Guest Author - Rev. Jaclin Meade Scott
Getting married for the second (third, fourth) time can be tricky. A joyous occasion, to be sure. Unless you havenít worked through the grief of the failed relationships.
Oh, that was years ago. Water under the bridge, you say. Well, ignoring the pain hasnít made it go away. Itís hiding, as far down as you could push it. And it will come back to bite you at the oddest time, guaranteed.
Say youíre having trouble getting enthused about the wedding plans. Be you Bride or Groom, at some point you should be able to happily get with the program. If not, you have to look at it.
Have you ever uttered the words ďI swore Iíd never get married againĒ? Would you rather just sign papers and be done with it? There are reasons for this. You did all this before, and it didnít work. So why repeat Ďthe mistakesí? This is a sure sign that you have homework to do. Find a professional that can help you identify your feelings. Abandonment, fear of the pain, trust issues, self esteem, and shame can all be jumbled together when talk turns to ordering flowers. You may only experience it as being in a funk. But the funk has names. Happily, it also has solutions. Talk, talk, talk.
If your former spouse died, there can be tremendous feelings of dishonoring that spouse, no matter how much you want to re-marry. These donít magically disappear. How many times have you seen in the movies, someone goes to the cemetery to ďtalkĒ to the deceased about an upcoming event? This is a good start. Again, the recommendation is to also talk to a live counselor, especially if children of any age are involved. Even adult children may have issues with a deceased parent being replaced. Itís normal. Only open communication on the matter is going to settle troubled waters. If no one is bringing it up, it is dangerous to assume there is no problem. Talk, talk, talk. Resort to the old tradition, and ask your childrensí permission to marry. That will get the ball rolling.
If you are a divorced person, you carry more baggage than is legal. Even if you have sought professional help, and worked through the divorce, this is a good time for a refresher session. Itís a whole new ball game. Comparing previous relationships and spouses to the current situation is normal. Be advised, though, that itís not necessarily healthy. Even if you are saying that the current atmosphere is so much more pleasant, friendly, loving, whatever Ė the past cannot and should not be a third party in the new marriage. The old adage holds true Ė three is a crowd. If you constantly have those thoughts, they are best kept to yourself. See a counselor to find out why you canít let go of past hurts. Youíll feel much, much better afterwards. And both parties in a new marriage need to focus on each other. Marriage is hard work. Grief is hard work. Donít wait any longer.
Estranged children is a particular pain that bubbles to the top in a new marriage. Sure, youíve worked through and maybe even accepted your childrensí choices not to be in touch. The fact of the matter is, if your new spouse has a good relationship with offspring, itís going to hurt you to see it. Especially when itís family photo time at the wedding. There is no way to avoid wishing your own kids were there. Developing good relationships with stepchildren, regardless of their age, is a good idea. It may even have a healing effect. But youíll always miss your own. Prepare for this. Think of ways to handle it. But DO NOT keep this to yourself. This is a good start to the new life youíll share, by sharing some of the apprehension youíll experience. If the new spouse is a good match, youíll work this out together. Your spouse will be sensitive to your feelings during the festivities. A shared sorrow is easier borne that struggling alone. Listen to those vows you commit to!
Difficult parents present their own woes. If they disapprove or are critical of the new spouse, you have permission to exclude Mommy Dearest from the guest list. Yes, you do. But you have to be honest with her about why. Make sure neither you or your new spouse is made out to be the bad guy. Stand together, and stand strong. If Deadbeat Dad does get invited, assign a good, understanding friend as the parentís Buddy for the day. The Buddyís job is to keep the parent distracted, involved, and quiet. Buddy may have to keep tabs on licqour consumption, and put the parent in a taxi home if necessary. Honoring them with an invitation is not carte blanche for them spoiling your Day. Period. Yeah, theyíll be upset. Theyíre going to be upset anyway. Damage control is the name of the game.
There are special people who have meant a lot to you in your life. They are people you want very much to share your day. If, for whatever reason, they canít, it can be a source of sorrow. You miss them. Honor them in some way. Dedicate a song during the ceremony. Display a memorial bouquet. Wear something that reminds you of them. You know they are with you in spirit. Having them physically represented may bring you comfort.
There are always tears at a wedding. Let them flow, for whatever reason they start. This is certainly a day that everyone has permission to let emotions show. Take full advantage.
Work hard. Enjoy your new life. Celebrate every blessing. Face trials together. Together, this time, you can achieve