Carlos Phillips, author of Healed Without Scars and founder of the Healed Without Scars Ministries has been married for the second time for over three years now to Clarissa. Carlos has two boys from his first marriage, they are sixteen and thirteen now. Accepting his family was one of Carlos’s important make it or break it dating criteria so he had to find out if Clarissa, who had no children of her own, would truly fit with him and his boys and he had to know if his boys would accept her. The big test was a favorite family activity – a game of Monopoly. Here’s Carlos:
I wanted to make sure that we were going in the same direction in life and that we had similar values and wanted similar things, so I waited for a long time before I introduced the boys to Clarissa. When it was time she came over here, to my house, one night and we all sat around the table and played Monopoly. I wanted to see how well they would interact with her, I wanted to see how well she would interact with them. We just had an awesome, awesome night. It was really, really fun and I said,
“OK, this is the one. She fits perfectly with our little threesome here.”
My boys and I always enjoyed hanging out and playing games together. My youngest son wants to be a real-estate developer, so he absolutely loves Monopoly. He got the biggest kick in the world when he finally beat me at the game, last Christmas, but just doing those types of things is what kept us together and kept us close as we were dealing with this whole ordeal for those years.
After the Monopoly game, I wanted her to see what our schedule was like, so she wouldn’t be totally shocked once she finally moved in after we got married. It did take a little adjusting because she was the oldest and she only had one sister, so when she came here, she said,
“All you guys do is wrestle all day and you scream and you holler and I see clothes on the floor…what is going on? It smells like boy in your house.”
We wanted to make sure she knew exactly what she was getting into when she came here into testosterone land, but she did very well.
We got married on June 16th, 2007. My boys were my best men, along with a few other groomsmen that I had and they were our candle-lighters and walked my mom down the aisle to her seat. My boys were very, very active in the wedding. We had a great time, it was a very special day. It was just awesome.
The Divorce Coach Says
Inviting Clarissa to join in with a family activity was a smart idea – it sounds like it would be a good way of putting your kids at ease and making them feel that they mattered. And smart to see how a new partner would fit in with family activities. I haven’t spoken with Clarissa – she might have been terrified, of course 🙂
I grew up playing cards and it’s something we would always do when we got together as a family and still do. As a teenager, I would visit my grandparents every Saturday afternoon and play cards with them. These days, my kids and I will often play cards too so I see it now as very much a part of me. However, even before my now-ex and I got married, I knew he didn’t really enjoy playing – he would join in but never seemed to enjoy it. At that the time, I discounted it as unimportant but it meant he and I never did play cards together and it was one more thing we didn’t have in common. (Making a big mental note of this one.)
What family activity do you have that would be a test for your new partner? Have you been confronted with an activity that was a clear red flag that a relationship wasn’t going to work?
Don’t forget, Carlos is giving away a copy of his book, Healed Without Scars to one lucky winner. This book is based on the journal Carlos kept during the seven years after divorce and full of great insights. I’ll be selecting the winner at random at the end of Carlos series. Just leave a comment here to enter. You can find the full details of the competition on the first post in Carlos’s series, Forgive your ex and forgive yourself.
Photo credit: Tostie14