Second Time Marriages
Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. ~ Samuel Johnson
Did your first marriage end in divorce? Did it leave you shaken and unsure about yourself, or life, or about marriage? Would you hesitate to enter into marriage again? Have you learned what you were supposed to learn so that a second marriage can be more successful?
Frank Sinatra had a hit song entitled The Second Time Around, and the lyrics said:
Love is lovelier, the second time around
Just as wonderful, with both feet on the ground
You might not feel that way about divorce and remarriage, but let’s examine the idea and see if we Super Moms might just be entitled to a wonderful second experience with marriage if the first one ended tragically in divorce.
What Am I Supposed to Learn?
This question is the critical element in a progression toward a second, more successful marriage. Let’s be honest: you were responsible for some percentage of the problems of your first marriage. It’s very easy to point at your ex-husband and make a long list of his mistakes, but can you honestly say you were blameless?
Even if only 10% of the problem was yours to own up to, you need to spend ALL of your time fixing that 10% so that it does not reoccur. Those problems do not disappear magically. You have to work them away! Don’t drag your first marriage problems into your second marriage. Trust me: it will have it’s own problems!
If you knew some statistics about second marriages before you entered into one, you might be better prepared for problems.
• More second marriages fail than first marriages!
• Few people check out their assumptions about their potential second mate, and are dismayed to discover their assumptions were wrong!
• Only 25% of those who remarry ever read a book, work in therapy, or seek any kind of counseling to prepare for remarriage.
• Many folks enter into a second marriage with the attitude Let’s get married and work out the details afterwards. Oh no!
• Many women re-marry because of their inability to recognize a fascinating and deceptive lure.
• The time and space for living alone does not prepare you for a second marriage.
• It takes skills to make a marriage successful. Do you know them?
• Thinking I won’t make mistakes again does not keep you from making them.
• Unresolved pain from your first marriage will affect your 2nd one.
• Forcing children to take sides in a divorce affect a 2nd marriage.
• The role of stepfathers and stepmothers has to be clearly defined and accepted by all involved, especially the children.
There’s a Lot to be Considered BEFORE You Remarry
Super Moms, if you’re considering getting married again, please work through these issues either on your own or with your new mate before you walk down that aisle.
• Talk about the problems in the first marriage – yours and his. Discuss how you’ll avoid them. Don’t hesitate to utilize the wisdom of a counselor or religious leader. Generally, family members are not objective.
• Learn what will make your new mate happy and satisfied and resolve to put a little effort into making that happen. We love courtship when everyone is making an effort. We oftentimes let that slide afterwards. It’s better to keep it fresh and put him/her in first place. It will take some work, but you can do it.
• Conversations about your individual dreams or goals are helpful, and also to make together dreams or goals.
• Openly communicate about intimacy – preferences, skills, and satisfactions.
• Release the past. The past has passed, so work together to be here now. Forgiveness of yourself and your first mate will help you let go of that first marriage, it’s mistakes, and the divorce.
• Practice patience. We all make mistakes. You do. He does. Marital bliss does not occur instantaneously and it’s foolish to expect that. If you two are learning, be happy and continue on. Remember, fantasy land only exists at Disneyland. With all the issues a second marriage brings along, don’t let yourself go to fantasy land. Be more grounded.
• Create Alone Time. I can’t stress this too much. You will need time just for the two of you, alone together, to talk, to laugh, to relax and enjoy – so that you can both enter into the fray again. It might be Date Night; it might just be a cup of coffee out on the patio once a week. It’s important to create something that will work for each of you in your new situation so that your marriage can succeed.
Second marriages require full consideration, but if you’ve jumped in without looking, it’s not too late to create success. Remember to say I love you at least once a day – despite the challenges, the problems, the goofy things that happen with your children. It’s a confirmation to him or her that you are committed to it for the long haul. Maybe more than once a day might be a better idea!
The first step to a healthy remarriage is you. ~ Jeff and Judi Parziale