A Year of Firsts – Remarriage, Blending Families, New Home, and Lots of Chaos!

We survived one year!

While fifty percent of you might laugh at this small celebration, the other fifty percent of you will probably understand this victory. Getting through the first year of marriage within a blended family is not for the faint of heart and is drastically different from getting married younger and/or without kids. The last 365 days have been nothing less than exhausting, busy, chaotic, and crazy. Those may sound like negative words to use in reference to a wedding anniversary, but we conquered all of those things together. That is what marriage is all about. There is something ninja-warrior-couple feeling about it!

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We joke that it often feels like it’s been so much longer because of having kids and all we’ve accomplished in such a short time. I’ve learned a lot this year; about myself, my husband, and our kids. If someone were to ask me what it is I’ve learned in this mere amount of time, it would be this:

{RE}Marriage is hard work – full commitment is required.

The statistics for divorce are high, but the stats for remarriage is even higher. Throw in a remarriage with kids and those statistics for divorce are staggering. I’m proud of “just” our one year because we are surviving and thriving together. I’m blessed with a fully committed husband, who constantly says “yes” to us and fights for our marriage. A strong and faithful spouse is worth more than all the wealth in the world. If you don’t feel that way about your spouse, I challenge you to become the person you want your spouse to be. I’m humbly reminded of this. Anyone not willing to be fully committed to someone, through all the bad stuff, has no business getting into a relationship, much less bringing children into that relationship.

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mark 10:9

Change & bringing extra baggage is inevitable.

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know that with my own marriage came a LOT of changes. I moved three hours away from my family and friends, sold my home, moved two teenagers, resigned from my job and started a new career. This was inevitable as we were in a long-distance relationship and someone was going to have to move. Changes are going to happen with marriage, but both parties have to be willing to negotiate who will take on what changes based on what is best for both families. You have to continue giving in to things that may not seem ideal in order to have an ideal situation. This is not just at the beginning of a relationship, it’s a lifetime of sometimes giving in and making hard decisions. Giving in isn’t a sign a weakness, sometimes it is a sign of love.

In the process of moving, we also moved into a home which we’ve been remodeling and restoring. Additionally, my husband and I both became stepparents, an entirely different role from parenting biological children. As any stepparent will tell you, that title comes with a lot of giving without much recognition. This can often be emotionally wearing on a stepparent, which is where the committed spouse comes in.

Every person comes with baggage and enters into a relationship merging two sets of it. With remarriage, you are not only bringing your own baggage but that of your past marriage(s), families, etc. No one wants this or says “Hey, do you mind if I bring all of this extra stuff into our marriage?” Of course not. But naturally, this happens. A good marriage happens knowing in advance that this WILL happen, whether a first relationship or not. Being prepared to overcome this obstacle is essential.

Embracing the chaos.

Perhaps the hardest of all for a type-A personality is letting go of plans and expectations. How much do I know about this? Well, I’ve already written two blog post on the topic, Blending Families & Expectations and When Your Expectations Fail.

Change is hard, but perhaps the hardest of change is in the everyday things. No longer do we have the same routines as we did before. I don’t do Starbucks Saturdays with my daughters every weekend, go on spontaneous road trips or shopping sprees, or even have some of the same traditions we used to have. Nor does my husband and his sons. It’s impossible to keep it all up with four kids, one household, combined finances, multiple jobs, and several different schedules. It’s hard on us as adults, as well as the kids, to let go of the old and embrace the new. So, we’ve started new traditions and still try to occasionally splurge on old ones.

Having the willingness to do this has opened the doors to some amazing opportunities. The kids have gotten to go to more events and activities than the average kid. They are so blessed, even if they don’t realize it right now. Letting go of quantity has resulted in increased quality time together.

[KiwiClickToTweet tweet=”No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.” quote=”No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.”]

Photo by Tony Eight Media on Unsplash

A Year of Blessings

When I look back at the last twelve months I’m shocked by how much we have accomplished. When the house projects seem to be dragging along I have to remember to take account of all that we’ve finished. It is a lot! We’ve completely renovated and finished a walk-in closet, painted a million rooms, remodeled an entire bathroom, restored a front porch, built stairs, and so much more! In just a year! I complain about all we have left to do and often fail to see all we have done. I feel like this scenario is frequent in all subjects of life for most of us.

I’ve spent more time traveling with my husband this past year than I have in my entire life, together we’ve explored seven states. From California to Alabama, to local and distant places. We’ve been to five concerts, attended over 35 kid’s sports games, over 20 events, and celebrated nine holidays in the past year. At least that’s the most of what I can remember. My husband has spoken at multiple events, I’ve collaborated with some amazing organizations and have had several writing opportunities. We’ve sold a home together and created a new one.

We have experienced sadness together, and grief. We’ve lost a family pet and are going through the impending death of a family member. We have been sick and nursed sick kids. We’ve had flat tires, car problems, broken furnaces and appliances, and the list goes on. We’ve misinterpreted each other and argued over silly things.

But mostly, we’ve loved a lot. Through all of the above, all in a year. I can only imagine where the next five years will take us!

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