Nearly half of all weddings today involve second marriages. These couples want healthy relationships and are willing to try a second time.
They need support. But, they also need to be realistic. Second marriages need to be entered with caution. For those thinking about remarriage, here are some thoughts you should consider:
•Don't rush to remarry.
Expert Barbara Markey warns that most people require at least three to five years to heal from the wounds of an ended marriage, irrespective of whether it ended due to death or divorce. The more unresolved baggage you bring into your second marriage from your first, the less likely you are to have for success. This is why “rebound relationships” rarely work and affairs that precede a divorce (or cause one) are even less likely to lead to a healthy second marriage.
•Don't expect a second marriage to be easier than your first.
The sad reality is that second marriages fail more often and faster than first marriages. The divorce rate for first marriages is about 45 percent, but it's about 65 percent for second marriages.
•Take premarital education skills classes.
Taking a premarital inventory and premarital-education classes that teach the skills needed to make a healthy marriage will help enormously.
Researcher Paul Amato reports that nearly half of all divorces occur in marriages that are “good enough” to get by and grow into healthy relationships, but the couple gave up too easily. Learning the skills needed to avoid the pitfalls that lead to marital failure makes it easier to solve problems and succeed.
•Don't compare your second spouse with your first spouse.
These comparisons are never fair and rarely helpful. If your first marriage ended in divorce, you'll either paint your first spouse as a greater villain than is justified or begin to see every flaw in your new spouse as “proof” that “all men/women are like that!”
If your first spouse died, it's easy to believe that no one could be as good as the person who passed away. That creates an impossible standard for your new spouse to meet.
•The more children, the more complications.
If either you or your new spouse have children, your relationship will get complicated. No matter how well everyone gets along before the wedding, expect major issues to arise after the wedding. Consult with a counselor who is familiar with stepfamilies or contact The Stepfamily Association of America before you remarry (www.stepfamilies.info).
Before remarrying, take steps to improve the chances that this time around is the only time you'll have to go around again.