“I recently remarried. I have two children from my first marriage, which was never really a marriage. After my divorce, my children and I lived with my parents until the wedding with my second husband.
I am deeply grateful to my Mom and Dad for their support during the years that I was single. I would have never been able to provide the lifestyle we enjoyed by living with them. They still provide many ‘extras’ in our life, especially for the children, that we would not be able to afford.
Now I feel torn between my love and loyalty to my parents, my need to take care of my children (since they have been the center of my universe for 12 years), and my love for my new husband.
As long as we are doing things with family, I feel great. But, when he wants time alone with me when the kids are around, I feel myself being pulled apart. It feels like he wants more of me than I can give him.
What do I do?”
Betty, before he asked you to marry him and you accepted, did you think about or talk with him about your priorities?
It sounds to me like your priorities are like this:
- Your children
- Your parents
- Your husband
This is a dangerous mind-set for the success of your second marriage. I’m wondering if the reason your first marriage didn’t work was because you never emotionally left your parents.
Leave Your Parents
There is an old saying, “A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.” Unfortunately for many marriages, this saying is true because the daughter’s priorities never switch to her husband.
When I say leave your parents emotionally, it doesn’t mean that you stop loving them. It means that you have a new focus in your life. It means that you now put your husband’s needs and the needs of your family before the needs of your parents. Any good parent will understand this and want you to give the lion’s share of your attention to your new life, while still maintaining a good relationship with them
It means that your husband is your main source of emotional and physical support, not your parents.
These are the secrets for your marriage to succeed:
1) Decide that you want your relationship with your husband to thrive more than you want to enjoy the comfort of your relationship with your parents. In other words, you have to decide that your marriage comes first! Until you do that, your relationship with him will go down hill from here.
2) Look to your husband, not your parents, for your support. When you want something if you are going to your parents for it, you are cutting your man off at the knees. He will lose interest in doing anything for you (or wanting to be with you) because you have shown him that you don’t trust that he can provide for you. This is a major mistake that will have terrible consequences for a long time.
3) Let your husband know what you want from him (in a fun way) and give him a chance to deliver. (In a future blog post I’ll discuss the magic recipe for asking him for what you want so that he will happily give it to you.)
Look for my next post for Part 2 Give Your Children What They Really Need of my 3 part answer to Betty.
I’d love to hear your comments and questions on this topic, especially if you have had a hard time leaving your parents or dividing your attention between your mate and your children. Or you can email me your relationship questions at email@example.com