Marriage in itself is difficult to adjust to, let alone a remarriage where you bring with you additional “family” from your past marriage. You don’t want to, and you didn’t intend to, but it happens.
After the honeymoon period starts to fade in the background, “regular life” starts to take place. It’s then that you begin to see differences that you hadn’t noticed in the same way before.
Eventually those differences, along with quirks and habits, and yes, even children from a previous marriage begin to make themselves known, and demand your attention.
The Work Begins
The work of being remarried begins when differences come to the surface. That’s when you decide if you will find ways to blend your lives together to make it work. Many couples begin their marriage by fighting about these things, and their children. They never get beyond that stage until it works a wedge between them (sometimes permanently).
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can determine that you will work through your many differences to find ways to blend your lives and families together. But it will take determination, perseverance, prayer, and self-examination. It also takes a call to maturity; and sometimes it takes all the strength you have to make it happen.
“Stepfamily, secondary family, blended family, combined family, extended family, expanded family, nontraditional family —whatever you call it, it is work. And exactly how you work at it can be one of the most important determining factors of whether your marriage will become what you desire.” (Drs Les and Leslie Parrott, from the book “Saving Your Second Marriage Before it Starts”)
The Remarriage Challenge
Are you up for the challenge? We pray you are. And if you don’t think you are, we hope you will pray until you finally are. With Christ all things are possible.
Your wedding vows demand that you do everything you can to “love, honor, and cherish” each other for the rest of your lives. That, which is past is past. Today is a new day to persevere through whatever challenges you may encounter to make your marriage a good one.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 5:4, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.“ You made a vow, now fulfill it. Do what it takes to make your marriage work.
It goes on to say in Ecclesiastes 5:5-7, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.“
Pray, stand, and follow God’s leading in making your marriage the best it can be. And then you will stand in awe of God. We’ve seen and heard true testimonies of that happening repeatedly.
Step Children Add Complications
It won’t be easy, as you’re already finding out. When you add children from a previous marriage into the marriage mix —even adult children, the work ahead of you is even more complicated. It’s been said about words to an old song:
“Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage, but love and remarriage aren’t as neatly complementary. The carriage may be so crowded that the horse has trouble pulling it.” (Susan Kelley)
So how do you make this work? How do you “blend” your family together? You do it by persistence. You keep looking, working, praying, and finding ways to make it work. And most importantly, you “never give up” as Winston Churchill is so famous for saying.
As Albert Ellis said about marriage and the “art of love”, it “is largely the art of persistence.” You keep persevering and persisting, that whatever problem arises, you will, by the grace and wisdom you obtain from the Lord, get through it, around it, over it, beyond it, or whatever, to make your marriage and family life together the best it can be.
We pray that this web site will help you with that mission and that the articles, links, and suggested resources will also help you.
Your Remarriage Blending Mission
So, to assist you with your “blending mission” we are providing related web site links below. These links will take you to articles posted to help you with your adult step-children. Please prayerfully glean through the information given. See what will work for you, and adapt as God leads. I encourage you to read:
SECOND HALF STEP-FAMILIES: ADULT STEP CHILDREN
LATER IN LIFE PARENTING: Misconceptions of Inheriting Adults
CHALLENGES OF ADULT STEPCHILDREN STRESS MARRIAGE
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
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Filed under: Remarriage
47 responses to “Remarriage Adjustments With Adult Children”
I married a man from another country. We have been married for six years now. I earn significantly more than he does. He doesn’t contribute to our household, yet sends all of the money he makes back to his ex-wife for their children. He communicates with her daily through calls and text messages and insists it is always about the kids. The kids are 13, 15, and 22. I feel he needs to send less there and contribute more here. As it is, he sends more than double the amount of his court order. He always says his kids come first.
Lately, he began admitting that the kids, the ex-wife, friends, himself and anyone else he owes money to, comes before his financial obligations to me. He currently owes me 20K for expenses that I have paid on behalf of his children. What do I do? I’m tired and feel used and abused in this situation. My husband is entitled and selfish.I don’t believe he will ever step up and meet my needs.
This article was extremely helpful. Thank you!
I met (divinely) and married my husband about a year and a half ago (Dec 2020). He was married before and his wife had passed on. He has a 22 year old son who stays separately as he is more comfortable living on his own in his family home and we get along fine.
My question is, is it ok for my husband to still be involved with his former in-laws? In the beginning he agreed that he won’t need to be involved with them too much anymore and that I will not need to be part of them. But lately we have had to attend some functions they had. I understand that human relationships cannot just be cut off but is it fair to me or fair of him to expect me to turn up for functions at their place? His son, understandably is very close to them but is it the norm for my husband to still want to attend their functions and to bring me along?
I have nothing against them but I don’t always feel comfortable. What are the protocols for these things? This is my first marriage. I am 51 and he is 58. Please help me understand.
I’ve been praying about this, Christina, and the thought keeps coming to me, “What would Jesus have you do?” People might tell you something else about “fairness” and your “rights” as your husband’s present wife, but what do you think Jesus would have you do? Is there something wrong with these people? Are they mean towards you? If not, couldn’t you view these people as friends that were very important to your husband’s past and enjoy them as such?
I know with my daughter in laws–that my husband and I love them very much. If one of my sons died we wouldn’t want to just abandon that love and never see them again. We would want them to eventually fall in love and marry again–wishing them the best, but the love that has grown in our hearts for them wouldn’t go away. We would let our daughter in law have space to build a new life, but again, we would still want to see her here and there because of our love for her.
I hope you will pray about this and ask the Lord to show you how to give grace to your husband and his deceased wife’s family. We have friends that my husband worked with (my husband managed a Christian radio station and Ed did too). Ed’s administrative assistant, Grace, was a close friend with Ed’s wife, Judy. Sadly, Judy was hit and killed by a drunk driver one night. It was difficult for everyone who knew them. Ed and Grace grieved greatly. And what’s miraculous is that a couple of years later they started to fall in love and eventually they married. But what was SO wonderful is that all these years Grace has reached out to Judy’s family in love. There have been visits and cards, gifts and such. She realized that the pain will always be with them in losing their daughter. And their love for Ed didn’t die along with Judy, so Grace have been so gracious in treating them lovingly, as she believes the Lord would have her. It warms the hearts of everyone who hears of the way Grace has treated this family. She truly reflects the love of Christ.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to go this far (unless the Lord leads you to do so), but what about being gracious friends with them? They may not be your first “go-to” as far as friends to have over for get-together’s, but when an important event comes up, could you conduct yourself as a warm reflection of the love of Christ?
This is less about what is “fair” and “protocols” and more about being a reflection of Christ to people who have been a big part of your husband’s life. If this was a divorce situation, then it makes more sense to keep a proper distance. But his ex wife died. She isn’t a current threat. Plus, these people are still very important to your husband’s son. It would be a gift you would give to him (which can grow your relationship), and to your husband (which shows all the more that you are a caring person) if you gave grace here. … Just wanting to give you a different perspective. Pray about it. Ask God what He would want you to do. And then live accordingly. “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)