Hi everyone! I hope you are having a good week. The last month of my life has been spent getting ready for and then directing Vacation Bible School. It has been a crazy amount of work and a crazy amount of fun. For this week, I have published an excerpt from the book I just recently wrote, Second Marriage; An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love.
One of the hard parts about a second marriage can be accepting that your “original dreams” did not come true. You did stay “live happily ever after” with the person in your first marriage. If your partner was married before, you are not their first wife or husband.
For some of us, this reality can be hard to swallow, especially those of us who are idealistic. This book excerpt is especially for those of us who can be idealistic. It is about learning to accept reality and brokenness.
Just a reminder that you can win a physical copy of my book by entering a draw at Goodreads. Here is the link: Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love Giveaway.
We Dream of Marriage
I want to go back to when you were a teenager. Did you dream about marriage? Did you have an ideal in your mind about the person you would end up with? Women more than men anticipate our wedding date with great expectation. We are brought up to believe that weddings are magical and that marriage will be our ever after.
None of our childhood fantasies ever involved being married a second time. When we dream of marriage, it is of own children, with just one spouse forever after. We dream of growing old with one person and telling our grandchildren our love story.
But then … that first marriage was nothing like we dreamed. That wonderful picture we had of our lives together, with one person forever and ever is broken. That was not how it was supposed to be!
We didn’t dream of custody agreements, taking care of someone else’s children, court battles or a stepfamily. We didn’t secretly wish for stepkids hating us, financial struggles and the pain of seeing our children’s lives falling apart.
As an idealist, this was something I really had to wrestle with myself. Inside, I protested, “But it’s not supposed to be this way!” And I was right. It isn’t supposed to be this way. Couples are supposed to stay married. Families are supposed to stay together. Hearts are not supposed to be broken but they are.
Coming to Terms With Reality
Coming to terms with a less than ideal reality was something 32-year-old Betty had to wrestle with before making her decision to marry Angus. Before Betty met him, the kindergarten teacher had been engaged to another man who had passed away. Losing her first love was devastating enough but marrying a man who had been married not once, but twice seemed almost too much to bear.
This situation was far from the ideal of which she had dreamed. Friends and family questioned what she was doing. “Here I was going out with this guy, kind of rough and he had three kids. Friends and family were asking, “what are you getting yourself into?”
Her sister had married into a blended family and she had seen how hard it was for her. It took Betty quite a while to make the decision to become Mrs. Jones but twenty-five years later, their marriage has stood the test of time.
Do you ever find yourself lamenting, “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be!” What can you do? You need to come to terms with the fact that the perfect ideal in your mind never would have been perfect, anyway.
This is a fallen world with fallen people. People are free to make choices that we don’t like. Sometimes that involves divorcing us, cheating on us, abusing us. People die on us and leave us alone. And we grieve all those losses. Besides the terrible tragedies, there are the mundane disappointments of life: money issues, getting old and kids that don’t obey us.
Part of healing is to learn to look at things differently. Look at what you do have instead of what you don’t have. For example, look at how wonderful your husband is instead of what he isn’t. Be grateful.
Being thankful for what you have might sound simplistic but it truly profound. When we learn to accept reality, we can start making each day worthwhile. It doesn’t mean that we don’t still feel sad about the disappointments in life. It just means that there will gratefulness in our hearts, too.
Here are some examples:
No, I was not fortunate to stay with the first man that I married but I am blessed enough to find a man that I trust fully in now.
No, I did not have my own children but I have special children in my life that I am privileged to help raise.
I am not wealthy but I have everything I need: a home, food to eat and a car to drive.
The Mosaic of our Lives
I want to share one more story. When I was teaching at an alternative high school, I got the kids involved in making a mosaic. I obtained permission to repurpose an old table that was just sitting around. I went to an art supply store for educators and obtained a trunk load of floor tiles, all varied colours and materials, for free.
To prepare to make the table, the male students had a fantastic time breaking down these tiles by throwing them violently against the ground and turning them into a large of smaller pieces of all different shapes.
Finally, we used mortar to glue these smaller tile pieces unto the table in interesting patterns. The students loved it. The activity calmed down the louder kids and gave the artistic students an outlet for self-expression. Doing the table as a class brought everyone together.
A mosaic is created by putting together hundreds of little broken pieces from what was once whole. If the artist (or artists, in our case) was to keep yearning after the tiles, or vases that were once whole, he could never concentrate on the new mosaic art piece forming in front of him. So, it is with our lives in second marriages.
When we keep longing after the pieces that are broken and wishing they were still whole, we are distracted from the beautiful life that is forming right in front of us. Instead, let’s believe that all those pieces, that pain, that rejection, that disappointment, that ending has led to your life now and none of it will be wasted.
What about you? Are there things in your life that you still feel disappointed about? That you wish could have been different? Did you have ideals that have been crushed? Things that you wish you would have done differently? Do you dare to believe that all those broken pieces are turning into something beautiful? Please share your comments below.
This was an excerpt taken from the book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love.