The key ingredients to a successful remarriage are selecting a partner who is realistic about the challenges ahead and willing to work through the inevitable hard times of blending families. Although second marriages have a higher divorce rate that first ones, they can be even better than firsts if you approach your partnership with your eyes wide open and adopt a mindset of “We’re in this together.”
It’s normal to feel disillusioned about marriage if you’ve endured a divorce and gone through emotional pain and perhaps some financial loss. Then there’s the available census data telling us that second marriages have a 65% divorce rate compared to 50% for first time marriages.
But in spite of these facts, you might decide that you’re up for the challenge that comes with a second marriage. However, it’s key to pause and examine what went wrong in your first marriage – and create a vision for a successful second one.
Kylie and Tom have been remarried for ten years and each have two children from their first marriages. It wasn’t always easy to blend their four children and they dealt with rivalries between their kids. Tom’s two sons and Kylie’s two daughters don’t always get along but are learning to share spaces in their home on the days that they all reside together (all of them spend time with their biological parents).
Create a Vision for Your Remarriage
Creating a positive vision for remarriage is an important first step to making your second marriage a success. Everyone has baggage that can cause them to sabotage a new relationship if they haven’t healed and worked through the issues that contributed to the demise of their first marriage.
Taking your time to decide the kind of marriage that would work for you can be a silver lining to divorce because you’ll be more likely to go into your second marriage with realistic expectations. And the fact of the matter is that you can create a happy second marriage if you give yourself permission to be vulnerable and take risks. One way to do this is to have a weekly “Stress-reducing conversation” about your vision and dreams for your future. Focus on listening and validating your unique perspectives, take notes, and set goals together for your marriage.
7 reasons second marriages are better than you imagined:
- You have a clearer vision about what you want from a relationship. Divorce has taught you what relationship dynamic promotes your best self. A second marriage is an opportunity to approach commitment with your eyes wide open.
- You are making a decision based on strength and choice rather than fear of being alone. For instance, you may have felt a nagging doubt about tying the knot with your ex-spouse, but proceeded anyway due to feelings of obligation or fear of being alone.
- Rather than trying to “fix’ your partner, you focus on improving your own life. Many individuals focus on changing their partner and avoid dealing with their own issues. Rather than investing your energy into fixing your partner, you’ve made a commitment to improve some of your undesirable traits – since we’re all flawed in some way.
- You’ve learned to communicate honestly about key issues in your relationship. Sweeping things under the rug usually doesn’t reap good results. In your second marriage, you make sure to be forthcoming about your concerns and express thoughts, feelings, and wishes in a respectful way. Challenging your beliefs and self-defeating thoughts help you to let go of hurt feelings. When we listen to our partner’s side of the story and process it briefly with them, we no longer need to hold onto hurt feelings.
- You practice forgiveness on a daily basis. As a result, you apologize to your partner when appropriate and accept his or her apologies. This validates their feelings and promotes good will. Forgiveness is not the same as condoning the hurt done to you but it will allow you to move on.
- You know the value of having mutual respect for your partner and being there for each other through all of the ups and downs of married life.
Keep in mind that maintaining an open dialogue with all family members and being tolerant of each other’s views is essential to blending families. In order to do this, focus more on listening than talking and remember to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Taking short breaks when things get heated up is important as long as you revisit the touchy topics that arise within two days. Also, make a point to spend time alone as a couple weekly and establish a routine of family time enjoying activities such as pizza and movie night or game nights.
Find Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and, movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry