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                What Others Say

“What a delightful piece of work Chuck Lund has created!  I loved reading it and am thrilled by the wonderful insights and pieces of advice he wove into his story..."  
                        Margorie Engel, MBA Ph.D
                        President & CEO
                        Stepfamily Association ofAmerica

"..I applaud the integration of clinical and therapeutic findings...I have been looking for a stepfamily book that speaks to the male perspective...This is it and I will heartily recommend this book to my clients and colleagues.”
                         Chris Wucherer MSW ACSW
                         Stepfamily Solutions

“One of the more realistic and honest books on the market for stepparents. ..An enlightening and incredibly insightful read for anyone contemplating remarriage or a stepfamily.”

                         Susan Wilkins-Hubley
                         Second Wives Club

Excerpts From "The Wedding Was Great, But...."


by Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D., CFLE
Director of Family Life Education
Stepfamily Association of America
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Auburn University

I am so impressed with this beautiful story of life, love, mistakes, challenges and hope.  Although Charles Lund’s story is uniquely his, his experiences are shared in many important ways by stepfathers and stepfamilies throughout the country.

He brings life and humor to the process of creating a family after remarriage.  Many men struggle in stepfamily formation since our broader culture offers little in the way of clear roadmaps.  His story touches on so many of the issues that we know from research and from clinical work are a normal part of negotiating these unclear family roles and complicated family dynamics. 

Rather than a preachy, here’s how to do it kind of self-help tale, his is a readable (I went through this in one sitting!), entertaining, and subtle account that will be an enjoyable and valuable resource for stepfathers and stepparents.  He offers important lessons learned, seamlessly weaving together stories of personal stepparenting over two decades of family life.

I am most impressed with the honest and thoughtful way he reflects on and explains his thoughts and actions over the years as a husband, as an ex-husband, as a stepfather, as a parent, and as a man, who, through it all, is striving to build a successful, satisfying, and happy life, both as an individual, and as a member of a complex stepfamily. 

I am especially struck by the central theme of the love he has for his wife as the motivation to work through the blurry lives of the stepparent/parent roles.  The couple creates the stepfamily and his message of building a strong couple relationship in order to build a strong stepfamily comes through loud and clear.

Beautifully written, and powerful, The Wedding Was Great, But When Does Chuck Leave? is a love story for our time. 

Author’s Preface

I present this book to provide comfort, advice and guidelines to men who are members of stepfamilies, and to men who may contemplate becoming members of stepfamilies.

Equally important, I offer this book for wives and moms in stepfamilies who want greater insight into working with fathers and stepfathers on issues such as discipline, finances, relationships with biological parents, and the role of the stepfather with older or grown stepchildren.

I believe that time is a great teacher.  This book shares the bumps, bruises, and fun I have had as a man in a stepfamily.  Hopefully some of the lessons I have learned may be of help to those who are in earlier stages of their stepfamily journey. 

Married at age 23 the first time, I divorced after twelve years.  I had two children from that first marriage, Tony and Brian. 

At age 37 I remarried.  My new wife Ilona, age 34, had custody of her two children, Kari and Erik.

The children were ages four, eight, nine and ten when Ilona and I married.  They are all in their twenties now. We had decided not to have any of our own.  Although all of the children except Brian lived with us most of the time, Brian was also with us quite often, especially since we strategically located our refrigerator between his house and the school (more about that in Chapter 2). 

This book is written from my viewpoint as a father and stepfather.  My observations or advice may or may not coincide with the experience or advice of others. 

The title of the book, “The Wedding Was Great, But When Does Chuck Leave?” was spoken by a very honest four-year-old.  It is not only a true experience, but also a metaphor for all of the good times and the challenges that we have faced in our stepfamily journey together.

                                 Excerpt from Chapter I

                                 Now Wait Just A Minute

                             “It Is Better To Marry Than To Burn”
                                                    St. Paul (Circa 40 AD)

“A Slow Burn May Be Less Painful Than a Hasty Commitment to a Stepfamily”
                                      Ancient Swedish Philosopher (Lund circa 2003 AD) 

                                        A. The urge to remarry

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, about 80% of divorced men remarried, most within two years of divorce. Of those who remarried within two years, over half remarried within one year of the divorce. 

