Saving Your Second Marriage

Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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Your Quick Guide to Relationship Success
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Are you worried about saving your second marriage? There is good reason to be concerned because as many as 60% of remarriages fail. The statistics get worse when children are involved. According to an article published in The Family Journal, subsequent relationships involving stepchildren fail 70% of the time.(1)

Another key factor that raises the risk of divorce in second relationships is if the couple has known each other less than one year before they get married.

Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
1940 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon  97232

Family with kids

Seems like some people rush to get remarried because they are simply lonely.

The best advice is to take your time. Saving your second marriage must begin before you even get remarried. Be sure you know the person you intend to marry. Sounds crazy, right? Of course you know the person you intend to marry. You probably know your intended’s favorite color, favorite food, and favorite sports team, but do you know his feelings about discipline, religion, money and sex? Be honest with yourself, and if you don’t know what your partner is thinking, take the time to discuss it before you walk down the aisle.

Imagine if you were committed to saving your second relationship, but your partner thought your rowdy kids should be seen and not heard. If you and your first spouse raised them to speak their minds, how would that work out for you with your second spouse’s views? Or what if you want to have sex twice a week, but she thinks twice a year is sufficient? How could you arrive at a schedule that works for both of you? What about money? Are you concerned about saving? Your second marriage may be doomed from the start if your partner thinks every penny must be spent as soon as it is earned.

What can you do to give yourself a better chance of saving your second marriage? In the book, Getting It Right This Time(2), authors Barry and Emily McCarthy point out that you can use the information you gained from your first marriage to help your second marriage succeed. The basic premise is that by identifying what went wrong in your first marriage, you may be able to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes twice.

One of the factors important to saving your second marriage may be the level of equality in the marriage. A study out of Belgium points out that “the risk for marriage dissolution decreases when the two spouses work, have comparable earnings, and share the household tasks equally.”(3)

Another important mechanism for saving your second marriage is developing rituals. Helen W. Coale of the Atlanta Area Child Guidance Clinic suggests the therapeutic use of rituals in stepfamilies to help family members create stability in times of change.(4)

Finally, saving your second marriage may be made easier by consulting a relationship therapist. Counseling can help you and your spouse find the common ground you seek to help you remember why you fell in love with each other.

End Notes

(1) Kass, Anne, “Second Marriage Can Be As Difficult As The First One”, The Family Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2, 119 – 123 (2007).

(2) McCarthy, Barry W., and Emily J. McCarthy. Getting It Right This Time How to Create a Loving and Lasting Marriage. New York: Routledge, 2006.

(3) Raeymaeckers, Peter, et al. “Marriage and Divorce in Belgium: The Influence of Professional, Financial, and Educational Resources on the Risk for Marriage Dissolution”, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, Vol 46 (1/2) 2006.

(4) Coale, Helen W., “Therapeutic Use of Rituals with Stepfamilies”, The Family Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2 – 10 (1994).

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