Remarriage Adjustments With Adult Children

remarriage wedding older couple AdobeStock_39591323 copy - BLD009707Marriage 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:


LATER IN LIFE PARENTING: Misconceptions of Inheriting Adults



Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

Print Post

Filed under: Remarriage

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


47 responses to “Remarriage Adjustments With Adult Children

  1. For me, time and Scriptures are the things that work best. My own 2nd marriage after I was in my 60’s was most difficult for the first few years because of my new husband’s grown children’s abusive treatment towards me. My new husband joined in on occasion because of his so-called “love” for them. Actually, my husband turned out not to be so nice in the beginning towards me… making faces behind my back, etc. But in time, we prayed together and talked about Jesus -it worked. My husband is kinder and has become nice.

    1. I’m curious what you’re referring to when you mention abuse? I too, have 2 step sons, who I feel are abusive towards me, but curious if it’s anything compared to what I’m going through. Each of their wives as well are “in on it” too…at least I feel like it’s that way.

  2. I’m a 56 year old second wife. I have two adult sons, ages 24 & 26. My husband has three adult children, ages 28, 25, and 24. My husband and I dated in high school and reconnected after my previous husband died of cancer. The problem isn’t really with the adult children. It’s with his ex wife. They were divorced for 10 years before we got married. The ex wife is very controlling, and as it turns out, my husband is also very controlling with his grown children. It seems they thrive on calling and texting each other about “misdeeds” of their kids.

    She and I were friendly at one time, until she started trying to drive a wedge between my husband and me. Also, she told me about times she’s made trouble for my husband and former girlfriends and ran them off. She thought it was so funny. Needless to say, I started seeing what type of person she really is. I’m sick and tired of not being about to go anywhere, or even watch a tv show with my husband without the ex texting or calling. Their kids even resent the two of them. My husband insists he must answer her calls because it “might be about one of the kids”. I may be crazy, but I’m really getting angry about this whole thing.

    I know for a fact, based on her history, that the ex is doing this to cause problems. She’s said things to indicate she’s jealous that my husband and I have a history that happened before she came along. On top of all of this, she’s married and has a child with the man she cheated on my husband with. Can someone help me understand what is going on?

  3. I’ve been married close to a year. My husband has two grown daughters ages are late 20’s and early 30’s. I’m a Christian woman and I’m doing the best I can in being a step mom to these grown daughters. From the time my husband and I started to date and after we been married his daughters were always asking for money. They never hardly call their dad unless they’re in need. My husband one of the daughters he was going to send some money to them for Mother’s Day what I thought was unappropriated because their not his wife and all I got for Mother’s Day was two roses. We have read Ephesians 5:33. Does this apply to grown children, as well?

    I have no problem if his children need money to tie them over to the next month for their rent etc. etc. My concern is if he was going to give them money without asking me and I’m his wife now? If I’m wrong I stand for correcting. Please let me know if I’m wrong. Thank you!

    1. Anne, you are going through something that A LOT of step parents are going through –the step children taking advantage of their parent, putting the step parent in a very uncomfortable situation. Also, there’s the problem of the step children getting more attention (whether financially, and/or physically) than the spouse who married into this ready-set family. I need to say that the problem you brought out here (I’m sure there are more) is problematic, to say the least. It can chip away at the bond of your marriage. We’ve seen many, many marriages eventually go down because of these types of situations. I would hate that to happen to you and your husband. You both seem like you are good-hearted people. You just need some extra guidance as far as how to handle these types of situations so you approach it as a marital team. You have to know that they will keep coming up again and again and again. That’s why you need an extra dose of help. It’s better to work on this now, than to try to do so when things pile and pile up in it’s destructiveness.

      I highly encourage you to reach out to a marriage-friendly counselor. If you don’t know one, we know a great one named Jeff Parziale. We’ve referred several people to him and they can’t say enough good about how much he helped them to get on the same page as a couple. You can reach him by going to: You will see contact info on his web site. Please talk to Jeff (and perhaps even his wife). You seriously need to get past this bump in the road, which can/will turn into a mountain eventually to the point where you won’t be able to see the wonderful person you married. All you will see is a situation that seems hopeless to keep enduring. Please do this, whether or not your husband will. It might be best to contact Jeff first, and then see how he advises you to proceed in talking to your husband. This is just my humble opinion. I pray the Lord ministers to you and your marriage situation.

