Marriage – the facts you need to know - 39
· You need to know teenagers can be sullen, moody, difficult, and frustrating even when there's not a stepparent in their lives. You're not the cause.
· You need to know your stepkids will decide what to call you. They may not be comfortable with "Mom" or "Dad."
· You need to know to encourage your stepchildren to have close relationships with both their birth parents.
· You need to know your new family needs new traditions.
· You need to know special occasions involving children now include you, your new spouse, your ex spouse, everybody's stepchildren, and everybody's parents.
· You need to know to stay active in your children's lives, especially if they don't live with you.
· You need to know that, even after you remarry, the pain over the end of your first marriage may take a long, long time to go away.
· You need to know why the first marriage didn't work. So you can make sure this one will.
· You need to know his ex mother-in-law might call. Regularly.
· You need to remember these four words: "Your hair looks great."
· You need to know she wants to talk. A lot. Sometimes about the kids. Sometimes about a book she's reading. Sometimes about work. Sometimes when all you want is quiet. Sometimes about stuff you've already talked about—several times before.
· You need to know women come with hormones.
· You need to know you have assumed the responsibility of protecting her, caring for her, and providing for her in the physical, mental, sexual, emotional, and spiritual areas of her life.
· You need to know your job isn't more important than hers.
· You need to know she needs you to be present mentally when you're there physically.
· You need to know there is a rule, written down somewhere, that says fathers must take their children for donuts on Saturday morning while mom sleeps in. Don't bother trying to find it. Just follow it.
· You need to know there will be days when her hormones will be in control of her mind. Love her anyway.
· You need to know her definition of "shopping" does not include buying clothes for the kids, cosmetics, groceries, pots and pans or buying appliances. Those are necessities. Actually "shopping" is hard to pin down.
· You need to know women feel it their duty to buy presents for every birthday, anniversary, Christmas, and wedding for everyone in their family. And their friends. And their kids' friends.
· You need to know she still likes it when you open doors for her.
· You need to know to say "yes" more than you say "no." This is hard for men.