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Origin of the Wedding March; Finding the Heart to Love Step-Children; Winning a Daughter's Approval of a New Boyfriend

Dec 22, 1997

Where did the wedding March come from? Why is it used? You kinda get tired of hearing "tum tum tum, etc." We really need to know; it's driving us crazy.
Jessika Flores

The wedding march that you're talking about is known as the Wedding March Processional, or "Here Comes the Bride." It was written by Wagner, as part of his opera, "Lohengren." It was first used at a wedding during the Civil War. The original manuscript can be viewed at the Karpeles Manuscript Library. More information can be found at their web site, at The other famous wedding march is the Wedding March Recessional, from Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This manuscript is also kept at the above museum.

I need help. I am torn between what I know is right and what I feel. I have been married for nine months and we have been having ongoing problems. My husband has been married before which resulted in three, count them three, children. He doesn't see them often but when he does he expects me to be with him. To be honest, they mean nothing to me. I do not wish to spend time with them at all. It is not that I don't like them. I do. It is just that my own time should be my own time. It is almost like I am fighting with myself.

I know I shouldn't feel this way, but how do I stop these feelings? I dread the thoughts of them [the children] coming, especially for the night. How can I overcome this? I just want them to disappear. Isn't that awful? Help me. Help my marriage. Help !!!!! What can I do to get rid of these feelings? I really love my husband and most of the time our marriage is great. What can I do??
Julie Mckinnon

I think that the burden that step-parents have to overcome is far greater than the difficulties of physical parents. It's very difficult to adequately love our own children -- caring for children that are not ours is even harder. Mothers have nine months to gain a heartistic relationship with their soon-to-be-born babies -- a gradual and mysterious process that often surprises them in its intensity and results. Women who had no desire to have children suddenly find themselves overwhelmed with love for their new infants.

Step-mothers have no physical relationship with the husband's children, and thus have to deal with the fact that they may not feel very parental to the children. There may also be complicated feelings toward the children caused by the fact that their mother is the husband's former wife -- who probably isn't on very good terms with the step-mother.

You also didn't marry the children -- you married your husband after falling in love with him. Having to love his children is a new, and frankly, a sacrificial burden that probably wasn't in your mind at all when you met him. The question then, is how to develop the heart that can love his children with a sense of genuine joy and gratitude.

Parents often fail at this, even when the children are their own. Step-parents really do have a hard job. I believe, though, that it is possible to develop the ability to care for and love step-children, just as it's possible to love any children.

The real issue is the quality of parental love that we are able to feel and express. A person of parental love is very much like a furnace. A furnace casts its warmth on anyone within its range, because that's the nature of furnaces. The heat springs forth from within the furnace as a creative force. Everyone has the capability to become a creative force of parental love. Everyone has the ability to freely give to others, serve others and love others. It's our nature to want to bring joy to others, and to feel joy ourselves, by giving and receiving love. That's the good news.

The bad news is that even furnaces have to be stoked with fuel, and it's a sad fact that human beings regularly run out of fuel when it comes to loving others. When we're out of gas, we just can't seem to muster up the strength of heart to express love to those who require a "parental" heart.

How do we refuel ourselves? To me, this question can only be answered by asking the 64 million dollar question, "Where does love come from?" No one has seen love, but it's still commonly regarded as the most powerful force in the universe. I think that it's very logical to say that love -- and most especially unselfish, parental love -- comes from God. If so, a practical method to use to re-stoke our internal furnace of love and heart would be to simply pray that we can love others more. If all of us, from any and every religion, knelt down each day in repentance, and prayed to love others more, serve others more, and give to others more, families -- and the world, would be far more peaceful and harmonious.

By the mere fact that you wrote such a heartfelt letter, one can see that you, too, have the capacity to give the beautiful part of your heart to your husband's children. Your heart just needs to be encouraged a bit, and watered. Prayer will do that.

I have a 14 year old daughter and have been divorced for 3 years. She is very UNACCEPTING of me dating and going out. I have become seriously involved with a man who she says she really likes. But, when he jokes around with her, she gets very upset and says hateful things to him and to me.

How and what can I do to explain (without getting in a fight with her) that this is who I want the relationship to work out with? He is very understanding and tells me not to worry, that it won't affect our relationship, but I have my doubts. Thanks!
Liz H.

It may be that the type of joking he's doing with your daughter makes her uncomfortable. One tact that you can take is to work with him to see what he can do to win her heart and help her to feel that he cares about her. What are her hobbies? Perhaps he can participate with you in helping her with her favorite activity. He may also wish to give her a small gift once or twice.

You can also talk honestly with her about your new boyfriend, and the whole issue of getting married. At fourteen, she would feel honored to be trusted by you, and be treated as an ally in the quest to establish a new family. Ultimately, your love for her, and his love for her, as her new step-dad, should win her over.

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

(Comments are moderated and must be approved.)
Peter Falkenberg Brown
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