5 Ways to Avoid the Pitfalls of Remarriage

Although about half of all marriages end in divorce, the challenges for second marriages are greater. According to the National Center For Family and Marriage at Bowling Green State University, research shows that 60% of second marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for third marriages is even higher at 65%. So why does remarrying present so many challenges for couples?

Remarrying presents the following significant hurdles for couples to overcome in order to have a satisfying relationship:

Pitfall #1: Baggage

Issues from prior marriages don’t just go away after the divorce is finalized. Dysfunctional dynamics are tendencies that will likely persist and reoccur in future relationships.

Tip: Instead of rushing into marriage make sure that you understand your relationship behavioral patterns. Do you have a thorough sense of how you contributed to the problems in your previous relationships? This often necessitates learning to understand yourself in counseling so that you know you are in a healthy place for any new relationship.

Pitfall #2: Increased Financial Stress

Typically, financial pressure increases after a marriage ends. Money is often owed to one’s ex in in form of alimony payments, child support, and any assets acquired that need to be divided. Financial conflict is already the biggest issue couples struggle with, which often leads to divorce. How will you handle this extra financial pressure?

Tip: Meet with your partner before marrying to communicate all aspects of your financial situation. Discuss and agree on realistic expectations before getting remarried. It is highly recommended to meet with a financial advisor and/or a couples counselor to ensure the two of you are on the same page.

Pitfall #3: Moving Too Fast

Remarrying couples often act too hastily and marry too quickly. They don’t take the time to make sure that their relationship is healthy and determine whether or not they are truly ready to take the next step.

Tip: It’s important to slow down and make sure that your relationship is in the right place before marriage. If there is any uncertainty it would be foolish not to attend premarital counseling.

Pitfall #4: It’s Easier to Give Up

When things get tough it’s easier to “throw in the towel” with a second marriage. Couples typically don’t have as much fear of the relationship ending when they’ve already faced “the end” in a past relationship. Also, commitment is less likely. And willingness to do the hard work necessary for a successful marriage lessens when conflict ensues. Ironically, having been through a separation or divorce once before helps to make the process a little easier the second or third time around because it’s a familiar path.

Tip: Prepare for conflict in your marriage. Recognize it’s an inevitable part of any relationship and acquire the skills to handle it. Premarital counseling can help provide the tools you both need when conflict arises. Learning conflict resolution skills is essential!

Pitfall#5: Blended Family Chaos

First marriages rarely begin with the stress of children. Remarrying though often does involve children. Couples have to now divert their attention away from each other and towards their own children and stepchildren. This makes resentment and jealousy a probable reality. Combined with brand new step-parenting adjustments, the risk of misunderstandings and conflict, unfortunately, is sky high.

Tip: It helps to have a clear understanding of expectations before the blending of families begins. Preparation through premarital and family counseling can help to better facilitate the blending process. It also helps when stepparents are able to gradually develop a solid relationship with any stepchildren before assuming parental authority and disciplinary practices. Even when attending counseling, newly blended families require having a high level of patience to handle the stress and tremendous overall adjustment.

The challenges of remarrying are great. There are many potential pitfalls that can lead couples towards another divorce. However, you can reduce the risk of encountering these pitfalls. Preparation, slowing things down, developing communication tools, and seeking out premarital and family counseling are key. Together, you can take the important steps above to maximize the chances that your second marriage is a lasting success.

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