Planning a wedding is exciting! And with a second wedding you may better equipped to make it more about what you want than your parents’ expectations or social norms.
My current guest, Kyle Bradford has been divorced now for nine years. He’s been dating the Queen for five years and they are now engaged to be married with a wedding planned for next year. As Kyle explains, with a second marriage, much of the wedding planning is about giving your children time to adjust. Here’s Kyle:
I ran an article some time back, “Giving your kids enough runway for your next marriage.” What I meant by that was this is that we started telling the kids a year and a half ago in casual conversation that we were going to get married, eventually. No weddings, nothing like that. We would drop marriage every now and then.
We went on a cruise last year, all of us—all six of us were on a cruise. The girls stayed in one room, the boys stayed in another room, me and “the Queen” did not stay together. And we all went out ring shopping, because we were in the Caribbean and they have the diamonds and stuff out there. That got the girls really excited. So, when we come back from that, I made the decision that it was time to go ahead and do so.
Me and the Queen got engaged. As soon as she said “yes,” later on that afternoon, I sent a picture to all the kids on their phones of me and her with a little caption that said, “She said ‘yes.’” What we’ve attempted to do through this whole time is be intentional about just letting them get their young minds around that coming.
I’m not joking when I say this, our kids, all four of them are like, “What are you waiting for? Can we just go and do it now? Can we get it done so we can move in?”
We’re like, “No, we’re going to do it then.” When parents remarry, it’s like so messed up on that, because it’s like dad and his girlfriend are going out to dinner and he comes home at night and the first thing he says, “Hey, we’re getting married in six months,” and the kids are like, “What?”
And they don’t even know how to process that. And we decided to do it differently. So, it’s been our intention through this relationship for the last five years that I think has helped it so much.
Here’s the deal right, so when we get married next year, my son will be 11 years old. In seven years, he’s gone. We’re done. We may have the next, God willing, 33 years together. We think it’s worth the sacrifice today, to do it right now, so that we can enjoy those next 30 years together
The Divorce Coach Says
I like Kyle’s analogy to a plane taking off … it’s not just the take off, it’s the whole planning of a trip and everything that goes into that.
It may not be possible to apply those principles to telling your children about your divorce-it might make it a whole easier for kids if it were- but when it comes to getting remarried you can definitely give your children time to adjust to the idea and what it will mean for them.
As Kyle says, it means making conscious, intentional decisions and that may feel that it takes away some romanticism but the major positive is that blending your families isn’t a sudden, dramatic, seismic shift. It becomes a series of little steps that are barely noticeable until you look back and think, “Wow, there really is a big difference between then and now.” And if your kids get to the point of saying it’s something they want to happen, you’ve avoided a major obstacle.
The technique of looking at your decision in a bigger context is also helpful especially if the decision could create conflict or involves a major change. Is a delay of six months or even a year that unacceptable when you think about the next twenty years?
I often use this when I’m coaching clients who are trying to decide if divorce is right for them and they’re feeling pressure to make a decision. Taking six months to decide may seem like a long, slow decision making process but put that in the context of a twenty-year relationship and it takes on a different, more acceptable dimension. Do you agree?
Kyle Bradford is a divorced father and founder of the website ChopperPapa, ‘High octane observations on manhood, divorce, relationships, fatherhood, and other intellectual roadkill’. He also hosts a monthly podcast, FatherhoodWideOpen, ‘Intelligent conversation on issues facing fatherhood and masculinity with the people who think and write on them.’ He lives, writes, and works in Atlanta, Georgia.
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