Guest Author - Caroline Henrich
Many divorced people often wonder whether a second marriage can be successful. After all, divorce rates are high for first marriages. Therefore how can a second marriage be expected to survive? There is emotional baggage, children from prior marriages and sometimes jealous ex-spouses.
It is possible to be happy, but there are challenges to achieve happiness. First, rather than looking at marriage with a jaded eye and anger due to the failure of your first marriage, consider this a second chance to make good decisions.
It is important to choose your new spouse wisely. Focus on someone who shares your core values and someone that you can describe as your best friend. Find someone with a wonderful sense of humor and who is a good communicator. Ensure that the person does not have an abusive personality. All of these character traits are important. There will be many challenges so make sure the ties that bind you together are strong.
A second marriage is usually not a Cinderella story since there are outside forces that can drive you apart. This is in addition to your own ghosts and fears. It is important to understand these external challenges and meet each one with a united front.
If your children do not like your new spouse or are jealous of your relationship, try to work through this together. It is important that children under 18 show respect toward your new spouse. The relationship does not need to be perfect, but civility is important. The child still needs love from the biological parent, as well as respect from his/her new step-parent. It is important for your children to know that you love them, even though you are involved in a new relationship.
If your children are over 18, you would expect them to be civil. This is not always the case. They are adults, but may still be wounded children at heart. Please speak with them and try to understand their feelings. This does not mean they should control your decisions and make you feel guilty. If they try this, explain that respect of your new spouse is important and that you expect this.
Speaking to a professional is always important if you feel that you need this support.
Finally, there is the ex-spouse. Unless you must deal with the ex-spouse because your child is still a minor, do not engage this jealous ex-spouse. If you do have children and your ex-spouse is difficult after you re-marry, make sure you are compliant with all aspects of your court order and do not punish the children for the bad behavior of your ex-spouse. It may be difficult for your new spouse, but talk through all your feelings and continue to breathe. Do not permit this person to control your thoughts and emotions, or destroy your happiness.
In my opinion, the key to a successful second marriage is good communication, understanding, support, a tremendous sense of humor and commitment to the relationship through thick and thin.