Making Second Marriages Work – Sometimes Second Marriages Seem Impossible!
Sometimes remarriage seems impossible, but this article has ten tips to make it more manageable.
With an ex-husband, custody, and getting over the past, a second marriage can seem very complicated.
In fact, over 25% of second marriages don’t last and it’s easy to see why.
First, there’s the other spouse around, even if it’s just in memory and the knowledge that your husband or wife has already gone down that path with someone else.
Secondary marriages often have children who suffer from all the changes, as well as legal and financial complications.
Advice for a Second Marriage: A Guide to Hope, Healing, and Love
1. Leave the Past Behind
This applies to both of you.
You have to let go of what happened in your first marriage or previous relationships.
And you need to stop worrying about what happened in your spouse’s marriage.
Sometimes it can mean talking about it.
Maybe for your spouse, maybe just for a friend.
But don’t talk about it, with the intention of just complaining.
Talk about it, with the intention of letting it go.
You can write about it, in a journal or in poetry.
This is an excellent way to deal with your feelings, and no one needs to see it.
If you’re worried that someone else will pick up and read your notes, burn them all.
One thing I used to do was write on the computer but put a password on the document, so I was confident that no one would be able to read it.
One of the biggest keys to letting go is forgiveness.
Forgive your spouse.
Forgive your ex’s wife.
It’s in the past, and any bitterness you still have will poison you in the present.
Forgiving doesn’t mean you approve, it simply means you refuse to be controlled by the past anymore.
So let go of yesterday so you can start creating a better tomorrow.
2. Put Your Spouse First
Put your spouse before anyone else in your life, before other people, including your children.
If you are a believer, put God first and your spouse second.
Some people may struggle with this advice, thinking that it’s not right to put a second wife or husband before children, but it’s the best way to achieve long-term stability, both for the marriage and for the children.
When they see their marriage working out, they can rest easy knowing they don’t have to go through another divorce and hassle in the world.
They’ve had enough of that!
How do you put your partner first?
Always ask them about plans that concern one of you.
Ensuring you have time for them within your week.
Not allowing anyone (including your children) to disrespect them, and generally giving them priority in your life.
What does putting your spouse first do for the relationship?
Honor the fact that this person has chosen you, above all other human beings on Earth, to pass the time.
And that gives them the security to continue in a difficult relationship.
Putting someone in front of your spouse, whether it’s a child, ex-spouse, father-in-law, or friend, sends the message that he’s not important and always takes a back seat.
Being a “second husband” should not mean being second in importance, and if this message is conveyed, it can lead to a variety of negative emotions.
Putting a spouse first does not mean putting children last.
The needs of children are of the utmost importance and the needs of everyone in the family need to be considered.
But children should not be allowed to use the second marriage to demand things that are not appropriate for them, just because their natural parents feel guilty.
An excellent rule of thumb is to give your children as much freedom as you would in a first marriage.
Don’t try to make up because you feel guilty about the divorce.
So putting your spouse first is important to making second marriages work.
3. Be Patient
Remember, it won’t be perfect overnight.
Statistics say it takes seven years for a foster family to fully adjust.
So don’t expect everything to be happy in a month or even a year.
There is a myriad of issues to resolve in any new marriage: finances, household chores, lovemaking, personal independence… these are just a few of them.
Secondary marriages also add ex-spouses, custody issues, and damage from a breakup into the mix.
These things take time, and that’s okay!
It won’t happen all at once, but be happy if you’re learning.
Be patient with yourself and your spouse.
4. Satisfy Everyone’s Needs
You need to cater to each other’s needs as much as you can.
This isn’t always easy, and isn’t always possible, with all the commitments you’re likely to be involved with (kids, work, chores, family, and anything else), but it needs to be a priority.
What are his needs?
You need to figure this out and make an effort to meet those needs a good percentage of the time.
Or you can just ask him: what is important to you?
What do you want me to do for you?
Women tend to need love and affection.
Other needs vary with each individual, but the important thing is to take the time to meet them and not take your spouse for granted.
We are called on this earth to meet the needs of our spouses and no one else can do that!
5. Set aside a few minutes
With kids and stepchildren and trying to adjust to a new life, it’s often hard to find time to talk and spend time together, but you have to.
My husband works shifts and when I was teaching it was very difficult to find time to spend together.
