The Ultimate Spark: Family Considerations
Part Two in my continuing couples development series chronicling my journey to the altar.
So, getting married again, later in life, offers an entirely new perspective than the first time. Before I met Hub, I shared what I was looking for in a potential partner with my girlfriends.
I told them that I was looking for someone who:
- Is drop-dead gorgeous
- Has people skills and an outgoing personality
- Has to be really smart
- Is kind, has a good sense of humour and compassionate
- Is an executive who understands the demands of work at that level
- Has adult kids so he knows the connection you feel as a parent
- Has a spouse who has either passed away or is on good terms with an ex-wife
- Likes to travel
A year later I found him. After a month of communicating with him daily and getting to know each other, we finally had our first date. It felt like I was meeting an old friend. The following year we moved in together.
The only way I could really get to know Hub’s kids was through living together. They always want to be near their dad. They lost their mom to cancer five years earlier.
Hub has four kids and I have three. They were all in their twenties except my youngest who was a teenager at the time.
What was interesting to me was learning that we had two very different family stories. We each had our own experiences and histories and they were not the same. Neither one was better than the other – just different.
That meant different habits, communication styles, interests and family dynamics. Because our families were adults when we met, we were two families meeting each other.
When your kids are little the expectations and requirements are different.
My kids had been through a divorce, so they were cautious. They were open to meeting someone new but wanted to make sure we were going to stay together before they got too close or brought my grandkids into the picture. They wanted me to be happy and were very supportive.
Hub’s kids wanted him to be happy too. They had another aspect to consider and that is their Mom. I always told them that I am not here to take her place, they have a mother. I’m here as their Dad’s partner and will support them in any way that I can. For both Hub and I, it was important that we understood what our kids were feeling and support that.
Both families are able to all get together once a year for Easter or Thanksgiving or a special occasion. With the kids having careers, in-laws, and partners of their own, it’s not easy to coordinate everyone’s schedule.
In our family, there are three distinct dynamics. Hub and his kids, me and my kids, Hub and I. We give each other space we need to do our respective family activities and we, of course, spend lots of time with each other’s kids and families.
Hub and I have carved out our own lifestyle that is unique to the two of us. We spend lots of time together and travel quite a bit which is likely our favourite pastime.
From my own experience, I believe you need to be strong and confident in who you are so you can give the space each family needs to exist in their own way. We don’t judge – we just enjoy each other.
I love Hub, his kids, and his family and he feels the same way about mine. After almost seven years together, we feel very comfortable with each other.
Once we decided to get married, there was a sensitivity that needed to be present when we told our kids. As much as our kids love us and are happy for us, our engagement added a degree of finality to previous lives and relationships. We wanted to be respectful of that. We announced our plan to get married one-year in advance so we have lots of time to get ready.
Hub and I set the tone for our wedding and decided what we want – after all it is our special day. As much as possible, I want this to be an inclusive process and it’s fun when you have adult kids to share your plans with. They can give us their ideas and thoughts and we can have fun sharing our plans.
Family considerations are absolutely critical. Each person has their own perspective and ideas and I want to make sure they are heard and honoured. We will definitely have a new family dynamic that includes all of us – seven kids, three grandkids, one dog, two grand-dogs, two grand-cats, and Hub and I. The journey is well on its way and I know wonderful new adventures are just around the corner!