Youíve heard it again and again: Ditch your marriage and your unresolved issues follow you to the next relationship. The statistics seem to prove this. The National Center for Health Statistics (a division of the CDC) reports that the divorce rate for second marriages is higher than for first marriages. Yet, no one focuses on those that succeed, and there are important lessons to be learned from those who find true love and happiness the second time around.
Lessons can be learnedóand applied!
First failed marriages are a great learning opportunity for people to learn not only about the opposite sex but about themselves as well. They learn what they like or donít like in a relationship, and they see how both internal and external factors can put a strain on getting along. No longer naÔve enough to believe that being smitten is all it takes to maintain a relationship, they go into a second marriage more wisely, cautiously, which improves their chances of long-term success. They take compatibility seriously and keep their expectations reasonable. Typically, they have learned that making a marriage work requires personal responsibility so they do their part to contribute to relationship happiness.
Timing is everything
Being able to settle into a permanent relationship takes maturity and a readiness to live less self-centeredly. For most youth, this goes against the very nature of this developmental phase. Youth is a time for growing and discovering who you are. Itís all about you. Imagine the difficulty of figuring out yourself while adapting to life with another separate and unique individual. No wonder a lot of marriages dissolve during oneís 20s and 30s. Either young people find it entirely too difficult to balance their needs with their partnersí or they emerge into their 30s realizing that they arenít who they thought they were and who they are is no longer compatible with the person they married when they were younger. Many women tell me that they felt pressed into early marriage only to find that they werenít ready. Their second marriages benefitted from their maturity.
First marriages fail for myriads of reasons but when people can move forward with better understanding of themselves and others, they can craft a stronger, healthier, happier marriage with a new mate. Those who fail at subsequent marriages tend to be blamers who refuse to accept that they, at least on a subconscious level, played a role in the demise of their relationship and they carry their issues into their next marriage.