Baring It All: This is a Serious Post

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You can’t tell it from the picture, but this is a serious post.

Marriage isn’t easy. It’s hard work.

Second or subsequent marriages are even harder, especially since they usually involve combining families and possibly even adding to those families.

Certainly over the last several decades there have been thousands of books, magazine and newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews, blog posts and conferences about how to help young children adjust to step-parents, step-siblings and such.

Where, though, are the helpful hints about subsequent marriages when all of the children are grown adults?

Even in those cases, adjustments, acceptance and harmony take a lot of effort.

The Duppster and I are tying the knot three weeks from today, and acceptance from among various family members hasn’t been what  you'd call universal.

That’s why I’m writing to “bare it all.”

Between the two of us, there are seven grown children, none of whom live with us in our respective homes. They are in Ohio, Virginia, District of Columbia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Obviously, we are not combining families with everyone living under the same roof. And, not that I really need to say this, but here goes anyway: Dupp and I are NOT planning to add to the family!

We are both over 55, reasonably sane, and somewhat responsible. Even at our ages, we are delighted to have the approval of both of our moms.

It’s our children – not all of them – who are giving us the hardest time. There have been all kinds of questions and comments: Don’t you think you’re moving too fast? How well do you know each other? Why do you want to get married?

There was also a question about why they had received such short notice, which we answered by explaining that we tried very hard to tell as many of them as possible in person, face to face. That’s not easy when people are so spread out geographically.

One question specifically for me was “Can’t you just be alone for a while?” Well, yes, I can. I’ve been alone for a while – and some of that time was even while I was married (which can be the most alone time of all)! Besides, I wasn’t looking for someone to marry. Nor was The Duppster. We both thought we preferred to be alone but, then when we met, we both decided we wanted to be married to each other.

I’ve always tried to be very supportive of each of my children, their relationships, their pursuits, their activities. I’ve been supportive even when I haven’t agreed totally with their decisions.

Is it too much to ask for that same kind of support in return?

Have I made some mistakes in the past? Most definitely, but I certainly hope that I have learned from those mistakes.

One thing I know is that I love my children and my children love me. I believe the same is true for Dupp and his children. No one is going to come between that parent/child love.

Yet, as one or two of the grown children have questioned us, Dupp and I have not once considered postponing our marriage or making any changes. Quite the contrary, the expressed concern, controversy and questions have drawn us even closer together and made our relationship stronger.

What we want, however, is for our grown children to share in our joy and to support us. How do we explain that at our ages, it doesn’t take as long to decide whether a person is the “right one” or that, by our ages, people have learned what’s important and what to overlook?

Any advice?

Note: After writing most of the above, I learned that The Duppster's oldest daughter has posted extremely nice and warm comments on her Facebook page; she openly welcomed me to the family. That means a lot!

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Annie Joy said...

Well, I wish that I had some foolproof advice. I have been where you are; Tom and I have six children (four mine and two his) and have now been married 23 years. The oldest of our children were in their late teens when we married; they are all in their
30's and 40's now. This Mother's Day is the first that I heard from either of his children and I have never had a "Happy Birthday" from either of them. I've learned to not expect anything and be happy when things go well. Take care of each other, enjoy your new life, and count your blessings as they come. In an essay Jane Smiley wrote recently, she said that, as a novelist creating characters, she always remembered that what motivates people is always about their own life stories (fears, dreams, desires, etc.), not anybody else's. Your marriage may not be the script your children planned, but they will adapt. My very best wishes for your happiness together! Annie

Jamie said...

Well as seeing that I have some insight on this ;) as I posted yesterday(and I am sure I will caatch grief for it, I have some already, oh well)I just want everyone to be happy we live 1 time in life so make it all you can. God has brought you both together and brought you into our lives and vise versa. I am sure it will all be wonderful. So John, Katie and my self welcome you and look forward in meeting you soon face to face.

Syd said...

No advice but am just wondering what they are fearing. It is your life and as you wrote, you have made a decision. I'm sure that the decision wasn't made without a lot of thought. Eventually, the children will come around and realize that it is your life and that they have no control over what you do or who you marry. Best of luck and stay strong.

My Mercurial Nature said...

I think it's difficult, as a child of divorce, to watch your parents make future choices that feel/are out of your control. I hope that all your children will eventually release the negative feelings they have and accept your new (almost) hubby!!

Patricia Rockwell said...

Oh, my goodness. You're happy. He's happy. They should be happy. My best wishes too!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your very nice and supportive comments. Yes, we are happy; the problems aren't as bad as perhaps conveyed on the post. And it's certainly not all of the children - at least one on each side. There has been support from both sides also, and we are SO very grateful.

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