Considering a second marriage? Already in one? Divorced and wondering whether you would ever be crazy enough to do it again? Here are some tips that I have learned from my coaching practice and 13 years the second time around, after 10 years in my first marriage.
My wife and I always say to couples, if you can make your first marriage work, do it! That’s because the second time around has some unique and weighty problems first-timers never face, especially if you have children. If your children are grown up or you have none, a second marriage is much easier but not without its challenges.
With children, your ex-spouses have a heavy voice in your new life together. You are limited in where you can move, when you can vacation, how much money you have to payout and the ever-present awareness (or anixiety) that they can take legal action on any of these fronts. It’s a major constraint to your quality of life. I made huge efforts to win over my ex-spouse and our cooperative spirit made life vastly easier than it is for many divorced and remarried persons.
Adding to the fun are your own well-ingrained habits. Couples train each other so they fit one another. Those who fail to do this, don’t stay married for very long. A friend of my wife’s lovingly calls this her “starter spouse.” From who does the cooking and cleaning to how you resolve conflict, you acquire habits, good, bad or ugly with your first mate. When spouse #2 comes along, these habits come with them. They are no longer a virgin in more ways than one!
Nowhere is this more evident than in raising kids. You really have two choices the second time around – get involved or stay out. How do you stay out when the kids dominate the schedule, take your spouse away several nights a week, need to be fed and comforted even while they really wish you were not there. They want their real mom or dad!
Personally, I could not have coped without The First Rule of Inner Peace. “First get neutral about outcomes and then you will see clearly what to do.” Of course, I didn’t grasp the significance of this powerful, practical teaching in the beginning. This was a major reason my wife and I separated not once but twice in our first three years together. Thank the good Lord that his wise ways held us together and we are grateful for that today, ten years later with four blended children who are now mostly off on their own.
The best advice I can give anyone considering a second marriage is to read my ebook, Near and Far Stay Married. It explains better than I can in a short blog, the root cause of why a marriage falls apart and why you will face the same pressures the second time around. There is no escaping God’s plan for each of us to learn the true meaning of commitment and spiritual love.
Jesus articulated this in many ways and one of my favourites is this: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) We need to learn to be last and when we master it, we discover that we are indeed first – in love, in peace and in wisdom. The First Rule of Inner Peace makes this upside down teaching clear, practical and life-changing.