The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 23 for women and 26 for men in 1990 and 20 and 22 in 1960. Although I believe that we are much more prepared for marriage as we get older and hopefully become wiser, there are some challenges.
Now that couples are waiting until later in life to settle down and get married, the adjustment to combine lives seems much more difficult. Add to that second marriages that come with children and you have a potential recipe for disaster.
My future husband is nearing the age of 43 years old. Never married. Never lived with another woman. That in itself could be a very entertaining and drama filled reality show.
In our household we have myself, my future husband, a roommate, a grown child, a teenager, a preteen and a very needy dog. There are moments of chaos, disagreements, incredible noise, yelling, crying, and slamming of doors. Luckily, there are also moments of laughter, smiling and coming together. The problem is trying to maintain a balance to include more laughter than yelling.
How do you explain to a 42 year old former bachelor that noise is normal and that it’s impossible to live in utopia? How do you explain that checking in isn’t about keeping tabs but about having peace of mind? How do you combine the need for freedom with commitment to a family?
I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t explain any of this. I’ve also learned that I can’t have false expectations and that patience is key. The real answer is waiting for the man to come to the realization on his own that the noise, chaos and responsibilities become worth with the gain of a partner for life and children who look up to him. As difficult as change is for anyone, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” (Socrates).
This adjustment is not one sided. I have to adjust some of my habits, share my space (even my bed with the doggy) and give in to décor that might not be my typical liking. I have realized that making these adjustments are worth it to me. I see what I am gaining, even if I have to listen to occasional criticism, make changes to my routine and let go of some control.
In the end, the hope is to have everyone connected and comfortable in this shared space and life.
Relationships are never easy, but if you are with the right person, they are always worth it.

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