  4. I am getting married after my first marriage lasted 33 years. My first marriage was not the worst, but there was no love like a married couple. After our kids got married, we got divorced. Now I am getting married to a wonderful man whom I love dearly. My kids are not too accepting of this and I am heartbroken that they’re hurting. I tried to explain I was not happy the last 15 years of their dad’s and my marriage, but now I am very happy. They feel it is too soon.

    I haven’t spoken to them too much since I’ve told them, trying to give them some space. I’m not sure what to do now, as we just plan on going to a judge. No wedding. Am I right to let them be and let them just have time to adjust to this? I would be devasted if they weren’t in my life. They are my life, but I also want to be happy.

  5. My husband married me and told me after 5 years of marriage he had a grown daughter. He gave me two weeks notice then I met her. She has now been in our lives for a year and she is 42 years old and clings like glue. She calls 2-3 times a day and texts him all day. She writes him poems like she is his lover. It’s changed him as the husband I knew. It’s difficult for me to deal with. When I say something it causes arguments and when I don’t it makes me sick.

    To add to the picture he has 5 adult sisters all older he clings to. I’m a 6th class citizen in my marriage. I truly would not have signed up for this if I knew it would turn out like this in the beginning. I feel alone and heartbroken. What should I do? I pray everyday and I pray for him for God to order his steps. I’m trying to pray and persevere. I love him and I want my husband back.

  6. My husband and I are into our second marriage. We both have adult children. At what age do you NOT consider them your step children?

  7. I am divorced 56 yo and was married for 32 years. I have 1 daughter (married) and 2 grandchildren. I met a wonderful man about 18 months ago. We decided to live together after we were dating for a year. He has 3 grown children 25, 26, and 27, all do not live with us. My problem is his 26 yo has thanksgiving at her house with the Ex and her spouse. This is the 3rd year she is trying to start this tradition.

    Last year our first year together, he went hunting so I spent TG with my daughter and family. So this year I asked him if we could spend out TG together for the 1st time and for him to please not go hunting that weekend. He agreed but now he expects me to go to the daughters, which I don’t want to have TG with his ex wife, her husband, the husbands kids and my BF ex in laws. I feel like an outsider. I already do so much with his family. Have even attended a wedding that the ex was at. I have been to the 26 yo house a few times with us all there. They are all very nice to me. It’s just I don’t think I need to now start sharing our Holidays with the Ex. I asked what’s wrong with us starting to share our memories. His answer was “I am not spending it with my ex I am spending it with my daughters.” We’ll needless to say we have hit a wall. Any advice?

    1. Why can’t you guys go to both places? That way you can take time with your daughter and he can spend the with his daughters. Now, you should probably go to his daughter’s first, so you finish early. Then rest of the day with your family. Talk to your spouse and figure out the day.

  8. I’m a 57-year-old wife on my second marriage (together for six years, married a year ago). I have two adult daughters, and two grandchildren. My husband has two adult sons, one adult daughter, one 13-year-old stepson that only knows him as his father, and five grandchildren. I want to spend holiday’s with both sides of the family by having them come over to our house. My husband doesn’t want to do that because (according to him) his kids and mine don’t have anything in common. His kids also don’t invite my kids when they host holiday dinners, etc. My kids have invited my step-kids, but they always decline.

    I was informed by my husband yesterday that his son mentioned they’re having Thanksgiving at their house, and if no one wants to come, that’s too bad (I’m not using words quoted by his son). I don’t know if my step-kids are being like this because of their mother, or? I don’t know what to do. This has been going on for a couple years, and I’m at my wits end! I pray about it daily, and hope my prayers are answered. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

  9. I’m 50, been divorced for many years and have 2 children (24 and 21). I remarried and my wife is upset by my helping my kids. As I see it my 21 year old is my responsibility until he graduates, and my 24 year old lives abroad and I send her some money when I can. I love and respect my wife but sometimes I feel she just wants no part of my kids. HELP!!!

