Are you divorced? Are you considering remarrying? If so, please don’t take that step until you read what is written here. First, concerning the issue of remarrying, please consider the following:
“Despite disappointment, pain, disruption, and sometimes even the destruction of divorce, most opt to get back on the horse. An astonishing 70 per cent of the broken-hearted get married all over again. Yet a whopping 60 per cent of remarriages fail. And they do so even more quickly than first marriages. (Hara Estroff Marano)
Given what we just read, the message we need to shout the following message from the housetops. “Be careful—be very, very careful before you marry —and more so if you’re remarrying.”
Are You Considering Remarrying?
The Cinderella story may appear romantic but it’s also full of holes. We’d like to address some of those holes in this Marriage Message. We will be gleaning from a magazine article called, “DIVORCED? Don’t Even Think of Remarrying Until You Read This.” This article appeared in Psychology Today a while ago. But it is now posted for everyone to read in its entirety on the Smart Marriages Web Site.
We’ll only be able to share a portion of what the author wrote. But please read what have here for a sneak preview. Then we HIGHLY recommend that you read the rest of the article, which we have linked below this excerpt. We believe everyone should read this message, whether you’re considering remarrying or not. This is because it brings out some excellent points to share with others. Some of the highlights of the article read:
If the divorce and remarriage rates prove one thing, it’s that conventional wisdom is wrong. The dirty little secret is experience doesn’t count when it comes to marriage/remarriage. A prior marriage actually decreases the odds of a second marriage working.
“It’s so counterintuitive,” says Diane Sollee, who’s the director of Smartmarriages, an organization based in Washington, D.C. “It just seems obvious that people would be older and wiser. You’d think they would learn from the mistakes of a failed first marriage and do better next time around. But that’s like saying if you lose a football game you’ll win the next one. You will—but only if you learn some new plays before you go back on the field.”
Remarriage may look a lot like any other marriage. But it has its own subversive features. These features are mostly invisible to the naked eye that make it more tenuous than first marriage. It’s not impossible to make remarriage work. But it takes some concerted action to make love better the second time around.
When it comes to relationships, people don’t automatically learn from experience. Love deludes us. The rush of romance dupes us into believing our own relationship uniquely defies the laws of gravity.
“We feel that this new, intense relationship fills the firmament for us,” observes Dr. William Doherty, author of The Intentional Family. “Under those conditions, our background knowledge of relationships doesn’t kick in.” There’s not even more cynicism, once you fall in love again, Doherty adds.
“You really think problems are for regular people and our relationship certainly isn’t regular.” So the problem had to be our ex-spouse. “Partners bring to remarriage the stupidity of the first engagement and the baggage of the first marriage.”
Making Same Mistakes
“Partners don’t reflect on their own role,” says Dr Jeff Larson. “They say, ‘I’m not going to make the same mistakes again.’ But they do make the same mistakes. That is, unless they get insight through their own thinking about what caused the divorce and their role in the marriage failure.”
Invariably, marriage experts insist, whether the first marriage or the fourth, couples tend to trip over the same mistakes. Number one on the list of errors is unrealistic expectations of marriage. A decline in intensity is normal, to be expected, says psychologist Clifford Notarius, Ph.D. And in its own way, welcomed. It’s not a signal to bail out.
…Why is remarriage so difficult?
The short answer is, because it follows divorce. People who divorced are in a highly vulnerable state. They want to be in a close intimate relationship, but the failure factor is there. The longing for comfort, for deep intimacy impels people to rush back into the married state.
But prospective remarriage partners need to build a relationship slowly, experts agree. “They need to know each other individually and jointly,” says Dr Robert Stahmann. ” They need to know each other’s expectations.”
And they need time for bonding as a couple. That is because that relationship will be under stress through all the links to the past that will inhabit their present. None of them is more tangible than children and stepchildren.
In remarriage, children don’t grow out of the relationship, they precede it. Nor are they delivered by the stork as helpless little bundles. They come pre-packaged, with an entirely different set of agendas than adults have.
Prolong the Courtship
Although feelings develop very quickly, courtship should be prolonged. It’s essential to allow enough time for the cognitive and emotional reorganization that has to take place. “It happens piece by piece, as with a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not like a computer with the flick of a switch” says Dr Pat Love.
There’s even more opportunity for conflict and disappointment in 2nd marriages because the challenges are greater. Remarriages are always more complicated than first marriages.
The influence of exes is far from over with remarriage. Exes live on in memories, and often in reality, interacting with the children and with your own parents and siblings. “When you remarry,” says Dr Larson, “you marry a person—and that person’s ex-spouse.” It comes with the territory.
“A complete emotional divorce isn’t possible,” explains Minnesota’s Doherty. “You always carry that person around with you. A part of you retains a ‘we’ identity.”
And if there are children, exes live on in the new household as permanent extensions of their children. They are arriving to pick up and deliver the kids, exerting parental needs and desires that have to be accommodated, especially at holiday and vacation times. What’s more, the ex’s parents are in the picture too. So are the children’s grandparents, as is all of the ex’s extended family, as aunts and uncles and cousins.
Children Change the Remarriage Dynamics
Nothing challenges a remarriage more than the presence of children from a prior marriage. And the fact is, most remarriage households contain kids. If there are kids, partners to a remarriage don’t get a developmental period as couple before they’re parents. And then, because it takes time for family feelings to develop, that bond is immediately under assault by the children.
For that reason especially, every family expert recommend that couples heading into remarriage prolong the period of courtship. They should do this despite the desire and the financial incentives to merge households.
The parts of the article we had to edit out, and the rest of this article is available on the Smart Marriages web site by clicking onto the link below:
We hope this has given SOME insight into concerns surrounding marriage and remarriage. Above all, make sure you value marriage as God does. Be wise in these matters, as God would have you. Marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and woman and God. Please treat it as no less sacred than God does.
Steve and Cindy Wright