"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Your place or mine?


My husband proposed to me about a month before I was due to take a much-anticipated and long-awaited two-month trip overseas, my first ever "long service leave" earned after many years in my current job. Talk about timing!!!

Following some excited discussion, we planned to be married a week before my departure date, and agreed that he would follow me just over three weeks later for a romantic once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon in my favourite European city, Paris!! That left us little time to organise the wedding, so it was lucky that neither of us was interested in anything more than a casual, intimate, early-morning gathering of family and friends at the beach.

Ummm........... a little planning perhaps?
Our whirlwind decision didn't leave much time to plan the other logistical aspects of the early part of our new life together. While we'd agreed that we would live in my husband's house (and not in mine) because it would cause the least disruption to his children, it was also because we had already made some lovely memories here. This house is where my husband proposed, just out there on the rickety deck, sitting on our favourite rusty old porch swing (no, really, I'm serious), underneath our favourite Jacaranda tree. And obviously we saw the potential in this house, because here we are smack bang in the middle of a renovation!

But our planning didn't really go further than the "where", and the decision to live here brought (and still brings) complications. Not least because the children actually first lived here with their intact biological family. And I've often wondered how that impacted their feelings about having me in the house. It certainly has, at times, influenced how I feel about living here, in what was once "their" home long before it was "ours".

"So are you staying here tonight?"
Two days after our wedding, we came home together for the first time, and my three stepchildren returned for a few nights. Sitting at the dinner table that night, my (then) 11 year old stepdaughter turned to me and tentatively asked "So are you staying here tonight?" "Yes" I replied "I'm going to be living here now". She smiled awkwardly at the thought, and I suspect that brief interchange may have been a bit of an "aha" moment for her - a moment when she realised that things were going to be very different, that from now on she would be sharing her home with her dad's new wife. And I realised that he may not have fully prepared the children for this (fairly important) fact before the wedding!

Oh dear, sometimes there's really a limit to how endearing "laid back" can be!

Intruder in my own home
It's not an exaggeration to say that there have been times I've felt like an out-and-out intruder in our home. I also missed my own place a lot in the first year, and missed having my "stuff" around, a lot of which spent considerable time in storage (and some still, even now) because we simply didn't have the space, and also because we hadn't yet got around to asking "yours or mine" about so many things. I also had (and still have occasionally) some sadness about no longer living with my own children, (both now adults and living independently). But that's a whole other blog post.

The complexities of remarriage
I have occasionally regretted the decision to live here, when things have felt tricky. It's been difficult at times, and will probably continue to be from time to time. I see the wisdom in the decision from the perspective of my stepchildren's stability, at least in the short term. On the other hand, I've seen my boys' awkwardness when they come as visitors (although this is less the case these days), and I've occasionally wondered how they felt about their mum living in someone else's home with someone else's children, a home that's never been "home" to them.

Many years ago, soon after my dad and my stepmother began their relationship and started living together, they moved into what had been our family home for many years. My mother had moved on and bought her own place, and we had, by default more than anything, moved with her. On my first visit to see my dad, going back to what had been my beloved home for so long, I found that one of my stepsisters had taken over my old bedroom. It took me by surprise just how difficult that was for me.

It's fair to say that more than once I've wished stepfamily life didn't have to be so complicated, but it just is. There are so very many ways that divorce and remarriage "complexify" life!!

What about you?
I'd love to hear from others who have grappled with this issue of "your place or mine". What was your decision and what has it meant for you? For your spouse? For your stepchildren? Your own children? How have you made "his place" or "your place" into "our place"? Or did you just ditch the whole idea and start afresh, getting your own place together??

2 comments

  1. I had to chuckle at your comment "sometimes there's really a limit to how endearing "laid back" can be!" I've always wanted to have a more laid back personality (and sometimes wished my husband was more like that) but I suppose there are disadvantages too!
    I can see that stepfamily life certainly has its complexities, it is interesting to read about all the little things that you wouldn't necessarily think about in remarriage. Thank you for your heartfelt, honest story :-).

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    Replies
    1. Well you can be sure there will be more posts on the complexities of this stepfamily life, it's truly one of the main ways that God is refining me! xx

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