    1. Dee, Your situation illustrates why it is SO important that before anyone remarries when children are involved (even adult children) that both of you have a heart-to-heart discussion about those relationships. My guess is your wife entered into the marriage with one set of expectations about the relationship with your children and you came in with a completely different one – and neither of you brought it up beforehand.

      Where Cindy and I land on this subject is that once you remarried your wife is your primary responsibility and your children come in second. That may be hard for your kids to accept because you went a long time after you divorced their mom and during those years they probably became number one to you. So, they know how to “play” dad to get what they want. And, they don’t want to be in second place.

      There’s a lot I don’t know in this situation (nor do I need to). I don’t know how financially well off you are. If you’re struggling to make house, car, credit card payments, and the like, then I can see why your wife would be concerned with you giving money to support your adult children. But it doesn’t matter what your circumstances are; the problem is while you say you “love and respect” your wife, she doesn’t feel it (or see it). And as long as you try to just to maintain the status quo you are going to wind up losing – BIG TIME.

      The reality is, Dee, from the little you said it is pretty apparent that the two of you need to sit down with a neutral third party to work through the points that you both need to get out on the table so you can find a solution and not a band-aid. It has to be a marriage friendly counselor, preferably one who really understands the dynamics of blended families; because, like it or not, she has to come to some resolution that your children will be a part of your life for as long as you live. And when she married you, she married your entire family. Just like you married her entire family and those family dynamics will always be in play in your marriage. [NOTE TO READERS: Again, this is why you work these issues through before you ever enter into a new marriage with a person who has children.]

      You, on the other hand, Dee, probably need to consider just how much you should be financially supporting your adult children; even the one in college. There’s a fine line between helping and enabling dependence without working to earn the support. If the 24 year old is in the Peace Corps or a missionary, or something like that, then I can see where you may want to help her once in a while. But if she’s abroad just because she wanted to live there, then I’d say she needs to learn how to take care of herself. Life’s choices always have consequences.

      What it boils down to is that you need to work through ANY issue that has come up since you got married that seems to be a point of division or controversy. This would be true if this was your first marriage, too. Any unresolved resentment can destroy a marriage whether you’ve been married 5 weeks or 50 years. So don’t just think it will all go away and everything will be rosy if you just shut your eyes and keep doing what your doing now. It’s like the old saying, “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

      I know you KNOW there’s a problem. And because you love and respect your wife, you owe it to her, and yourself to find a solution/compromise to the problem. If only one of you feels you’ve won, then you both lose. I hope this helps. ~Steve Wright

  10. My wife and I got back together again, by the grace of God. Our adult children are holding a resentment towards us. Life was really good and things happened. They’re not willing to hear the truth of what happened. For some reason God brought us back together. My wife left and I played a big part in her leaving and the kids don’t understand, and won’t listen. I’m going on 10 months sober now. God is back in our life. But it’s a struggle for both of us as there are resentments also between my daughter and her daughter. We keep going one day at a time and be the best we can be. I hope someday will all be together again.

    My wife and I renewed our vows and are committed to each other and I will not become a statistic again. I love her too much. I wish I could write a book on this. I know everything to do and how to love and treat my wife and be the steward of my home. But I get scared sometimes. I can’t and will not lose her again.

    1. Mark, Wow! What a wonderful testimony. It’s just a crying shame neither your or your wife’s children can see what “really” happened and celebrate with you. We’ll pray with you that all of them will have an a-ha moment and will surrender whatever hurt they have to the Lord and ask Him to heal their heart as well. You are on very solid Biblical ground right now and the enemy of our faith will do whatever he can to try and tear the two of you apart.

      He knows your achilles heal is your children and he’s using them to turn up the heat on the two of you. One of my favorite verses is what I cling to any time I get discouraged – Galatians 6:9: “Do not become weary in well doing; for you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” Ain’t that a great promise?

