What are the Secrets to a Happy Second Marriage?

What are the Secrets to a Happy Second Marriage? January 8, 2022

While many couples see remarriage as an opportunity to start fresh start and a new chance at happiness, the statistics reveal a different story with the divorce rate for second marriages being 60-67% compared to about 50% for first marriages.

Why is this so? There are many reasons and most of them involve blending people from two separate worlds and adding children to the mix. Add to this financial stress, differences in childrearing and discipline, the stepparent’s role, loyalty issues, and rivalries between family members.

However, it strikes me that if a couple have a foundation of trust and intimacy, they will be better able to withstand the stresses and storms inherent in second marriages and stepfamilies.

Successful remarried couples accept that there are inevitable ups and downs in remarried life and they adopt realistic expectations. Love is a wonderful feeling, but you have to make a conscious decision to love your partner every day through actions – such as small gestures and displays of love and affection. In order for a complicated remarriage to thrive, it must be nurtured.

In my counseling practice, one of the first questions I ask remarried couples is this: how do you handle conflict in your relationship? It’s important for couples to understand that they’re not going to resolve all arguments but the key to managing conflict is to listen to each other, validate, and let your partner know that you understand their perspective.

For instance, Kevin, 40, is a saver and doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on vacations while his wife, Becky, 38, thinks nothing of spending $1,500.00 on a weekend get-a-way. Kevin said, “We have a lot of expenses and need to do some remodeling on our house, which is very much overdue.”

Becky put it like this: “We both brought two kids to the marriage and work full-time. I’m a second-grade teacher raising four kids under age twelve. Sometimes I need some couples time to feel connected to Kevin.”

While they may never agree, they were able to come to a compromise and stay at an Air B & B, instead of a first-class hotel, and save about $500.00. As a result, Kevin was comfortable with this revised budget and Becky could still have a fun weekend away from their four children to recharge their batteries. Fortunately, they both have parents who can stay at their home while they are away for a weekend.

Another question that I asked Kevin and Becky is this: what can you do as a couple to stay emotionally connected and intimate while raising children and keeping up with a busy work schedule on a weekly basis? During our sessions, they both agreed that they needed some regular weekly rituals of connections.

With some prompting from me, Kevin suggested having desert and watching a movie or TV show after their kids went to bed on Sunday night and Becky agreed. Becky suggested going to the gym on Saturday morning, leaving Becky’s twin 12-year-old twins in charge of the two younger siblings for two hours, which would help them both work on their fitness goals.

The best way to beat the odds and to see your second marriage succeed is to risk being vulnerable with your partner so you can repair conflicts and making your marriage a priority. Determination, respect, acceptance, patience, and having weekly rituals of connection can go a long way to improving your chances of success the second time around.

Find Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and, 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 

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