While many see remarriage as a second chance for happiness, statistics tells a different story. According to studies, the divorce rate during the second marriage in the United States is more than 60%, and during the first - 50%.
Why do remarriages fail more often?
One explanation is the “mixed” family - when children from their first marriage should interact with new parents. But there are many other difficulties and stressors that arise during remarriage. To cope with them, follow these three rules.
Everyone has baggage
When people remarry, they often transfer unhealthy relationship habits and problems from their first marriage into it, which can be bad for a new relationship. For example, if your ex-husband has changed you, you may be unsure of your new partner and suspect him, even if he gives no reason.
Do not be afraid to be vulnerable
Fear of opening up to a person so as not to be vulnerable can become a real stumbling block in a second marriage. The fact that you will not express your innermost feelings, thoughts and desires may actually jeopardize relationships, because you lose trust and intimacy with your partner.
If you are vulnerable to your partner, you may feel defenseless, but this is the most important component of trusting, intimate relationships. In The Great Daring, writer Brané Brown defines vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional impact." It follows from this definition that loving someone means taking a lot of risks. Another expert, John Gottman, in the book “What makes love continue?” Writes that “life becomes much better for those who find the courage to trust others.”
Build realistic expectations
Realize that in remarriage both ups and downs are inevitable. New love is a wonderful feeling, but it does not compensate for the pain of divorce and does not restore the previous status of the family. According to family expert, Maggie Scarfe, “remarriage presents couples with a number of unforeseen problems, such as loyalty problems, the breakdown of parental tasks and the unification of different family traditions.”
Interpersonal communication is a key issue for remarriage. This is especially true when it comes to finances, how to discipline children, and rivalry between family members.
Below you will find ten effective rules on how to make your second marriage work.
Build a culture of appreciation, respect and tolerance
Writer Kyle Benson says: “For any opportunity, tell your partner that you value them. The idea is to notice all that your partner is doing right, and to say "thank you" for it.
Train to be vulnerable in steps.
Try to work on being more open with your man. Discussing minor issues, such as schedule and meals, is a great way to start doing this. Then you can tackle more important issues, such as disciplining children or managing finances.
Create a relaxed atmosphere to interact with your man.
In the book The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work, the writer Gottman urges us to respond to the requests of our partner, showing attention, affection and support. It may be something insignificant, for example, a request “please make a salad” or a more important request when you can support your man.
Discuss your expectations to avoid misunderstandings.
Take a chance and do not be afraid to be disappointed, instead of deceiving yourself and shutting yourself off from reality. In the book The Rules of Marriage, Harriet Lerner argues that clarifying relationships can actually have a positive effect. The author writes that the couple "can survive the conflict and even learn from it."
Be prepared for conflict
Understand that conflict does not mean the end of your marriage. The study of Dr. John Gottman showed that conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and almost 70% of marriage problems remain unresolved. Despite this, conflict can be successfully resolved, and marriage can flourish! Expert Stephanie Maynes recommends taking a short break if you feel depressed in order to restore positive communication with your partner.
Listen to the requests of your partner and ask for clarification on those points that were incomprehensible to you. So that your arguments do not acquire an accusatory tone, start from what you felt, and not from what your man did wrong. For example, say this: "It hurt when you bought a car without discussing it with me."
Accept your role as stepmother
The role of the stepmother is the role of an adult friend, mentor and supporter, and not the warden. Learn new strategies and share your ideas with your man. Do not expect a child of instant love for you. Of course, when you feel that the children of your man do not appreciate you or treat you disrespectfully, you find it difficult to communicate with them, and this causes stress in the family. Try to work on it to change the situation for the better.
Tune in to your man
Demonstrate your intention to listen and compromise. Practicing what expert John Gottman calls “emotional tuning” during a joint holiday with a man can help you stay in emotional connection with him, despite possible disagreements. It means “turning” towards each other and showing understanding, not “turning away.” A 40-year study by Gottman showed that for happy couples the ratio of interactions during a conflict is 5: 1 - that is, for each negative interaction you need five positive ones.
Set open dialogue
Do not threaten and do not put ultimatums. Do not say things that you regret later. For example, finance is one of the most common topics on which married couples argue - and complete openness in this matter is the key to the success of a marriage.
Learn to forgive
Accept that everyone has flaws. Forgiveness is not the same as justifying the harm done to you. But forgiveness will allow you to move on and remember that you and your man are on the same team.