Now, we just meet here and there.
Sometimes it’s a coffee hour chatting in the morning.
Other times, it’s a few minutes before we go to sleep.
Ideally, couples should go out on a date once a week, but sometimes you just can’t.
So take a few minutes together during these peak times.
This will help strengthen your second marriage.
6. Let go of the “Ideal”
The second marriage is not a fairy tale.
It was something I had to accept, idealist that I am.
Being in a second marriage is not ideal and period.
It will never be like that.
As little girls, none of us sleep dreaming of being someone’s second wife.
No, we’re always in love with a wonderful man, getting married, and having kids.
An ex-wife, someone else’s kids, and a divorce settlement were never in our dreams.
This is not meant to be depressing, but real.
It’s not ideal, and that’s okay.
It is reality, and it can be good, as long as we set aside this other ideal that we had.
Sometimes dreams can be slaves if they prevent us from accepting reality.
We may have dreamed of something different, but God allowed it.
And now we can pick up the broken pieces and see what can be made from them.
You may have seen a mosaic work of art.
It is created by putting together hundreds of small broken pieces of what was once whole.
Now, if the artist continued to yearn for the tiles, or vases that were once whole, he could never concentrate on the new piece of mosaic art that was forming in front of him.
So, that’s how it is with our lives in second marriages.
We need to abandon the ideal and embrace the real.
The rule for marriage: Say I love you at least once a day
7. Say “I Love You” At Least Once A Day
Say “I love you” at least once a day.
Preferably much more.
There’s something about saying those words that remind you that you love each other despite the challenges and complications.
My husband says this to me whenever we leave the house, whenever we go to sleep, and many times during the day.
I think it’s helped our marriage get stronger because it’s a constant reinforcement of our commitment to each other.
It helps even when we have a fight and we don’t want to say it.
It helps bring us back to the love we have for each other.
8. Get A Pet… Or Some Other Project You Can Do Together
Having something you can do together makes life easier for a couple.
We have cats.
For the first year and a half, my husband didn’t care about cats.
He was finally won over, and now cats are something that we love together, that we talk about together.
You need to have shared things in your lives, in addition to grocery shopping, bills, and room.
Maybe it’s a project you guys do together in the community or a game you play on your computer.
As long as you have things that unite you.
Second marriages have internal separation (a child that belongs to only one of you, ex-partners, separate financial history, and so on).
So the things they bring together are especially important!
9. Get a Life! (own)
The next point will sound like the opposite of the last one, but it really isn’t.
It’s important to do things together and have things you do alone.
Why is it important to do things on your own?
It is because you will need a way out of the inevitable conflicts and problems that arise.
This is essential!
You need to have things in your life that are separate from being a wife or a husband and are just “you”.
Whether it’s running, friends apart, a computer game or knitting, just keep your identity!
This is part of any healthy relationship.
Being “you” will help you get through the tough times because you’ll know you’re a valuable person no matter what’s going on in your marriage.
Having a life of your own separate from your spouse will remind you of your identity before you became a wife or husband.
And this is important for us to be together in a second marriage.
10. Make New Friends
Make new friends, friends who didn’t know their exes and who didn’t know you or your spouse before.
Friends who will not compare this marriage to the first marriage or who will act as if they have secrets from you, regarding the first spouse.
You can make new friends by joining a new church, or a social group, or just meeting people in your daily life, and reaching out.
I’m not suggesting that you unfriend old friends.
Old friends help keep you focused and keep your perspective, but old friends are always friends with one spouse or the other, and therefore it’s not equal.
The new friends have known you for an equal amount of time, creating a fairer friendship.
Our Second Marriage – Our History
These are some tips for staying together in a second marriage.
I hope it helps.
The second marriage is far from easy, but it can also be beautiful.
Like anything good, they take a lot of effort.
My husband and I have been married for two and a half years.
We met several years after we both got divorced.
For the first two years, our marriage was a nightmare in many ways.
We can’t get over all our hurts and we can’t get along.
This article was written from my own experience, from someone who has been through the struggles and is still working through them.
Now, we’re learning to love each other and make it work.
I no longer dream of divorce and look forward to a future with my wonderful husband.
I believe it is possible for other people to be happy in their second marriage as well.
This content is accurate and true to the best knowledge of the author and is not intended to replace formal, individualized advice from a qualified professional.