Marriage As A Menage A Trois

Tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary.  We had our first date on December 3rd, 1983, got engaged in February of 1984 and married on 8/4/84.  Friends and relatives on both sides of the aisle said it would never last.  They were almost right.

For the first 5 years, we were more like a collision than a marriage.  The three of us — this Irish agnostic, liberal woman and her 15 going on 50-year-old daughter marrying a conservative, Italian man who didn’t even have a dog until we showed up.  Together, we had to figure out how to merge lives, furniture, ideals and even pets.

I would love to say it went smoothly – the way it does on those made for TV movies about blended families.  The truth?

We had blazing rows – daughter and mother – husband and wife – father and daughter — any combination thereof, was always up for a verbal, vocal battle about everything from who used the last of the ice cubes (remember, we didn’t have automatic ice makers 28 years ago) to who left the towel on the bathroom floor.  We saw a therapist in the same combinations listed above and went alone, off and on for about 3 years.  We needed all the help we could get.

Our daughter was a typical teenager — her room was an absolute pig sty most of the time.  My new husband didn’t get mad at her, he got creative.  When she wouldn’t turn off or unplug her hair dryer and curling iron, he nailed them to her bedroom ceiling with the cords hanging down in the center of the room.  When she wouldn’t clean up her room, he warned her twice before he took her bedroom door off the hinges for 30 days.  When she started smoking, he stole her cigarettes week after week after week.

We were living in interesting times!  But age, maturity and respect did a lot to soften all three of our edges and sand down the spikes of our personalities and behaviors.  We, Pat, Cyndy and I, knew we had made it to a whole new level the day our 21-year-old daughter asked her step father to adopt her.

That October day, in 1989, we became a family in the eyes of the law.  The child that had been my daughter, alone, disappeared, legally.  She was renamed by my husband, carried his last name and knew, for the first time in her life, that she was the beloved daughter of her father.

The three of us made it to become a family in our own eyes, too.  And our marriage has been gone from young and fragile to so strong that friends and business acquaintances have asked me what the “magic” is.

Tomorrow, I will tell you.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Marriage As A Menage A Trois

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