Don’t Think of Remarrying Until You Read This – MM #108

Remarrying - Pixabay wedding-reception-2701037_1920Are 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.”

Divorce Remarriage

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:

DIVORCE: Don’t Even Think of Remarrying Until You Read This!

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

Print Post

Filed under: Marriage Messages Remarriage Separation and Divorce

Leave a Reply to Nadine Cancel reply

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


4 responses to “Don’t Think of Remarrying Until You Read This – MM #108

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  This is undenible truth. And you turn to understand why God is not completely up for remarrying and divorces? He knows well that we can’t bear the pressure of always having the whole of extended family to report and listen to. You realise that these are some of the pain we turn to choose to have with a little knowledge.

  2. (USA)  I wonder if the studies have taken into consideration who chose the divorce and for what reason. Why do I ask? Because divorce is typically sought by only ONE spouse. The other is forced to accept the divorce since there is no legal, nor moral, nor biblical means to force a spouse who no longer wishes to be married to remain in the marriage.

    So in a typical divorce, only one of the two people in that marriage actually wanted the divorce. I suspect the majority of those who did not want the divorce actually wanted to work on the marriage. But they cannot effectively work on a marriage where the divorcing spouse wants no part of the spouse they are divorcing. So it would be interesting to learn how many of the 60% who fail fall into the category of those who either chose the divorce instead of working on their own marriage, or chose an affair rather than working on their own marriage.

    I suspect there would be a number of those who didn’t want to divorce who ended up re-married and subsequently divorced. But what if two people, who did not choose divorce, but were divorced anyway end up remarrying, what are their odds? I personally believe that lumping all divorced folks into the same group in a study is not a reasonable view, given that only 1/2 those who are divorced actually made the decision to divorce.

    I was one of those who did not choose to divorce. My ex-wife did. She would not end her affair and chose to divorce. My wife today was in a similar situation. She left her husband because he would not get help for his abusive nature. Instead of working on himself, he chose to divorce her.

    I made it clear to my wife when we were dating that I would not choose to marry someone who chose divorce. I was intentional in seeking a spouse who had a history of seeking to work on a marriage, knowing what it was like to be with a spouse who thought marriage should not be work. My wife is the same way. She wanted someone who was willing to do the work required to have a good marriage.

    I’d sure like to see the stats broken down based on the circumstances of the previous marriage. If someone is likely to bail, they are more likely to do it again. If they were likely to work on their marriage, they will likely do that again with a future partner. I don’t think it’s accurate to lump all divorced folks into a single category. Half of those who are divorced did not choose to be divorced. I suspect the majority of those who were divorced against their will did not commit any marital misconduct that warranted their spouse divorcing them.

    For at least a third time, I caution folks against looking at divorced folks and painting them all with the same brush. Roughly speaking, 1/2 of all divorced folks did not choose the divorce their spouse and the legal system gave them. The other half did, either by directly choosing divorce, or by refusing to end an affair. It’s certainly not fair to those divorced against their will to lump those folks in the same group as the latter group who abandoned and abused their betrayed spouse.

  3. (SOUTH AFRICA)  After reading this article yesterday I felt a little bleak about the stats presented. I’m not sure if the stats on re-marriages are based on global stats and also whether these are stats for born-again Christian re-marriages.

    Like Tony, I don’t believe its accurate to lump all divorcees together. I am married to a divorcee who fought very hard for his previous marriage. After many months of holding on and trying to push for counselling etc his ex-wife (not a believer) pleaded with him to let her go – she had started seeing someone else and wanted out no matter what the cost and that was that! He had tried everything.

    My husband is a God fearing, God honouring man of great integrity. He is a fighter and so for shining Jesus in his life and our marriage. I don’t believe we can clump him together with all the stats mentioned above!

  4. (AMERICA) What if two people meet, fall in love, marry and divorce due to the fact that they did not have Christ? But at one point in life, one of the two came into the knowledge that there is a Savior. His name is Christ Jesus, his love is greater than any other. One of the two decide to make Jesus their Lord and Savior. However, their spouse simply refuses the Lord and ends up leaving the other with divorce? The ex husband or wife remarries, raises a new family and has nothing whatsoever to do with the the other. Still loving the Lord and believing He will one day return their spouse to them, but it does not happen. They never become reunited as husband and wife.

    The abandoned spouse grieves for five years. Twenty years pass and there is no return. The hurt beomes unbearable. They see the one in which they yet believe God had given them to marry with his or her new family at the market, mall or even movies. Just how long should one be sad? Is this suffering for Christ name sake?

    It’s so important to marry within the will of God. But now-a-days even those saved by grace who confess Christ as Lord of their lives are divorcing. It’s sad to say but even pastors are engaging in the arena of divorce courts! I believe prior to getting married the man and woman should seek God for His will. If it’s God no one is to destory who He has joined together as husband and wife. Not even the two of them for any reason. To leave the spouse for the rest of a person’s life should be done only by the other making their departure for eternity.