Yes it can! This is according to the couples that I interviewed for my book, Successful Second Marriages. What prompted a book about second marriages? The failure of my own second marriage, and my admiration for remarrieds who found success in this second chance love. Success, in spite, of the negative numbers for second marriages. Statistics approximate that half of first marriages end in divorce. For second timers, the odds for making it get even tougher. Two thirds of those taking the plunge-again don’t make it. With odds like this, it is surprising that more than half of those first time exes do remarry. But they do! Because we are a nation in love with love.
So, yes, love can be better the second time around if we do some self-introspection, a little homework. When we meet with failure attempting a new project, a recipe, school, job, etc. we question what we did wrong? We don’t want to repeat our mistake, and fail again. This should also be true for a marriage. Whatever happened in that first union, we contributed to the demise- ok, maybe not as greatly as our ex-spouse, but we were half of the failed twosome. Mary Duparri, a family/marriage therapist has observed a certain pattern with clients who have found love again. Their comments relay their total lack of responsibility for their failed first marriage. They express to her, “Now, I have found the right person. I choose the wrong person before. I shouldn’t have married him (her) in the first place, but this time, I have the right one!” The therapist expressed her dismay that her client does not assess personal liability for the previous marriage, does not look into what went wrong, so mistakes are not repeated. Rather, concludes it was the wrong person. Now, this new love is the right person –a perfect match.
Bonus for this therapist would have been to have the couples I interviewed as her clients. These nine couples had done their homework before committing to another relationship. As much as they all agreed that after their divorce, they hoped for another relationship, they also, very vehemently, stated, “I never want to go through another divorce!” They were going to do everything in their power to make #two a success. The tagline on my book reads, inspiring, encouraging and hopeful, words descriptive of the couples interviewed. . Every time I left a home, I felt humbled and gratified for our conversations. And, I knew that I needed to be more attentive to my own marriage (yes, I am on third time is charm- 23 years), aspiring to the quality I was observing.
Their stories were the catalyst, a personal goal to write a book. First, for my own personal understanding of what went wrong with my second marriage? What had I contributed to the failure of it? And, what was the formula for success the second time around?
1. Know yourself. Before you say, “I do” again, know what you really want in a marriage. Are you looking for companionship only, security, credibility, a family? What are you willing to contribute? Do some introspection. I was impressed with the number of individuals I interviewed who did just this: spent some time alone, getting to know themselves better vs. rushing out to become a twosome again. Taking time out for crucial self-awareness.
2. Discuss finances. I do know this was a problem in my second marriage. I owned the home, earned more money. This is especially important when each person has children. Decide who is responsible for what expenses, have this clearly determined before you become “legal”.
3. Don’t expect love and acceptance from his/her kids! Many a troubled, disappointed parent has come to my office to bemoan, “I have found the love of my life, and my children are being horrible. I don’t know what is the matter with them.” Well, you may be in love, but they are not. They have another parent-so give them time- don’t rush them to acceptance of this “wonderful” new husband or wife.
I learned much more than these three tips from my wonderful second timers. Love can be better the second time around when we don’t rush to action (marriage again), do some introspection, clarify financial responsibility, give kids some time, and read Successful Second Marriages.
Patricia Bubash, M.Ed, LPC
Counselor / Author / Speaker
St. Louis 314 842 5460