By Pam Kanaly, Crosswalk.com
Often single moms let their emotions rule their actions. It’s easy to do. When I was a single mom, my first unconscious thought was that I needed to find a man to be the father figure in the home. After all, my family was incomplete (or so I thought).
Now that I’ve been remarried for over 25 years, I see why 67 percent of second marriage and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. Many fall into the mindset that “their” situation is different and that statistics won’t apply to them. Maybe they won’t, but it would be wise to study up before saying “I do.”
You can be happily remarried, but the path to getting there is more narrow than wide. So why not learn from others who have gone before you?
1. Avoid getting married on the rebound. Many aren’t ready to step into a marriage. The statistics tell us “something.” One would be wise to investigate deeper.
2. Don’t date until you’re content being single. Give yourself time to land again on both feet and discover who you are on your own.
3. Settle beforehand issues concerning discipline, faith, in-laws, goals, and finances. Seek Christian premarital counseling with a professional who will help reveal what’s not seen in each of these areas.
4. Be prepared for your husband not to understand your protective loyalty concerning your child if he’s never had children. You’re the mama bear with her cub. Your new soon-to-be spouse just doesn’t know that yet.
5. Accept that there’s no such thing as a blended family—at least not for a long time. If he has children too, be prepared that for many years, it’s two families living under the same roof.
6. Don’t expect your new spouse to feel the same about your children. He can’t. They are not his blood.
7. Read about the dynamics of stepparent families. It’s not at all what you think. You can’t afford to walk into this without a clear picture of what’s reality.
8. You are not just marrying him. Marriage the second time around involves more elements. You’re marrying his past, his children, his parents, his unresolved emotions, and everything else you won’t learn about him until you are husband and wife.
9. Expect unique obstacles to surface. For example, one might be dealing with memories of a beloved deceased first spouse or confrontation with a former husband or former in-laws. The situation can become complicated fast.
10. Go to counseling as a couple before you marry. It’s important not to overlook the obvious. Pray and ask God for peace. If it’s not there, don’t talk yourself into the marriage. In the long run, you’d be better off as a lonely single than a miserable wife.
11. Know it takes many years to settle into a new normal. Be prepared to wait at least five years before you feel like your families are beginning to gel.
12. Expect your children to have a difficult adjustment. A new man in the house often threatens their position as your number one love.
13. And last but NOT LEAST, be equally yoked. That means you both need to share the same faith, the same expectations of church life, and the same objectives in parenting and of being a Christ-like witness in your family.
Goodness! Sounds scary. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. But I do fully believe that God is faithful and His plan for you is good! When you put Jesus first, He adds great days to your life. You can be happily married again but only when you both see your marriage as a way to give God glory and serve Him as a team. As always, there’s always a “right way” to do everything.
Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in Washington, DC, and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam is a favorite in Oklahoma having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother Making a Difference. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit ariseministries.net and download the FREE Arise Ministries app.
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