      If you’re interested why not try writing an article on what the two of you learned. If you’d like to pursue this idea we’d be willing to take a look and consider using it on our Marriage Missions web site. Just reply here if you’re interested. And blessings to you and your wife! ~Steve Wright

  11. Hello, I am so happy to have found a place to ask questions and have discussion on this topic. Gods Blessings. Robin L

    1. My new partner has been divorced over 10 plus years. Grown daughter late 20’s and married. He expects me to continue his tradition of spending holidays with his ex wife plus her new man and her family. Last three Thanksgiving holidays, his ex mother in-law Dec birthday celebration. This year an overnight holiday stay with his ex brother in law. I can’t continue this.

  12. I have been married to my husband for 12 years… this is my second marriage and his third. I have two adult sons, 27 and 31; he has three adult children 22, 27, and 28. He also has 5 grandchildren, all from his kids. There are a lot of broken relationships between us with several of our kids, on both sides. My husband has been putting pressure on me to move to the state where all his kids and his family reside because he wants to be “involved” in the lives of his kids and grandkids. My two adult sons live in different states.

    We live in SC now, we relocated here 4 years ago from Ohio where all his family and kids reside. I have a son in SC and a son in MA. They do not have kids yet. My husband thinks because he has grandkids now, we should move to be by them. I don’t think this is fair to me or my kids, as they are still so young and will one day have kids of their own. He would never uproot himself to then move closer to my kids/grandkids… he wont want to leave his family. I don’t want to move back to our home state… we spent the first 9 years of our marriage there; we only just relocated 4 years ago to SC.

    All the relationships with his kids have been dysfunctional throughout much of our marriage and to appease his kids, he has often placed them as a priority over me. This has hurt me deeply and caused a great deal of stress in our marriage. I do not have a good relationship with two of his kids; two of his kids rarely talk to him, and he does not have a good relationship with one of my sons… one of my sons stopped talking to me. Its a mess.

    I don’t think we should uproot our lives to move closer to any one of our children and grandchildren, as this will not be fair to the other adult children/grandkids or each other. I have fear and worry that he will either force me to move or divorce me.

    1. 2nd & 3rd marriages with adult children are challenging. Sounds like you guys need to live exactly between both sets of children. Way too much drama for me. You need peace in your marriage. Living close to either set will cause more stress in your marriage. Be involved? Yes, but you need involvement in your children also. Here comes the hard part, you said: “Force me to move or divorce me.” He has already been divorced twice; it will not be too hard for him to do that again. Sounds like he is more interested in the children than you. You guys need to consider therapy and meet in a middle ground on where to live. So Carolina is a nice state. I have visited Charleston and Isle of Palms. Ohio is too cold for me! Best of luck to you guys.

  13. My new partner has been divorced over 10 plus years. Grown daughter late 20’s and married. He expects me to continue his tradition of spending holidays with his ex wife plus her new man and her family. Last three Thanksgiving holidays, his ex mother in-law Dec birthday celebration. This year an overnight holiday stay with his ex brother in law. I can’t continue this.

    1. I’m not sure I could do this. I understand the daughter and her family, and would embrace that. But when it comes to the exes… that can bring in too many complications.

      If you marry, talk beforehand about making new memories for your family. Figure out ways you can make the holidays special for your husband, you, and any “kids,” grandkids, and family that both of you are related to (biologically, by marriage and dating situations). Wish the exes well… even visit former in-laws at another time, if that is important. But make the holiday celebrations less complicated and enjoyable for the family you are related to –biologically and my marriage. That is my humble opinion.

    2. (I want to use a bad word…) OH HECK NOO!!! Where is your family located? Maybe it’s time to see them instead. Divorced 10 years? Sounds like a few too many ties to his ex family. Does he have his own family? Siblings? Parents? Need to cut the cord with ex family or you will never have your own life with him.

  14. Good day, I pray every day and every morning. This is my second marriage and from the beginning my husband does not consider/respect me or my children. I have spoken several times to him about this. When he moved in its like he became the boss. He hides the food, sticks, drinks, etc. from my children. He treats my children as if they are thieves, locks the doors etc.

