Starting a Second Marriage Off Right

Starting over from a divorce is never an easy experience. When you find love again and make the decision to enter into a second marriage, you may be wondering how to make it last. The truth is that the new marriage may be no more successful than the first if you aren't willing to do things differently the second time around.

Rely on Your Experience
After your first marriage, you should have gained the knowledge and experience to know what didn't work. Unfortunately, if you don't apply what you've learned, you may fall back into the same routines and problems that caused the first marriage to end. Nearly everyone who marries for the second time is going to bring some level of past baggage with them. The knowledge you have gained from the experience of the first marriage, however, will help you make the second marriage last.

Marriage Help 101
A prior marriage isn't a guarantee that you know what you're doing. Too many couples don't take the second marriage as seriously as the first one because they think they have the past problems solved. They are also less afraid of divorce since they've been through it. Even before you exchange vows for the second time, you can benefit from seeking out marriage advice through premarital counseling. Premarital counseling was once thought of as something people did before they walked down the aisle a third or fourth time, but counseling can help you settle issues from your previous relationships and prepare yourselves for a new marriage. Plus, advice from a neutral third party can make all the difference when it comes to preventing problems before they start.

You, Me and Exes Make Three (or Four)
A new marriage needs time to get settled, but with a second marriage there is usually no time to allow yourselves to get used to your new roles, especially when ex-spouses enter the picture. Holding your breath until they agree to go away won't help, and you will probably pass out before it happens.

If you are dealing with your ex-spouse, set clear boundaries with them if your marriage to them didn't end cordially and you have children. Depending on your custody arrangement, you might need to see your ex on a weekly basis. Focusing on what is best for your children and maintaining a regular schedule for visits will go a long way toward reducing conflict. Try not to fight, and bring in a lawyer or a mediator to settle any disputes.

Excessive complaining about your ex to your current spouse will indicate that your ex still has a big place in your life, and that won't put your new marriage on solid ground. When your ex makes decisions that impact your current marriage, reassure your spouse that you are doing all you can to put the past behind you-and follow through on what you say.

On the other hand, if it is your new spouse's ex who is causing trouble, you might not trust them to set boundaries, or you might be tempted to criticize how they handle the matter. You may want to give advice if you have a decent relationship with your own ex, but don't nag or give ultimatums. Every situation with an ex is different. Continue to support your new spouse, and be there for them while everyone adjusts to their new lives.

Change Only You
We have romanticized versions of what marriage and love should be about. Should you marry a second time, you should drop those visions of changing your new spouse and focus on changing yourself. You have to become the person you want to be. A failed first marriage can be traumatic, but, if you want the second marriage to succeed, look at what you want from your new marriage, and seek to change yourself so that you get it.

Communicate Through It All
Eventually, you must come to a decision about what is worth an argument and what isn't. Mistakes and issues from the previous marriage will return when you least expect it. How you react to those times will affect whether or not your second marriage works. Help each other by admitting when you've handled a situation badly, and discuss openly what is hard for you.

Trust is usually one of the biggest issues for people entering into a second marriage. Advice on how to trust each other varies from one marriage expert to another. Ask your partner for ways to help you and-again-consider counseling. Odds are your new spouse is just as committed as you are and will be willing to help you through these feelings.

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