Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Love in the Family

Frank and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary yesterday. We each brought two children into the marriage. I had a toddler granddaughter at the time. Since then, we have added two more grandchildren to the family and a fourth is due next month. Is it easy to have a blended family? Well, it depends on who you ask. I just asked my husband, and he said, "No". I think and say that sometimes too, but it is what we needed to help us learn how to love. Frank is a terrific bonus father for my daughters, and I hope that I am a great bonus mom for his son and daughter. Even though most people say it is hard to parent children who are brought into the marriage via a former spouse, it is a definitely a learning experience. It's nothing for which we would ask or choose in our lives, but it is what Frank and I needed to grow as individuals. No one ever says, "I want to be a step-parent when I grow up", but with God's help, we can go with the flow and realize that it is a way to let love do its perfect work and show through in all kinds of situations. Eventually, the children become a part of us, just as our own children do, and we realize that God brought these children into our lives for a purpose. We are then grateful for the diversity and contrast they bring. The main thing we need to remember is this: "Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (I Corinthians 13:4-8)


Patty said...

Sometimes our less-than-perfect life, filled with less-than-perfect family situations, has actually turned out to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for us because this blended family has acted as a catalyst to help us learn life's greatest lessons. Our sense of wholeness as a family comes from the perspective that each and every child and grandchild in our lives, without exception, is providing a positive opportunity for showing us how to LOVE. What an empowering lesson!

Patty said...

Well, now! Eleven years of marriage! What can I say? We fell in love, and there was such magnificent energy in that. We married six months after meeting and have been ecstatic ever since. Not that we always have perfect agreement on everything, but we do have the same goals. If we hurt one another's feelings, there is usually a rush to apology on both sides because we do not like the separation caused by that negative emotion. Frank gave me a magnificent handmade necklace this year on our anniversary. He is always so thoughtful! I love that man. I'm still intoxicated by our romance and our marriage. Frank took a vacation this week to be with me. Even our wedding date was built around a date that we could be sure to keep sacred every year. Since I'm a teacher, we decided to marry before school starts so that we could always celebrate our anniversary in style with either a trip or at least some time together that is uninterrupted by work. We love to come home to each other and have a place to laugh, play, and rest together. Learning more and more about love every day, it is sometimes tested by our children from previous marriages, but we are learning about whole new dimensions of love. Frank once told a coworker that he thanks God every day for me. Whenever I am sad, I just think of that and my world becomes bright again. We have a perfect connection with each other and enjoy lots of similarities, like our love of Steinbeck, music, and bicycling. Differences are embraced in our lives. Frank is a sports fan, and I love reading inspirational literature. Whether we are sharing an experience or doing our own thing, we try to remember to be kind, patient, and gracious to each other. Our marriage is strong and powerful and has already endured a few tough things because we draw strength from each other. Sometimes when we start to become concerned about the economy or some other bit of doom and gloom put forth by the media, we just draw comfort in each other and say to ourselves that nothing out there matters. Our love has reached a spiritual level and we rejoice in our God together. In our commingled families, we have a beautiful bouquet of children and grandchildren. They have shown us a new capacity for LOVE. It is beautiful to see the journey we have undertaken and the opportunities we have to show each other and our children love. It is an exquisite life where love flourishes and overflows. We are blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy the sacredness of our commitment to each other.

Patty said...

Sometimes in our large family, we deal with hurt feelings and the relationships are in need of healing. What we try to remember in this case is that the healing of relationships is not up to the other person but the choice is up to our own selves. It is a choice we make because it is our own thoughts and judgments about the other person that need to be forgiven, not the perceived injustice committed.