Statistics usually tell the truth, but if you add personal experience into the equation, you’ve got yourself a pretty accurate picture. Stats show that 69% of second marriages don’t make it. Rich and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary yesterday, and we’re living proof that 31% can move beyond the “danger zone”…. but not without LOTS of early on struggles and a little brown couch.
I am more in love with Rich Kanaly now more than the day I married him – but I must be honest. The first seven years were rough! All the books on blended families say it takes AT LEAST seven years to feel half-way normal. I totally agree. There were days I just knew this marriage was NOT going to survive the stresses of two households living under the same roof – his kids, my kids, etc. Goodness, if the books now on the market about blended families would have been available back then, it would have eased my mind knowing we were wonderfully normal.
So what can Rich and I pass along to you if you’re considering marrying again? Three major things.
l. Read Ron Deal’s book – The Smart Stepfamily… Wow, so frank and thorough.
2. Get premarital counseling by someone who has worked with blended families. (Oh, and if you’re planning on marrying someone who doesn’t love Jesus nor wants to be a Christian role model for your kids, drop them. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.)
3. Practice prayer when the going gets tough. I’m grateful I had a man who believed in the power of prayer. I’m thankful on those days when I wanted to pack up and leave that he led us to the brown couch in his office. We’d kneel down at that couch and give our marriage to Jesus. It’s incredible what happened when we’d take our anger to the throne of Christ. I remember it well. EVERY TIME we knelt to pray, a peace would come over us as we got the problem out of our heads and into God’s hands. Many times we’d sit together on that couch – both fuming – and envision our problem in the center of the room. It helped us to see that we were not divided – but we were being attacked by an outside force brought on by the enemy. Prayer – it is the railroad tracks we’d set down for God to find His way to our hearts.
Today that brown couch is still in Rich’s office. And though we don’t live in the same house, we kept that piece of furniture as a reminder of the miracles God performed in those early years. I even think a few places on that sofa are softer, places where my tear drops affected the leather.
Friends, Rich and I are testimonies to the richness of what happens with you keep Jesus at the center. I LOVE my man! And I LOVE every remembrance of those 25 years for one reason or another.
Yes, God is good, and to Him be all the glory!