Statistically, getting married a second -or third- time has a high chance of ending in divorce. While around 45 percent of first marriages end in divorce, second marriages do so between 60 and 67 percent of the time and third marriages (at least one spouse has been married twice before) have a 70 to 73 percent divorce rate. Even so, every day men and women tie the knot, believing their love is going to see them through and help them beat the odds.
You would think that a second marriage is easier. After all you know what to expect from marriage. You know what it means to be a husband or a wife. You know it takes hard work. And you are ready to make it work. The following are tips to making remarriage successful and happy:
Accept part of the blame from your divorce
It’s easy to blame your ex when looking back on your first marriage and what went wrong. But the truth is, a divorce usually is caused by actions of both spouses. According to Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage: A History and A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and the American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, couples who have had long and successful second marriages are willing to admit what part they had in the breakup of the first marriage. By understanding what went wrong, and your role in those problems, you can identify behaviors and problems and work to find solutions rather than repeating them in your next relationship.
The little things count
It’s important to show your new spouse how much you care. While you may think it isn’t necessary to do the little things - compliment your spouse each day, saying thank you, leaving love notes - these things build and maintain feelings of love. Many people may feel these niceties are for the courtship period and once married you can move on to just being married. But, the bond that grows by sharing the little moments is the bond that helps you survive the bad times.
Don’t rush back into marriage
After being married, the thought of being single and alone again is a scary thing. For some, this fear may drive them to quickly marry again. Or maybe you want the financial security you think marriage will bring. But moving quickly into marriage may increase your risk of getting divorced. Take your time to find out if this new person is right for you. Men tend to move into a second marriage faster than women because they assume they are in love when someone comes along willing to listen to their pain and help them feel better again.
Make sure you have common interests
While it is nice to try new experiences, you don’t want to give up the activities you enjoy or always compromise on what you are going to do. If you don’t have a lot of common interests, chances are one of you are going to end up feeling resentful of having to always do what the other person wants. That doesn’t mean you can’t have individual interests or spend time learning about your partner’s interests, but there should be a core group of interests you share.
Talk about finances
When young couples first marry, they build their financial life together. But, in second marriages, both partners often have their own financial resources (and obligations). Before launching into a second marriage, talk about your finances, your savings, your obligations and how money should be mingled. Do you want to pool your money together to pay bills? Who is going to pay the bills? Who is going to control the money? What about savings you created before the marriage - do these remain yours alone or are they now used jointly? Make sure you and your new partner understand each other’s expectations.
Understand the role of the former spouse
Marriage, even bad ones, creates a deep bond between two people. Some couples remain friendly even after divorce. Some must continue to work together because there are children involved. There may be times your current partner must deal with your former partner. Everyone involved should be treated with respect.
When the first marriage ended with death
The death of the first spouse creates some special circumstances. The new spouse must respect the memory of the first spouse. And while the deceased spouse will forever remain in the heart of the remaining partner, it is important to live in the present marriage, making sure your new partner feels important and cherished.
"The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages," 2012, Feb. 6, Mark Banschick, Psychology Today
"Second (and Third) Marriages: Destined for Divorce?" 2013, Feb. 8, Jim Duzak, The Huffington Post
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.