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To marry or not?

Posted by on Jul. 23, 2012 at 8:39 PM
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I was drawn to this forum with hope that I might glean wisdom from others who have been or who are going through a similar situation.  I am engaged to a wonderful, Godly man and have been for a while now. To make a long story short, he has a young, teen-aged daughter with whom I have not been able to establish any kind of relationship, as well as an ex-wife, who is exceedingly unstable (threatening, abusive, hostile, unpredictable).  I had hoped in time, things would improve, but they only seem to be getting more complicated.  We set a wedding date long ago, and as the date approaches, instead of excitement, I feel apprehension and unease.  It feels to me as though marriage, because of all the baggage involved, could potentially bring more pain, resentment, and conflict, than joy.  I don't want that for anyone involved.  He and I both came from extremely painful, abusive and adulterous first marriages, on the part of our former spouses.  The end of those unions about did each of us in, respectively.  The last thing I want to do is bring one moment of pain or stress to his life or that of his children, nor me or mine.  I realize conflict is inevitable, but what I fear is resentment building because of the stress involved for each of us regarding issues with his ex-wife and my inability to connect with his daughter.

We are in premarital counseling with our minister, and so far, it has brought me no real peace.  He seems so sure and determined, but with time, I become more and more conflicted.  I know that just because you love someone deeply, it does not necessarily mean that you should marry.  However, since the beginning of our relationship, God has clearly answered prayers in leading us further down this road together.  Even now, in spite of the dread and fear within me, I feel His leading to not "give up".  Is that just what I want to hear because of the dream I have of finally fulfilling this call I have had in my heart to serve Christ as this man's wife?  I have never known a love like this in my life.  This man has been more of a "husband" to me, in so many ways, than I ever once experienced in all the many years of my former "marriage".

Well, perhaps this post will speak to someone out there who might have something to offer in the way of advice or discussion.  If not, thanks for reading anyway.  God bless.

by on Jul. 23, 2012 at 8:39 PM
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by on Jul. 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM
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I can't offer advice because I haven't been there. My ss were little when my hubby and I married. I can offer prayers for you and can be there to listen if you need to talk though.
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by New Member on Jul. 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I appreciate the offer for prayers, friend.  Blessings...

by New Member on Jul. 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM
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Maybe find another pastor/counselor?  It sounds as though yours isn't completely understanding your situation and therefore can't address your needs?

I married the most wonderful man in the world a little over one year ago - and his three daughters, one of which is pre-teen.  I was fortunate in that I was able to build a good relationship with all three prior to marriage, despite the ex lying to the kids about me.  I will say, however, that my relationship with the pre-teen is full of ups and downs, more so now than before we married.  I firmly believe that we will be the closest of friends one day, it may be years down the road but I'm willing to be patient and wait.

Pray much. Listen to God with all your heart.  Ask for wisdom and patience, you'll need it.  Offer friendship to your potential stepdaughter, and wait.  And wait.  Be sure within yourself that the love you have for your fiance is worth the conflict you will face together.  Pain is inevitable, but remember YOU are not the initial cause.  If you are completely positive with all your heart, mind, and soul that THIS is God's destiny for you, then step out on faith and follow your path.  Flurries of concern and fear are a part of being human, and a part of the love we bear.  Give them to Jesus and keep trusting Him.  But if the anxiousness is taking over your life and you're downright scared then maybe you should wait until you feel peace.

For me, I do remember flurries of uncertainty. I kept asking myself "What am I thinking?!" But through it all, in my heart, I KNEW this is MY destiny.  I made the choice to trust, to know that I accepted this wonderful man with ALL of the baggage that came with, including massive child support payments, an ex that is at best civil (how they stayed together as long as they did I'll never know - it's a testament to my wonderful husband's perseverance and fortitude!), in-laws who were also hurt...all of it.  I knew there would be lots of ups and downs and it would stretch me beyond my limit.  What I didn't expect was all the absolutely wonderful moments.  The spontaneous hug from the 4 year old.  The bright smile from the 8 year old who has hardly known a momma's love.  Mornings when either one or both of the little ones come and climb into my lap to cuddle.  Long evening walks with the pre-teen listening to her babble on about anything and everything, and realizing that she just gave me another inch in her life and I treasure it.  The look in my husband's eye when he remembers the hell he went through and the depth of gratitude, love and joy that we now build together.  Literally feeling God's grace flow around me and give me strength to continue when I'm at the end of my wits.  Is it easy? No.  But I've never been happier in my life, and certainly never more fulfilled than I am now. 

Honestly, though, find a pastor or counselor or church that is fully focused on building strong marriages, and is capable of reaching out to you where YOU are.  We did, and I know it's made a world of difference in our lives.

by Member on Jul. 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Does his daughter live with him or with his ex? How involved is he in his daughter´s life?

You already promised this man to marry him when the two of you got engaged. Of course, this promise is not binding, but it should be taken very seriously.

Also, the daughter is a teenager. I don´t know how old she is, but there might be only a few years left you have to deal with her and the ex. If children are young, then there are many years of heartache and worry ahead.

In general, it is harder for stepmoms than for stepdads because BM´s see you as a rival for the affection of the kids. They fear you might replace them - especially if you are a CSM. Be aware of the difficulties that might lay ahead, but if you believe that the Lord is leading you into the direction of marriage, then go for it.

by New Member on Aug. 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM
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Don't marry until you have this resolved in your heart!! I married, certain I was doing God's will. After three years I am now struggling wondering if I wanted to make it happen. Being a stepmom is not easy even when the kids are open to a relationship. I know. I struggle sometimes with this question: if I could go back to the day we met and find a way to stop it, would I? I love my husband dearly, and now that we are married I could never wish not to be, but if I could never have known him....??

