[A]ccording to the National Center for Health Statistics more than half of those divorced will remarry within 5 years and another 25% will remarry within 10 years. Unfortunately, sadly these marriages have less of a chance of success than their first marriage. With a whopping 67% of them ending in divorce as well. Adding insult to injury, remarrying with kids is a contributing factor to increased divorce rate among 2nd marriages.
So I declare a time out. If you are going to get married again let’s study the challenges ahead of time to maximize your chance of success and address a few issues before you walk down that aisle again.
Five Considerations Before Remarriage
1. It’s your chance to get it right, so don’t rush.
Like a good wine, your chances of success have a lot to do with your increased age and passage of time. If there is ever a moment in your life that you should proceed with caution, it is now. Spend some time alone. Spend some time regrouping your life and priorities. Spend some time soul searching what it is you want in a relationship. DO NOT RUSH. For whatever reason you find yourself single again, consider it an opportunity to do better the next time round. Everyone has the ability to improve. Additionally, perhaps now is a good time to focus on your parenting. One rule of thumb for dating is to go through an entire year together, all the seasons of life, before considering marriage.
2. Understand this decision affects everybody involved.
Just as the divorce or loss of your spouse affected your kids, your parents, your former spouse’s parents, your friends, your work, your neighbors, those around you, your language, your thoughts, and even your view of yourself. Remember your remarriage will affect all of those same people yet again. Take a moment and take stock of all those in your life who will deal with change again. It isn’t all about you.
3. Pre-talk all expectations and scenarios.
When you were young, you thought you knew everything. The world was your oyster. You have acquired some wisdom and have a more realistic perspective. Now is an excellent time to review all areas of expectations, get them all out on the table and discuss them with the “prospective” long term relationship sitting across from you. What are each of your expectations for your careers? Who is going to do what, where and when with the kids? Where are you going to spend which holiday and with whom? It’s time to triple check the money talk. Who is paying for what? What are the college and marriage expectations of all the children? Are you on the same page with retirement, savings, long term living arrangements? Have the talks you wish you would have had the first time around.
4. Have realistic expectations for your parenting and step parenting.
If communication, sex, and money were the biggest enemies of first marriages. Let me tell you, previous kids, Exs and co-parenting are the biggest enemies of second ones. Parenting is very hard. Co-parenting and blended parenting is much, much harder. Don’t kid yourself. Have some serious heart to heart talks about who is raising whom and exactly what is expected of biological parents and potential step-parents in regards to ANY kids. Realize it takes 4 to 7 years before blended families start to gel. That’s after the actual remarriage. Outline realistic expectations and be prepared for a roller coaster ride, because not everything can be predicted! Everyone has baggage and it can get heavy if not unpacked.
** 5. Learn from your previous mistakes.**
They say insanity is doing the exact same thing expecting different results. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, whatever the excuse, seize this moment to learn from the past. It is totally okay to make mistakes. It is not okay to make them more than once. Take a class, get some counseling, give up a habit, change a pattern, or explore a new career. Date better, set higher standards, be a better person. You’ll bring everyone up with you in the process.
Marriage is a wonderful thing. I didn’t get it right the first time by any stretch. Second time I did. I took my time, was open about everything, married way up the food chain and it has made all the difference.
What advice would you give to those considering 2nd marriage?
Featured image from Fred’s wedding.