196 What Ive Learned in Four Years of Marriage

Our Bitter-sweet Wedding Day

We’re much too old to be celebrating only four years of marriage.  But it’s the second go-around for both of us.  I never would have thought in a million years that I would be in the second marriage club.  But alas… here we are. It can be a stigma to live with – a certain vibe that subtly exists in the universe, that a second marriage just isn’t taken as seriously.  And with it comes all kinds of assumptions and predictions about our fate.  Typically, which end up being true.

Statistics (depending on which ones you read) say that 67% of second marriages fail, and even higher when children/step-children are involved.  The older the children are, the more likely the second marriage will end, and usually within the first three-to-five years.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s a tough predicament – being a step-parent. Everything I’ve ever read said I needed to act as if I was the Fun Aunt, and nothing more.  Yet we must cohabitate and try to live functionally together.

I often felt that being a step-parent (of children still living in the house) required all of the responsibilities of a parent, without many of the rewards.  I’m sorry if it sounds brutal, but I’m just being honest.  My step kids know that I love them and I know that on some levels they love me.  But, because they were older when their dad and I got married, we never had any of the natural bonding that happens between parents and children.  It’s just the reality of the situation, and a stress for both step-parent and step-child.

Mark and I got engaged in a precarious time – when the real estate markets were crashing all around us.  Since that was our business, it was a big deal for us.  Between trying to financially survive in such a turn of events, being a new blended family, and not having the support of our families for our union, we’ve had our share of really hard times.  I’ve been reflecting today on how and why we’ve made it this far.

First off, we are truly united in our understanding of this life and our goals for living, now and in the future.  We are united spiritually, with Christ and His example as the focal point of our example to follow (not that we haven’t made many mistakes), we bond intellectually, we share a love of entrepreneurship, business, and learning, we laugh together, we have friendly competition.  We’re best friends.

Not that this works for everyone, but we are attached at the hip.  We sleep together, eat together, work together, go everywhere together – we laugh and say that about the only time we aren’t together is when one of us is using the restroom, but sometimes not even then (ew, tmi?).

I love his company and our comradery.  We’ve survived so many things together in such a short time – things that would often tear couples apart.  But somehow we have this fierce loyalty to each other.  (Maybe because all the odds were against us, and we only had support in each other.)  We trust each other.  We believe that we both want the same thing, even if we believe in going about it in different ways.  When that happens, it requires trust and patience, and somehow we have it for each other.

He’s a good man.  So when I don’t agree with him, I just remember that, and then there is nothing left to try to control.  When I’m being overly particular (often), he lets me be.  He sits back, laughs, and watches me go.  And we don’t take each others bad moods personally – we give each other the space to be, to feel, to go through whatever it is we need to, without offense.

I think we must let our spouses be – and stop trying to control their every move, desire, and feeling.  We would never be so controlling with anyone else in our lives, we would never have so many expectations with anyone else. Why cage the love of our lives when all they need is a safe place to land?  If they can’t find that place with us, they may find it with someone else, or in something.  Our fears do nothing to invite solace for our mates – they only repel and push and prod.  And when people are pushed, they push back, or take flight.

Let us control our fears, bite our tongues, trust that we want the same things, be okay with getting there a different way than our way, provide compassion and acceptance, and a safe place in our midst.  We’ll feel better about ourselves, and we’ll have better marriages.

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