Your question and doubts are SO serious. If you are having them now, what will it be like after three years?
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by New Member on Sep. 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

If you want advice from someone in the thick of things!!!

I would NOT DO IT!!!

I married a great Christian man, we are on the exact same page with our Belief of the Bible.

His wife died one year before we met and they had 3 TEENAGERS!!!

We have meddling in-laws (his wife's family) other than that, I stepped into a HORNET'S NEST of problems with children who have been raised WITHOUT proper training.  They do not respect me or what I do for them.  They have their hand out when they want something but other than that I AM A WASTE OF THEIR TIME!  

If I had it to do all over, I WOULD NOT!!!

I buried my first husband, we had no children.  I always wanted children, but these children will NEVER be mine because they HAD a mother!  They don't want anyone telling them what to do, like dress modestly, get in at a decent hour, do your homework, help around the house a know, miserable things they got away from for YEARS!!!

Prayers for you, hope you make YOUR right decision!!!   With an x-wife...I would run for the hills!!!

by New Member on Sep. 24, 2012 at 8:41 PM
I have been married for a year and a half. I felt very uneasy before we married... And both of us thought about calling off the engagement. We both felt God called us together , but had some hesitations. We loved each other but had concerns about all the dynamics involved, including his emotional, hostile ex -wife ( she called DHS whenever she doesnt get her way) and how things would be with the kids. I wanted to be his number one, and I couldn't be :( . I love him to pieces and can not imagined life without him, but I do regret not listening to my " gut" months before we married. It's been a very difficult! Unhappy 1 marriage. We are doing everything to keep this marriage together.
Listen to your gut.... Wait. It doesn't mean u won't marry, but maybe right now is not the right time.
If I could do it again, I would have waited.
My prayers are with you.
Look to God , he will help you.
by New Member on Sep. 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM
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First I want to say God created marriage to makeus holy, not to make us happy. I encourage you to read sacred marriage by Gary Thomas. I am very surprised women are telling you to "run for the hills." If you love this man deeply and he loves you just take your time. I also will say do the Song of Solomon study as well. It talks about that process and how long you should court. Take time if need be, but do not run. Don't stop seeking Gods wisdom and remember that most things worth having aren't easy. Is he worth it? Does your relationship honor Christ? Are you serving together? Attending church together? Praying for each other? I have a step daughter and its been a hard, but rewarding journey. As far as the ex wife she isn't saved and we can hold her to the same standards we live by, but can do our best to love her even though she stirs up trouble. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Oh yes! Remember God holds your relationship together not you. Col 1:17 is a great verse to cling to. Focus on loving them and see what God will do in your life. I know when I have been unhappy because of ex or step daughter issues it was because my heart wasn't right to be completely honest. Don't rush let God work. You will never walk alone. Even when everything is chaos God is still constant. He won't forsake you!
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by New Member on Sep. 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM

I have been married for 91/2 yrs.  When I first got married the BM was a mess very in my face and tried everything she could to destroy us.  It has been a long hard road.  I don't have any problems from her now!  I set my boundries and stuck to them.  My husband had to set boundries and stick to them also.  I am going to tell you straight out it is not easy and won't be easy.  You are getting a taste of it right now and it won't change. BUT, If you know that God is leading you into this marriage then he will sustain you and he has a purpose for it.  Don't give up because it's hard push harder because you know that God is going to do something great.  Understand now you are not coming into this relationship trying to be this childs mother.  You are marrying her father and that child is a bonus.  Pour into that daughter and be her friend/mentor.  She already has a mother and she will resent you if you come in and try to take over.  All children are a gift from God no matter how they act and who they came from:)  My SD just turned 18 yrs old today and she is a blessing we have a great relationship.  I am in the midst of trials working with my SS and it is a challenge big time.  I will always say having a blended family is the hardest thing I have ever done but I wouldn't give up my husband because of it.  I will be praying for you and your decision.  I believe that God will give you peace in this area once you let your walls down and give it over to Him.  Don't be affraid of being hurt because God is the healer of broken hearts.

by Member on Sep. 26, 2012 at 5:28 AM

I'm in agreement with shouldlcare and Elise82.  The bottom line is that marriage is difficult enough as it is so putting on additional layers of complexity makes it extremely difficult.  If the man you are with is indeed a Godly man who knows that he needs to put your marriage as his first priority, then that may lessen the sting of the many heartbreaks you will experience of being a stepmom.  But if you really aren't confident that he has his priorities in order I would seriously think twice about your decision.  I too, am dealing with a contentious BM who will most likely always be in the picture.  She has made it her mission to try to paint my husband as a horrible father and has made appalling, false accusations in order to get full custody.  It's craziness and I am reminded of it everyday.  I am now pregnant with twins and am very concerned about how all of this will affect them.  Before I was married I didn't think about this aspect of it.  Unfortunately, I didn't think about the future children that I would have with my husband and how volatile a situation they might be exposed to. I just foolishly took his word for it that things will get better with the BM. 

Pray hard!  Really pray that this is where the Lord is leading you and pray for lots and lots of wisdom with this decision.  If after much prayer and Biblical counsel you come to the conclusion that He indeed has led you to be a stepmother know that He will give you strength to endure the tough times and that He will never leave you.

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