What is the appropriate interpretation of these astounding numbers? Is it that we divorced men have learned so much from our experience that we can stride into our next marriage so soon, and in such numbers? Is this a macho thing, like John Wayne leading the cavalry to glory following humiliating defeat? Based on the 45% failure rate of remarriage and almost 70% failure of remarriage when children are involved, a more appropriate analogy might be a horde of lemmings rushing over a cliff.

Like many divorced men I have known, I hated the thought of being single, even though there was no doubt in my mind that my marriage was finished. When my wife and I separated, and then divorced, I lost the ability to see my children every day. I lost someone doing my laundry (and reminding me to take out the trash). I lost the sounds and activities of others living with me.  As bad as my marriage had come to be, and as irrevocable the decision to end it, the void of being alone felt almost unbearable at times.


And sex! Yes, the loss of sex.  Not the “sex on demand” that a counselor claimed most married men had (I have often wondered what planet he and/or his wife were from), but the prolonged absence of any kind of sexual intercourse when the marriage is dissolving, or over. I believe this particular loss can be devastating for many divorced men—it certainly was in my case.

The above statistics demonstrate to me that most divorced men return to the fold of a committed relationship. If my experience is representative, two of the primary reasons very likely are:

--The loss of being part of a family; and

--The loss of a personal and sexual relationship.

I believe that, for most men, the allure of “swinging bachelorhood” is a fantasy that disappears upon separation and divorce.

In my own case, the first marriage was essentially over several years prior to the separation and divorce. The fact that my wife and I lived together during some extraordinarily acrimonious times was due in no small part to my reluctance to accept the end of the dream of the family, and the fear of being alone.

Chapter One References




Full Contents


 Author’s Preface                  

Chapter I        Page 15      

Now Wait Just a Minute        

A.             The urge to remarry.
B.             The wounds of the old marriage.
C.             Who is this new woman?
D.             So what’s different this time?
E.              Do you know her kids?
F.              Does she know your kids?
G.             How do you spend your time together?
H.             Introversion versus extroversion—a critical variable.
I.               Your respective worldviews—know what they are.
J.              So how much waiting is enough already?.

Chapter II             Page 37

Brand New Stepfamily—First Adjustments

A.             Location, Location, Location—where will you live?
B.             Whose kids are they?
C.             Those “other” parents—how will you deal with them?
D.             Grandparents and relatives—double the fun!!
E.              Stepparent roles—start on these BEFORE you live together or get     
F.              Finances—establish priorities and budgets early.
G.             Who’s the boss?
H.             Your values and priorities—honesty is the best policy.
I.               Three rules for establishing and maintaining a strong foundation for
                  stepfamily life.
J.              Now that everything’s perfect...

Contents (cont.)

Chapter III      Page 67

Are We Having Fun Yet?

A.             “Latency”—those golden years.
B.             “But you promised!!”
C.              That stepdad aint so bad after all.
D.              Is This How I’m Going to Spend My Youth?
E.              Finances?  What Finances!!Children and money.
F.              Heck of a time for a mid-life crisis.
G.              Revisiting your commitment with your wife.
H.             World On The Shoulders.
I.               Humor IS the best medicine.

Chapter IV      Page 97

The Terrible Teens 

A.              Teen is a four letter word.
B.              Discipline is not a four letter word.
C.              Role reversals—“I thought you said YOU were gonna be boss!”
D.              “Chuck hasn’t left yet?” – I thought they liked me.
E.              My son came to live with us.
F.              Parental guilt revisited.
G.             Keeping the romance alive.
H.             Not the nuclear family.

I.              Is that a bright spot at the end of the tunnel?

Chapter V      Page 123

Going, Going, Gone? 

A.            The first one leaves home.
B.            Higher education—who pays?
C.            You wanted them to be what?
D.           “Yours” and “Mine”—the ugly monster returns?

Resources    Page 132

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