Are you recently remarried? Or entering the dating scene again after a divorce?
If so, you're probably a bit nervous. Getting another chance at love is exciting and a blessing. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
Entering into a marriage again will bring lots of change. There are many more adjustments that accompany second marriages than first ones, as well as many additional factors to consider: children, ex-spouses, blended families, baggage and unhealthy patterns from previous relationships, etc.
Did you know that the divorce rate for second marriages is actually higher than the 50% rate for first marriages?
So how do you beat the odds and ensure you make the most of your second chance at love?
Welcome Vulnerability with Open Arms
Vulnerability can be tricky. It requires us to share the entirety of ourselves with another human being. Being vulnerable involves complete honesty and relinquishing our fear of judgment.
That is a tough concept for many people, but may be especially difficult when considering a remarriage if you have a negative impression from your previous marriage. For example, if you were open and vulnerable with your ex, and they betrayed your trust, you may be hesitant to be open and vulnerable with your current partner.
It’s important to remember that you have entered into a new relationship—your marriage and your spouse are different than your last. While it might seem risky to create an environment of vulnerability, what is a relationship without it?
In the end, the saying still rings true, “the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”
Don’t Be Surprised by Conflict
A common reason that marriages end is because of conflict and the inability to deal with it. If conflict was a major reason that your last marriage ended, you may feel you have good reasons for hesitating.
Certainly, you are right to expect conflict and arguments to arise in a remarriage as well. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. But, remember, it’s not necessarily the conflict that’s the big problem, it’s how you manage it.
Practicing appropriate conflict management will ensure your second marriage is off to a successful start. Hear one another out, express your feelings, and don’t let problems build up. When you tackle conflict as it arises, you don’t allow things to explode later on. Healthy conflict resolution will ensure your remarriage is off to a good start.
Practice Open Communication
You’ve heard it before—communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.
Just as you’re not a mind reader, neither is your partner. Don’t expect them to know exactly how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking. Inform them so that they’re not left in the dark. Use “I” instead of “You” statements to prevent accusations and maintain healthy communication skills.
Discussing what your expectations are at the beginning of the relationship is also helpful so that you can enter into a remarriage openly with everything laid out on the table—including old baggage.
Create a Positive Culture
Respect, admiration, appreciation, and tolerance are all important factors in creating a positive culture at home. It’s important to remain tolerant of your partner—you’re exploring the workings of a remarriage together. Things are as new to you just as they’re new to your current partner.
There are certainly going to be things your spouse does that you won’t like, but it’s crucial to have patience with one another. Respect your partner and let them know that you hear and understand them. Remember that the two of you are a team, playing for the same side.
While it might be easy to dwell on the negative traits that your partner has or to nag them about what they’re doing wrong, remember their positive qualities as well. Don't make unfair comparisons to your ex. Instead, show appreciation for your spouse and thank them for the big as well as the little things. When someone feels appreciated, they also feel loved.