Remarriage isn't the road for everyone and we were both enjoying our lives as singles.  Yet I am confident that God brought us together and has blessed our family.  I am so grateful for my step daughters and for my husband.  I wish the same for all who are on the same path.

Are you considering remarriage?  What excites you about the prospect?  What are your fears?  How long have you been married?