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DIANE MEDVED: New Grandchild: What that Says About a Marriage

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My husband Michael and I have been married for 32 years, which seems impossible because I don’t feel I’m 32 years old yet.

But when your baby gets married and then does something astounding, like have a child of his own, it’s tough to deny you’ve got some years behind you.

IMG_4056I’m in the midst of promoting my new book, Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage, and often hosts of the several radio interviews I’m doing daily will ask why people should stick it out through tough times.

Part of my answer is…Julia Rose. That’s the name of my new…tough to say it…granddaughter. Now, you can say that plenty of divorced people have grandchildren, and I’m sure they’re as tickled as I am with their sweet little offspring. But nobody can share the joy of this new little person better than the partner whose commitment and constancy brought you to this point together.

Together, couples who have lasted a generation share a special bond, because they continue to form the basis and model for their child’s parenting–which is the parenting they accomplished together, whether imperfectly or not. The mere fact that they–we–now look at each other incredulously, realizing we were instrumental in the existence of a new family, is a reward directly derived from our tenacity.

We made it this far as a team, and that is gratifying in a way that validates and confirms the joys and difficulties we’ve experienced.

When couples are angry, disgusted, bored and betrayed, they look at the “greener grass” as enticing, with two erroneous assumptions: that they’ll find a much better romantic partner, and that the problems they’re now mired in will be over if they just end the marriage.

Well, my divorced psychology clients told me that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find…another bunch of frogs. When you come to a second marriage, you’re carrying with you all the “baggage” that makes joining with you complex–relationships with children, financial complications, professional expectations–and then you have to agreeably mesh all that with the same or more baggage lugged by a potential partner. Not so easy, especially because older and “wiser” divorcees tend to be pickier about who they choose. They don’t want to blithely slip into another flawed relationship.

As far as solving the problems plaguing the marriage, perhaps some bugaboos will be removed–usually replaced with a raft of new problems if children are involved. You can never divorce the other parent of your children, who you might have to see several times a week if you share custody. And if your kids are grown, you’ll always have those awkward family occasions where the kids will have to choose between you. Christmas at Mom’s and Thanksgiving at Dad’s? Both of you walking your bride down the aisle? And the complications with blended families radiate out from there.

When the blessed event of a grandchild happens, rather than sharing those moments with her together, you’ll take turns (if things are amicable). Or perhaps one or the other grandparent will end up more of a ghost figure, removed from the scene.

After staying together 32 years, my husband and I have a lot of happy memories (most captured by my incessant photo-taking) and a few tough times and trials. But that’s brought us an unshakeable bond and a deep satisfaction that can only be created via endurance and time. That’s how you fashion a soul-mate, which research shows is the number one desire Millenials have for their marriages.

A traditional Jewish blessing for a new couple is that they live to see and enjoy their grandchildren. That’s wonderful in itself, but the blessing is in enjoying them together.

 

Dr. Diane Medved is the author of the new book  Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage (Hardcover/Audiobook). Learn more at DianeMedved.com.
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Comments (6)

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  1. Dee & Kurt Wood  •  Apr 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    You write beautifully & truthfully… I only wish the divorced family members in my world would have understood the truth in your words. Divorce is so tragic; the whole family has forever heartbreak… especially progeny, no matter the age.

  2. Greg  •  Apr 8, 2017 at 2:27 am

    We are 36 years, 6 children, and 15 grandchildren down this road and couldn't agree with you more! It's hard to think of a marital problem that isn't magnified by a divorce. Marriage is a sacred commitment and is more important than the petty problems we encounter along the way.
    Thank-you, Dr. D!

    • Anne Nelson  •  Apr 28, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Greg, I could not agree more, I have been there.

  3. radio newser  •  Apr 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Medved show is not live this week

  4. Debbie Puleo  •  Apr 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you for so eloquently stating what I think must of us feel in our hearts. The ups and downs of marriage and of life in general are shared experiences between two people which bind them together. It makes me sad when couples separate and divorce because there will always be a connection that given mutual commitment could have grown stronger .

  5. Anne Nelson  •  Apr 28, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    You are so right about this Diane. I divorced when my children were grown. I spent 15 years alone working on a career before I found "Mr. Right". Soon after this, at 38 my son married. Two years later I had the most wonderful grandson in the world! I have regretted my decision to marry a second time for the reasons you have stated. I have thought many times; "We", my first husband and I, could be enjoying our grandson together. And yes, I will always consider my first husband, the father of our two children, my family. I have discussed this with "Mr. Right" and he feels the same about his first marriage. We both regret our failure to have been more mature and to have mastered the skills it takes to keep a marriage and a family together.

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