Divorce can be complicated and challenging, often heart-wrenching, sometimes ugly and bitter. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and extremely stressful. Yet, the most painful and taxing divorce or two should not hold you back from trying again for often the third time’s the charm, and marriage after two divorces can be a healthy and beautiful thing.
You see, marriage is not good, bad, healthy, or unhealthy in and of itself (nor is divorce for that matter). It is the emotions, feelings, and work of the two people in the marital relationship that make it good, bad, happy, or sad.
Happy marriage results when two people pull together for the benefit of their relationship as a whole. Sure, it takes effort, communication, patience, commitment, respect, understanding, and trust, but then again all great relationships do. The same goes for marriage after two divorces.
Whether you have been divorced just once, or you’re now in your second post-divorce healing process, please know you will get through this. With the right mindset and outlook, you too can find love again.
Often, that new love finds you when we aren’t looking for it. It may come from a new coworker or an old reacquainted friend. It could come on fast and furious, or it may be slow and surprising. In time, it may lead to discussions of commitment.
If and when those discussions emerge I hope you will consider marriage again and here’s how to be ready for it.
Live Life Looking Forward
It takes time to process feelings after a divorce, and you should take all the time you need. Just remember not to wallow in negative or unhealthy emotions. Instead, focus on a healthy recovery by taking care of yourself mentally as well as physically, and move past any bitterness or regret.
Look to get involved in activities you used to love but haven’t done in a while or try something new you’ve always wanted to do. Eat right, get plenty of sleep, and be sure to exercise.
Strive to embrace new experiences and develop new friendships and relationships versus trying to change the past or hold on to something or someone that is no longer available to you. Cherish your good memories but go out and create new ones too.
Live the next phase of your life looking forward, not looking back at the past except to learn and grow from it. Moving on will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Reach out to others for assistance if needed.
Everyone Has Baggage, Learn To Unpack It
As humans, we tend to see the flaws in others while being blind to our own issues. However, we need to take a good hard look at our less than stellar qualities and understand if we are a certain way because of something in our past that we’ve not dealt with.
“One is always in the dark about one’s own personality. One needs others to get to know oneself” – Carl Jung
Since who we are today is a sum total of our pasts, it’s likely the negative things in our pasts that we’ve not dealt with resulted in previous personality problems, emotional issues, relationship difficulties and our prior marital troubles.
Unpacking the events from our past will allow us to deal with them, take responsibility for them, and finally forgive others and ourselves to heal those old wounds.
Chances are your new partner will also have a fair amount of baggage from prior relationships as you do from yours. While you each need to deal with your own baggage individually, you also need to understand the others.
After you’ve been candidly honest with yourself, do so again with each other.
By sharing prior problems and concerns with your new partner, you can work together to help keep those old issues and fears in the past. Likewise, understanding their history will help you when old matters come up for them.
The more honest you are with each other, the stronger your relationship will be.
Handle The Heavy Stuff, Families and Finances
Any marriage after one divorce, let alone two, is bound to have some substantial matters to deal with. Children, stepchildren, ex-spouses, and a whole host of relatives, ex-relatives, and friends, plus, child-support, spousal support, debt, insurance, and other financial matters are potential issues.
While it might sound daunting right now, I assure you it’s possible to work through these topics and find a solution for all. The crucial key is communication.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation” – Oscar Wilde
Develop a list of foundational guidelines and non-negotiables for dealing with each other’s children, friends, families, and exes. Establishing ground rules that you can each agree to in the beginning will help to minimize and possibly avoid potential misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment later.
Keep the exes out of the marriage. While they will always be parents to your children and you will indeed interact with them on occasion they have no place in your new relationship. If you or your new partner aren’t over your previous spouses slow down.
It’s okay to take more time to heal. Work through the process and then continue getting to know each other.
Get your financial house in order too by working to eliminate debt, control spending, save, and invest. When moving towards a new committed relationship, the financial health of each party must be discussed.
Together establish in advance whether your finances will be entirely separate or partial combined. Hash out such things as wills, insurance beneficiaries, and power of attorney documents.
Discuss financial obligations, joint financial goals, tax implications, career and family plans, and future retirement dreams.
Marriage After Two Divorces
My husband and I were each married twice before. He has three children from these prior relationships, and I have two from mine. My first marriage was brief, less than a year, and my second was just shy of twenty. My husband’s first lasted almost five years and his second thirteen. We will celebrate our fifth anniversary in a few months.
Separately and together we’ve faced many challenges and have come through them stronger and more resilient as a result. We’ve found greater love, trust, patience, and respect in our relationship then we previously experienced in others. For us, the third time is definitely the charm.
Marriage after prior divorces works when both parties:
- know who they are individually and are happy with themselves
- prefer to be in a committed relationship and are happy together
- learned from their previous issues and can put their pasts behind them
- are emotionally and financially secure
- know their children are okay with the decision
- understand each other’s values, obligations, and expectations
- are open and honest with themselves and each other
- put love, communication, trust, and their relationship first
Many of you having experienced divorce more than once in your life may shy away from marriage again. However, I urge you not to rule it out completely. It is good for your health, and for my husband and I, marriage after two divorces is proving to be a marvelous thing.
- While no couple walks down the aisle intending to one day sign divorce papers, it is common for marriages to end in divorce. Maybe you went into it with unrealistic expectations, rushed into marriage without really getting to know your spouse, or experienced a catastrophic life event that changed you…