At least 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Yet a less known fact is that second and third marriages end in significantly higher rates than first marriages. There are many factors that contribute to this. How long has each partner been divorced? Are their children involved, and if so what are their ages? Was the divorce amicable or acrimonious? The answers to each of these questions will determine what the complexity of remarriage will be, and what the challenge of blending families will look like.
More time and effort needs to be directed to the preparation of all participants, the adults as well as any children who may be involved, before another marriage takes place. The best place to start is with each adult. An understanding of each partner’s role in their divorce is critical. Typically, the first marriage is approached with great joy and expectation, but when disappointments occur and hurtful words are spoken, pain dominates the relationship. After efforts to stop the hurting fail, too often divorce becomes the outcome. Divorce hurts. Was it all his fault or her fault? Was it because we were too young? Was it about the in-laws? One undeniable fact remains: it takes two to marry, and two to divorce. And yes, one party may have had a significantly greater role in the divorce.
The time before another marriage is the opportunity for change, if a successful and joyous next marriage is the goal. The way this desired outcome occurs is through knowledge of self and self-change. More specially, is there an understanding of what needs to change in each person and does each partner want to pursue change? Does each party know how to change? The spouse to be is not the change agent for the other. Instead, everyone must do his or her own work. Parties are missing the point by saying: “I won’t have to act like I did in the past because I know my spouse will be different from my first spouse.” No, a successful second or even third marriage starts with the individual.
After each partner begins the process of self-discovery, information needs to be shared with the spouse-to-be. The more the couple knows about their self and each other the better they can assess readiness for another marriage. For help in exploring your readiness for remarriage, call The Cabin at 317.873.8140 ext. 201.
Joan J. Cannon, RN, MA, LMFT
Joan earned her Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Christian Theological Seminary and is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in the state of Indiana. She is also a registered nurse and holds a Masters degree in hospital administration. Joan has clinical experience in adolescent issues, family and parenting issues, midlife transitions, healthy sexuality, abuse recovery, divorce recovery, anxiety, depression, grief, menopause, and infertility.