According to the U.S. Census Bureau 66 percent of remarriages and living together situations end in break up, especially when children are involved. But statistics also say that couples who participate in premarital education report a thirty percent higher level of overall marital satisfaction and better communication. That means you are greatly increasing your chances for success by preparing for the adventure of a second (or third) marriage! Knowing these statistics, you’ll want to do your homework—before you remarry.
Time to evaluate
Maggie had waited nearly three years to remarry. Her divorce had been traumatic, and her two children felt abandoned by their dad and were still angry.
A new daddy will help, Maggie thought, and our loneliness might finally go away. When Maggie met Sam, she felt he was the ticket out of her difficult life. Soon they were planning to get married.
But as the wedding drew near, Maggie and Sam began to argue about the wedding details and a lot more, and the children began to act out. Maggie’s deep feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment from her past resurfaced when Sam started to disagree with anything she suggested, large or small.
Sam realized that there must be bigger issues, so he wisely suggested they get some counseling. Maggie reluctantly agreed. At the first premarital counseling session, the suggestion to postpone the wedding was met with Maggie’s stiff opposition. But when Sam insisted, Maggie started down a road of healing, one that she didn’t even know she needed.
For the next eight months, Maggie walked through the stages of grief, which led to healing and hope. As she worked through the stages of forgiveness toward her ex and acceptance of the loss of her first marriage, peace and hope led to joy that she didn’t think she could ever have. She was finally beginning to resolve the heartache she thought would be a part of her life forever.
As Sam patiently walked through all this with Maggie, he dealt with some issues of his own. Sam still harbored unresolved bitterness toward God because of his wife’s sudden and unexpected death. He, too, realized that the pain of a marriage lost needed to be resolved before both he and Maggie entered this new one.
Both Maggie and Sam were so glad they took the time to work through their issues before they entered their new life together. They also realized that this delay in getting married gave their children time to heal and resolve their own issues. The kids received counseling, and all of them attended counseling sessions together as a family.
Finally Maggie, Sam, and the children were ready to unite as a family. A year after they had postponed their wedding the first time, Maggie, Sam, and the children were on their way to becoming a healthy blending family.
Your past marriage, whether it ended through death or divorce, will affect your second marriage to some degree. Perhaps one or both of you have children still at home, or maybe it’s just one of you and the other has never had children. Maybe one of you has never been married and the other is a widow or widower with kids. Maybe you both come from a divorce situation, and your kids are still stinging from its pain. Perhaps one or both of you have full custody, or one or both of you has part-time custody and you have to juggle crazy schedules of kids coming in and out of the home at different times. And maybe you’re in an even more complex situation than these! Even if you’re empty nesters, adult kids will likely still affect your second marriage.
Ponder it well
Remarriage is often very complicated, especially when children are involved. It is also a huge commitment, so it is not one to be taken lightly. And because you’re a second-marriage couple, there’s so much more to think about besides the wedding. It’s all the other stuff that matters so much—the for better or worse, for richer or poorer; in sickness or health, till death do us part, the daily-living-together and blending-a-family stuff.
Knowing how to work through the challenges of a second marriage and the intricacies of blending a family—before you get in the heat of it—will help you be more successful than you could ever be without it. We know. We’ve been there. And we want to help. Since your marriage will be the foundation of your family, and your family can only be as strong and healthy as your relationship as a couple, prepare for the adventure!
Getting remarried or know someone who is? Check out The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness, by Susan and Dale Mathis. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.
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