I've really enjoyed reading the comments I received to the previous two posts on this subject. I always appreciate all the things I learn from everyone here.
I'd like to tell you a bit about my husband, J, and me, and our life together. I've just made a cup of tea; won't you pull up a chair and join me?
J and I have been married for almost four years. This is his first marriage and my second. He had never been married before and had no children. I had been previously married for over 20 years and had a bunch of kids (let's just say somewhere between 5 and 10). I know what you're thinking.....we thought it too. So did many of J's friends.
She has how many kids? How long was she married for? Are you crazy, Man?
Hey, J, Sadie sounds like a great gal, but you really should think this through. That's an awful lot to handle. In other words, "Run like hell and don't look back!"
Now, let me say here that most of my kids were already grown and out of the house when J and I met. Only the youngest three were still home.
To be fair, I sat down with J a few months into our relationship and told him I didn't know what the future held in terms of my youngest children. The reason for this is they all had very difficult beginnings before coming to live with me and my first husband (they are adopted). Although they had made great strides since that time, they also had many issues and challenges. So I wanted to be completely honest with J about what he was getting into. I wanted him to be fully aware, and if he felt the uncertainty of what we may have to deal with down the road was too great, I completely understood. Essentially, I was trying politely to show him the door. For his own good.
J didn't take my good intentions the way I'd hoped. He thought I was inferring that he didn't have what it took to help me with these kids, that he was somehow lacking. He thought I might go out and look for someone else who did. (We now laugh every time we remember that night -- that here I was trying to save him, and his male ego was hurt!).
You don't understand, J. I'm telling you this because you are one in a million. You're a wonderful man, and there could really be a tough road ahead where these children are concerned, and it wouldn't be fair or honest of me not to let you know that. It's begun to dawn on me that perhaps I should not be in any long-term committed relationship, and certainly not a marriage, if that would ever come my way, because what I'm facing here is a huge unknown. All the adopted children have special needs.
J was not daunted. Not one bit. He told me he was here and not going anywhere. He said he believed these kids were worth fighting for and wanted to help me.
It wasn't very long after that that we declared our love for each other. We were married a year later.
The kids were very excited about the whole thing (they started asking us if we were getting married after we first told them we were dating). I felt so blessed to have this wonderful man...my new husband...in my life...in all our lives.
I wish I could say that by giving our children a loving, stable home, they have grown leaps and bounds and are not struggling nearly as much as they were in the beginning. This is true of our youngest child, but not the older three.
Over the years, our second, third, and fourth youngest children have been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders. Three of them are not living at home right now due to unsafe behaviors. Their futures are uncertain. We have many challenging and difficult decisions ahead to make regarding their treatment, and we've had to fight the broken mental health system every step of the way this past year in order to get them the proper help they need.
In the midst of this, J and I are doing our best to carry on. To tell you that it has been difficult to maintain consistency in TTWD is a vast understatement. Yet we need it. More now than ever. It helps keep us grounded and centered. It keeps us closely connected to each other.
There is so much we do not have control over where our children are concerned, but it brings us both comfort and a measure of peace to know that J has control of me and our relationship. I feel so safe with him at the helm. He feels good knowing he is doing everything he can to cherish, guide, and protect me.
Yes, TTWD is a stabilizing force in our relationship -- in our marriage.
We've both made many changes since first starting this journey three years ago, and we have many more to make. Life is ever evolving, and change is inevitable. I want to be my best self for this wonderful man I love. TTWD, although not by any stretch of the imagination an easy road, helps me to be my best self. The same is true for J.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you. It's so good to know there are many fellow sojourners here to lend support and encouragement.
I'm really glad to be here :)