Divorce-proof your second marriage
Rather than attempting to "redo" your first marriage with a different spouse, second marriages are a unique opportunity to change some of your own habits in order to avoid the same mistakes. According to a "how to" article recently published on eHow.com ("How to Avoid Divorce in a Second Marriage"), second marriages fail because divorced people are less opposed to divorce in the first place.
"Once you've been divorced," he says, "it is always seen as a viable alternative when marital problems arise." Divorce lawyers are always willing to help you if divorce is inevitable, but most would rather see you flourish in your new marriage.
Knowing that second marriages can be so much more complicated than the first, many divorcees simply avoid remarrying. However, if you are already on your second marriage or you're considering it, here are some steps to make your next union last.
1. Some things never change. No matter who you marry and how much you love each other, it pays to be realistic with your expectations. In other words, prepare to deal with some "constants" that happen in every marriage. Every couple fights about money, all husbands are messy and all wives will nag. If you expect your second marriage to be without minor problems, you may be setting yourself up for a letdown. Learn how to handle conflict and how to avoid escalating a minor problem into a major one.
2. Choose the right person. This might sound a bit obvious, but it is the most important step. The last thing you want in a second marriage is someone who exhibits many of the same negative traits as your first spouse. For example, if your first husband drank too much then don't attempt to meet your second husband in a bar. By now you know it's impossible to change someone after you start a relationship, so why marry someone who isn't a good fit from the start? The benefit of having been married before is an awareness of what you want in a spouse. Now is the time to apply that knowledge.
3. Fully divorce your ex. As a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer, I always advise my clients to do this before they start dating. Take a look around your house and make sure you remove all remnants of your first marriage. Don't hold on to your ex-spouse's personal items and remove any pictures of them from the mantle. This doesn't mean you should remove pictures of your children, but just be sure you're not still living in the past. Your new spouse will appreciate your intent to be forward-thinking.
4. Insist that your new spouse is treated with respect. Unless your new partner is responsible for your divorce, make sure that all family members treat your new husband or wife with respect. In family conflicts, take your spouse's side so everyone is clear about where your loyalty lies. Not only is this a healthy foundation for your new marriage; it will reduce your chance of another divorce. Your spouse needs to know where he or she stands in your life and children should not feel threatened by your new relationship.
5. Never compare your new spouse to your ex-spouse. As innocent as it may sound at the moment, it won't go over too well if you start commenting on your new spouse's cooking by saying your ex-wife made her own past a sauce. Avoid any mention of how well your ex-husband painted the living room too. When it comes to your ex, there is no such thing as an "innocent remark."
6. Resolve conflicts quickly. As angry as you may be, letting arguments fester can turn a small disagreement into much larger issue. Like tiny cracks in a vase, if they are allowed to grow long enough they will eventually fracture. When couples refuse to reconcile their differences, the next logical step is to give up. Remember the lessons learned in your first marriage and nip disagreements in the "bud." Like the Bible says, "Never let the sun go down on your anger."
Don't be fooled; there is no "magic bullet" to make a second marriage last, but it does take effort. Just because you've "been there, done that," doesn't mean you will find it easier to be married again. Think of your first marriage as a lesson learned, not a complete failure, and you will be able to apply your experience to a long-lasting and happy second marriage.
Photo Courtesy of Photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net