If you’re like me, you hate stats. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out.
I don’t like them simply because I believe people can beat odds, no matter what the numbers are (I’m a Christian-miracles happen daily and often). I’m not a math whiz, and never figured out a really cool formula, so I’m pretty sure that THAT fact alone may keep me out of the statistical nerd bracket. If you’re a bean counter and love numbers, formulas and theorems, I do envy you, but my strength has always been more in language.
However, something interesting to me was a few stats I read from a stepmother blog. I’ll share with you an excerpt from the “Stepfamily Love Maintenance” edition from February 25. The blog opens with numbers, then shares a few practical ways to stay in touch with your mate, and make time for each other, because obviously life and other things can get in the way.
Let me state that our children are not an interruption in our lives in any way, but they do take time away from quality spouse time. Hence, one of the obstacles marriages have to overcome; how to NOT lose each other when family takes precedence. Christ says spouse first, then family, then yourself.
“Most of us know that the divorce rate in the U.S. hovers around 50%. For every re-marriage one has, the divorce rate goes up. So second marriages are in greater danger. Third marriages in even greater peril, etc. If one or more partners has children from a previous marriage the divorce rate spikes to 75%. There is very controversial research that says if a brand new stepmother enters a family with stepdaughters ages 12 to 17, the divorce rates shoots up to 99%. This research does not include families in which the stepmother entered the family when the children are young.
Scary numbers, right?”
The hardest stat to accept was the one about a remarriage that has two teenage daughters. Guess which bracket I fall into? Unfortunately (yet fortunately for me), Kevin is on his third (and last) marriage to me. I’m on my second. He has two teenage daughters, so if I believed what I read above, I should be closing out a bank account and looking for someplace to live. Seriously…99%!?!?
However, I feel empowered by this statistic. Truly empowered, challenged and motivated more than ever before. And here’s why: I dated Kevin, knowing that he had earlier issues that have been dealt with, he didn’t truly know Jesus (he was raised Catholic and felt something was missing) and he longed for the intimate, caring part of a relationship that he had never had. All he kept telling me was that he wanted a best friend.
I had weaknesses that grew out of insecurities and a verbally abusive first marriage. I, too longed for someone to be my best friend. I didn’t want to go down the “bar” road again, though. I knew the person I wanted to share my life with, would allow me to be myself, have faith in Jesus and let me worship with wild abandon. I need freedom to write, sing, and be worshipful, without being judged and scoffed at.
Kevin never laughed at my faith. He was encouraged by it, and often encouraged me to learn more so that we could talk about it. I would read my bible and complete a bible study and then talk about it with him. We grew in Scripture and learned how some of our behavior was unacceptable. We learned of true repentance, asking forgiveness, and letting God renew our minds from the inside after we accept Him as Lord.
It is through these faith talks that God opened my eyes to his hurt and gave me a love for Kevin that I never imagined I could have. And Kevin saw in me, the best friend he’d always longed for. We are the other half of each other, yet wholly unique and full in Christ. It’s awesome!
Kevin and I overcame many obstacles in our five-year (so far) friendship. And we grew to love each other, love Christ, and give Him all the dark parts of ourselves. So, entering a committed marriage, knowing the ODDS were against us, seemed like nothing, since we gave our lives to Christ and are loving and supporting each other daily. That’s not to say that there aren’t trials and heartaches. We have them, but hardly ever with each other. It’s usually other people in our lives that tend to put stress on us, but we in turn, TURN TO GOD AND EACH OTHER, and hold hands, knowing it’s all or nothing.
If one of us stands, so does the other. We face things head on. We don’t run, we don’t play ostrich, we don’t pretend things didn’t happen. We are raw and real. And I think that the foundation we’ve built, in helping each other through some tough struggles at the beginning of our relationship, and the glue of Christ, will help us beat the statistic that the world is almost hoping we won’t make it.
I love my two teenage stepdaughters. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. Am I? Goodness, no…not even close. But do I live a life now that is honest, fair and forgiving? Yes, and with Christ’s help, Kevin and I can last forever, until we are called home.
If you fall into one of the statistics above, I pray you are seeking Christ in your decisions. Satan WILL try to separate the marital bond. Remember we are dealing with things unseen, not so much the humans that carry out some of the evil. Satan hates unity, he hates love and he hates God.
Newsflash: If you represent God, then he hates you too. He doesn’t want us to succeed. But I’m aware of his lies and deception.
So, stand firm on the truth of the gospel, pray often and daily with your spouse, for each other, your loved ones and the lost, and never give up.
May God build a fortress around the THREE of you, and when you are called to serve, step carefully from your tower, knowing God has you in the palm of His hand. He will not let Satan have you.
I believe in the power of prayer, the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the love that Kevin and I have for each other. Nothing is getting through these walls!
2 thoughts on “Marital statistics”
I find myself in a similar situation – my husband’s third marriage, my second – he has three children from his previous marriages, me, none. His oldest is a girl 18 now, she was 13 when we married. Fortunately, she has been an amazing supporter of her father’s happiness and we get on well with her mother. On the more unfortunate side, we did not enjoy as nice of a relationship with my husband’s second former spouse (and mother to his other two children); although now we all work extremely well together for the children. I look forward to reading more of your blog!
I appreciate your response, and can empathize with your situation too. Having no children of my own, I had to adapt to an already existing family and it’s hard sometimes to not feel like an outsider. Thankfully my husband doesn’t let me stay in that place. He makes it clear that I’m valued and welcome, and my stepdaughters have grown so close with me, that it does feel like one big family. There is rejection from the biological mother, but I have to focus on what happens in our home. I will continue to be an example.
May you continue to stay strong and enjoy your stepmotherhood. God has you in their lives for a reason. That’s what keeps me going…I’m learning from Him so much in this role.