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Words cannot express how helpful this book has been to me. This book has been truly liberating.
For one, the author has dispelled all my fears (which were acting as enormous pressure) that if I don't remarry, and remarry soon, my children would be lacking and worse off. Yes, an intact family is best for children, but as the author takes time to explain in this book, a blended family is not an intact family, and bringing in a step-parent is quite complicated and generally more likely to have negative effects than positive effects on the children. As the author of this book so wonderfully demonstrates, children raised in a single parent household are very likely to do better than children raised with a step-parent, emphasizing the fact that if remarriage is to be done, it absolutely must be done right. I will readily admit that the idea of "my kids desperately need a good male role model in their lives" has been one of the primary driving factors behind my desire to start dating again, even though I've known for some time that I'm really not emotionally ready to date yet, as much as I would like to be. Removing the pressure of doing this for my kids removes a lot of pressure, and frees me up to think more clearly on the topic.
Secondly, the author has affirmed my approach toward building romantic relationships, which is to be quite direct in defining the relationship on a regular basis. Truly, this was awkward (and unnecessary because there should have been nothing yet to define) in high school, but I'm glad to have my approach affirmed, because I want none of the confusion and wondering of "where do I stand?" on a nearly constant basis (and for me, it is constant). This is not to say that I would directly ask a man whom I am attracted to but have no beyond-acquaintances relationship with whether he is attracted to me (though I have often been tempted to do so, and would gain quite a bit of respect for a man brave enough to ask me such a question directly), but it is to say that if a relationship were already started, I would not hesitate to ask the tough and direct questions when I am wondering them. Honestly, the wondering game can drive a person nuts. If I can't ask you where I stand without scaring you off, you're not right for me, and I was so glad to see this book promoting such an approach to defining the relationship on a regular basis. It really put me at ease, knowing that not only is it okay for me to be direct like that (which is my natural tendency but always feels uncomfortable), but it actually is preferable, and anyone not willing to be direct with me in return would be a yellow caution light and possibly a big U-turn sign for me.
The above two points alone are enough for me to absolutely love this book, but their are other reasons as well.
While this book is mostly aimed at the single parent, it also speaks to the dating partner of the single parent. I'm really glad this was not left out. Marrying a parent is a huge decision, and should not be taken lightly. The topic of dating/marrying a parent could easily fill its own book, but is integrated very nicely in this one.
The author explains the vast difference between "coupleness" and "familyness" and that often blended families will fail because the two adults involved made a great couple, but with the kids involved they do not make a great family. This book helps you to look past the "coupleness" of your relationship and evaluate whether or not you and your love interest also have good "familyness" together with the children involved. This book also stresses the faulty logic behind finding "the one", and that rather you should be focusing your efforts on being "the one", which is something I am already well aware of (and part of the reason I am constantly reading and trying to improve myself), but which I think is a great lessons for others who seem to not grasp this concept.
I also love that this book is a 229 page dose of reality check, because boy did I need one. A remarriage with children involved is such a huge decision, and this book puts that decision in its place. It is not discouraging, but rather encouraging, as it has helped me to see that whether or not I ever remarry isn't what is important. What is important is that I trust God and learn contentedness no matter what my current status and situation are. I already knew this of course, but reading this book put that knowledge at an emotional level of thinking, whereas before I only had that understanding on the logical level of my thinking. As much as I try to be logical, it is so much easier to act on what I know, if I feel it also. When what I feel and what I think are in agreement with each other is when I make the best decisions.
I am very grateful for how the loneliness involved in being a single parent is thoroughly addressed. Loneliness is probably the number one driving factor behind my very strong desire for another marriage relationship, paired with a strong sex drive, which was the primary reason for my lack of wisdom or patience in entering my first marriage and which is also addressed in this book. This book did not get rid of my loneliness or my sex drive (thankfully--I may need it again someday), but it did help me to be at peace with them. I don't have to let either be a pressure toward remarrying prematurely, and I can in fact go the rest of my life dealing with them and not be miserable doing so, if singleness is God's plan for me.
This book stays true to God's plan for marriage and sex, which is another thing I really appreciate about it. The author urges individuals to consider reconciliation with their former spouse, if possible, even if it means breaking up with a current dating partner, and also in no way condones premarital sex or cohabitation.
The funny thing about this book is I started out reading it, totally not ready for a romantic relationship but desperately wanting one, but now that I've finished reading it I am far more emotionally prepared for a new relationship, and far less desperate to have one. So in my opinion, this book's a winner.
Anyway, there's much more I could say, and as with most books, I may get entirely different lessons out of it if I reread it at a different point in my life, which I surely plan to do.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.