Ms. Dora is a Certified Christian Counselor. Her views on singleness, premarital and marital issues are influenced by her Christian beliefs.
Tips for Getting Married a Second Time
Traveling the same road the second time, couples want to experience the joys that evaded them the first time. By now, they have moved beyond the naïvety of “We love each other, and that’s all that matters.” Experience tells them that some preparation is necessary.
New mates cannot really love each other unless the emotional debris from the last relationship has been cleared away. If both are second-timers, it takes double effort to get ready.
The statistics on remarriage put the divorce rate for second marriages at 60%. This is reason enough to get counseling on family-blending techniques from an experienced, reputable professional. Among other things, each individual can benefit from the following counsel.
1. Establish the New You
No succumbing to the first person who winks at you because you are desperate for companionship, or you are anxious to prove that you are still attractive. Take time to understand the whys and hows of the previous marriage breakdown. Take time to forgive and accept forgiveness. Learn lessons in adjustment and start applying them to help you improve in new attitudes and interpersonal skills.
Don't marry for the new spouse to help you heal. It is not fair to the new mate, and until you are healed, you cannot truly evaluate your readiness. You want to be strong and confident (though scars might remain) when you begin again. One whole new you plus a whole new partner equals one whole new marriage.
Boost Your Confidence
- Embrace your purpose.
- Practice self-confident rituals like affirmations or pep talks.
- Enjoy spending time alone.
- Ask empowering questions.
- Share your talents with others.
An excerpt from Things Highly Confident Women Do Differently by Julia Kitlinski-Hong.
2. Be Civil to the Exes
It is wise for exes to reconcile to the point where they could be civil to each other. This is not a recommendation for dinners and joint shopping sprees. However, it makes sense for you, the new spouse-to-be, to be civil to the former partner. If there are children, divorced parents will have to communicate about their welfare, and step-parents also want to be involved in their lives. Everyone will benefit in an atmosphere that is void of resentment and hostility.
Life would be easier at weddings, graduations, or even in sickrooms if there is teamwork instead of tension and courtesy instead of crossness. It would be wise for the new spouse-to-be to assure the divorced parent before the marriage that the children’s interests will always be considered.
3. Make Space for the Children
Children from the previous marriage deserve personal time with and support from the parent they want to marry. Don’t make the spouse choose between you and the child. If you come between them, you could damage your new relationship with both of them. Good parent-child relationships facilitate good husband-wife relationships and vice versa.
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Be sensitive to the child’s feelings when you openly demonstrate love to your new mate. The child may resent the new partner for enjoying the affection that they never saw the other divorced parent receive. Also, make an effort to make the children feel loved and cared for. Find out what expressions of love are appropriate depending on the age and sex of the child.
4. Settle Disputes
If the divorced parents are still bound together in legal disputes over the sale of the house, the custody of the children, the rights to half of the pension, and so on, it would be better to wait until those issues are resolved. If you begin the marriage under stresses imposed by hostile exes, there may be no way to counter the damage they can inflict on the new relationship.
Some exes drag out disputes hoping that by some uncanny stroke of luck, the dispute can end in reconciliation. Be sure that you are not caught up in a threesome.
A wise father called an ex-wife and said, "Your ex is interested in my daughter, but before I give them the green light, I want to hear from you that you are not planning to get back with him." That man scored an A in common sense and an A+ in world peace.
5. Learn to Accommodate Grief
You probably think that if the ex were dead, you’d have less to worry about. Don’t be too sure. Some grieving spouses still allow the wishes of the deceased to influence their decisions. It is better to wait until the grieving spouse controls the emotional tie with the late partner. Grief can last longer than you expect, especially if the two-in-one parted on good terms. Learn to accommodate the lapses into grief and to comfort the grieving back to the living.
You may also have to wait until inheritance issues with relatives of the deceased are settled. If they think that you intend to cut short their share, they may try to do more damage with the hardball. You will feel the blow every time they hit your partner.
6. Talk About Money
Some second-time newlyweds are surprised to discover that there are more previous debts and financial obligations than they discussed. Make sure to talk about the liabilities as well as the assets. It shouldn’t be a problem to see the bank statements and the bills if you intend to build a marriage on honesty and integrity.
7. Marry for the Right Reason
That should be love. “This should have been the first tip,” someone may say. However, it is mentioned last because no matter how much you think you are in love, you should tread slowly and softly until you are sure about the other matters.
Be sure that you do not want to pursue the new relationship just because the children are cute and they need to live with two parents; or because you think marriage will cure the widow or widower's grief; or because you must be in a marriage relationship because you have so much love to give.
Let wisdom guide your heart. Practice patience and self-control. When you have considered everything you could think of and feel satisfied that what is not perfect is manageable, give your heart permission to love completely and unconditionally. If life offers you a second chance, pray that you make the best of it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Dora Weithers