You are older and wiser when choosing your second marriage partner. You now have an understanding of the commitment marriage takes, what went wrong the first time, what your needs are, and what qualities you offer. Now that you have found a more suitable mate to journey through life with, everything will be much better, right? This largely depends on you. Will you allow your history to interfere with your happiness now?
Do not be surprised if a second marriage at times is more challenging than your first. Statistics vary, but nearly 50% of first marriages fail, and second marriages are closer to a 70% failure rate. As the number of marriages rise, so too the percentage of failure. Remarriage comes with challenges that were not part of an initial marriage. If you think you understand marriage, just because you were married previously; think again, someone changed the landscape! There is a whole set of new skills you will need to develop in order to thrive in a second marriage. We offer some advice from a happily remarried couple. We will openly and candidly discuss a few of the challenges we needed to master.
KICK THE EX OUT !
Kick the Exes out of your marriage (kindly)! There is a reason you divorced, so leave your first mate in the past where they belong. When we say: kick them out of your marriage”, we are not saying be rude or kick them out of your life. Depending on many factors, this may or may not be possible. Often, we have children in our first marriages. You learned the basics of marriage with this person; how to act and react within marriage. (keep in mind, this marriage failed. You will need to remember this many times).
Now you are married to someone with a completely different life perspective and experience. What you learned in your first marriage may not be applicable to your second. In addition, you have a new partner in everything. Your relationship with your Ex is now one of hopefully cooperative necessary business. Let’s break down what we mean by recommending you KICK THE EX OUT.
DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PAST WITH YOUR PRESENT
Never compare your Ex to your current partner, not even silently. Divorce is very similar to a death. Once you have lost someone significant in your life, they become seemingly better than in real life. We tend to remember the good and minimize the bad. By remembering the good things about people we have loved, we are more likely to forgive them for what they lacked, it can help us emotionally heal and move forward without anger. This is a very good thing. If you have children with your first husband or wife, this coping skill will help you to conduct business in a kind manner.
When trying times arrive in your second marriage, it may be natural to think about how much easier similar issues were with XXX. In reality, this is unfair to your current partner as you are remembering one small aspect of your first mate, not the total picture. It may likely not even be a true version of whom you remember. You gave your first mate the boot for a reason. You chose #2 for many reasons. Do not romanticize your past. If it were workable with your first, you would still be with them.
PARENT WITH YOUR CURRENT PARTNER
If you have children from your first marriage, avoid the temptation to leave your current mate out of parenting your children. In truth, the day you decided to cut ties and part ways in your first marriage, you were choosing to cut parenting with them. You cannot choose aspects of your marriage to keep and throw away. The fact that you chose to remarry meant you were choosing and trusting this person to care for your children. Your family life has changed, and yes, the rules will be different for your children as you now parent with someone new. As long as you married a decent person, your kids will be all right.
Leaving your current mate out of parental decision-making is leaving them powerless over their current life and home. It is telling them that you do not trust their judgement and worse yet, that you would rather be parenting with your first mate. It may also be saying I love my children more than you, and thus their wants, needs and wishes are more important to me than yours. How strong do you think your marital bond can be if that is the message your actions are sending?
You learned parenting with your first mate, therefore, your parenting style may match theirs. You may feel protective of your children, thinking only a biological parent understands and loves them the way you do. While this may have some truth, blocking your mate from parenting your children is also blocking the bond they could have with your children. An outside observer could bring some balance and perspective on parenting that you and your first mate may have lacked. Be open to new parenting ideas; allow your new mate to feel your trust and support as you create a new family together. Children will not respect a stepparent, unless you as their biological parent show your trust in them first. Leaving your mate out of parenting your children is a mistake that will erode and weaken your marriage. Do not make arrangements or agreements with your Ex without first discussing with your marriage partner. Often parents will feel more comfortable communicating only between biological parents. Do not alienate your current mate or allow an Ex to alienate them. This may take practice and constant diligence on your part to include your mate.
Families and marriages thrive when husbands and wives demonstrate love and honor to each other. Second marriages have additional challenges but can be very happy and successful. if an Ex remains a part of our lives as we move on with someone else, every effort must be made to leave the past respectfully in the past so we may move joyously into our future. This will require a skill in setting boundaries and holding them. Do not fear letting go of the past with appreciation.
HOW TO HANDLE FAVORITISM IN BLENDED FAMILIES
Our next blog categorized under marriage, will discuss the disparity between love for a biological child and a stepchild. How to create a solid family of yours mine and ours when favoritism may be a factor. Subscribe to our blog so to not miss the discussion