    I am not used to this and I feel it is abusive towards them and me. He cannot talk to them straight then he complains every time for the littlest thing to me. My one child (son) is 19 years old and the other 11, my daughter. He has a daughter of his own. She also has disrespected me in the past. My son is smoking and started smoking dagga and drinks alcohol. He does not want to be at home. It is like he does not feel at home. They do not have the freedom to do anything because he sees fault in everything they do. It’s like he does not like my children.

    Things started to become more difficult and I feel I want to give up as my previous husband was also abusive towards me and he does not want to do anything with my children. Now my new husband does the same. I feel I want to be alone with my children because I stress too much and am very unhappy most of the time. He only buys food and now and then buys petrol and electricity when I ask. He does not say anything and when he does he does not want to admit where he is wrong or say sorry but then the same old things happen again.

  15. I am a stepmom married now 22 years; my husband has adult son. I have been with him since he was 1 year old, now 27. He recently told his dad, if I showed up at the rental house, where they are working from in Arizona, his son and his wife would go and stay in hotel during my visit with my husband, his dad. Step son is claiming I give him anxiety.

    Now since 5 years ago, when my husband thought he needed to leave our home and his family with me “we have a 22 year older daughter together” they were living with us at the time. He left, went to WI, served me with papers and bought a house in WI. I fought for our marriage, did not want to go down that road, due to our parents divorces and we are both on our second marriage.

    The history with my husband is, he left whenever things got too tuff with problems or he could not get his way “one way decisions, like I want to move to WI, but I did not want too live in WI.”

    Then through last 18 years out of 22, my daughter and me were alone 24/7, due to him traveling for work all over the U.S. and sometimes abroad. It was a very lonely life for me and my daughter. All my family is in Denmark, and his are spread out all over the U.S. Our daughter and his son had no dad growing up on a regular basis, and our daughter at 12-18, put me through so much trouble. She got in trouble with drugs and wanted to hang out with the wrong people etc. I had barely any support from my husband, and he escaped to raise his teenagers or let alone be around for his daughter. They needed her dad really bad those years; they were shoes I could not fill.

    She got really angry at times, gave me a black eye, a concussion, hurt me emotionally, and barely followed the rules in our house. His son as well was deprived from his dads time and parenting. I was against pot smoking in our house or on the property. My husband would say, ah let them sit in the back yard then.

    My problem is, my husband does not stick up for me and takes the children’s side 99% of the time. I was going to visit at the rental house in Arizona, for the time being, and my husband build me up, ya come visit and you can meet the electrician and his wife. My husband’s son’s 27 work for his dad’s company, and got married 2 years ago, that I was not invited to also, even though his dad begged him, too let me come.

    It’s was all at the time 1-2 years prior he told the kids, I am getting a divorce and then changed his mind, after he bought a house in WI and missed me and wanted also to keep being together for the rest of our lives.

    During all these 5 years, his son is being hostile towards me, says I give him anxiety, and doesn’t want too be around me, unless I get some help! My husband did not stick up for me, sided with his son, and told me “forget coming to Arizona and be with me and friends, plus we here going to visit my husband’s brother and some other friends as well.

    I still live in the house in CA he left; he lives in WI, when he is not working on the road. We have a dog husky 10 1/2 old. I cannot travel on a plane to WI anymore, because it was shut down. I don’t mind visiting WI, but I like living in CA.

    The decision was not made together. I am moving to WI, it was an act of, I am doing this and leaving my family. He pressures me constantly to move too WI, sell the house, throw in there, well maybe I leave again and go to Costa Rica.

    I was a stay at home mom, due too his crazy schedule, and gone all the time, so at least when he was home for example Monday – Thursday we had 24/7 time together. But often we had many projects and and a list of honey do list, just not enough time.

    I want my husband to back me up and work on his son, regarding his son putting a wedge between us. I am heart broken again, and sad, depressed, and confused. I was so looking forward, happy, to go be with my husband. Just to be told by him, forget it; I take my son’s and his wife’s side! Help!!!