Secrets to a successful Second Marriage

Remarrying often presents challenges as they are more complicated and at-risk than first marriages. Here’s what you need to know to make it work.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Remarrying often presents challenges as they are more complicated and at-risk than first marriages. Here’s what you need to know to make it work

Marrying someone you love is always a dream come true for everyone. However, not all first marriages turn out as expected. Many couples have compatibility issues, financial problems, emotional disconnect, difference in expectations, leading their dream marriages into the nightmare of divorces, says Daniel Koh, psychologist with Insights Mind Centre. He however assures that it is still possible to have a successful marriage the second time around, albeit a few challenges.

Don’t Rush, Take Your Time

“If you’ve been badly hurt, you need to know that it is a risk in any relationship,” says relationship psychologist Toby Green. “But what you have to look at is whether you survived the hurt. If you don’t think that you have, then you shouldn’t get into another serious relationship.” If you do decide to remarry, however, Toby recommends turning perceived failures into lessons. “Wisdom is learning what doesn’t work for you and knowing not to repeat it,” she explains.

Pre-Marriage Counselling

Patricia Bubash, a professional counsellor and author of Successful Second Marriages, says couples can benefit from pre-remarriage counselling. “Also, sitting down before the ‘I dos’ and talking about common aims for the marriage helps,” she adds. Patricia strongly recommends taking time to get to know yourself first. “Decide what it is that you desire from your marriage, whether it’s companionship, security or a family,” she says. “Be honest with your spouse and be willing to let go of old baggage, including animosities.”

Importance Of Trust

According to Toby, trust is a vital part of any relationship. Daniel too, emphasises that trust is not a score card. “Understand what defines trust for you and discuss this with your partner so both of you can complement each other and support one another. Trust in a marriage is supporting each other to achieve each other’s hopes and dreams,” he adds.

New Responsibilities

Second marriages are sure to have some extra baggage – children, former spouses, alimony and child support are some of the most typical, and these can put a huge stress on a new marriage. Time, patience and money are often strained to the breaking point in second marriages due to the increased demands of two families. “It’s important for spouses to be honest about the challenges they will face in their second marriage and to be on the same page about how they will handle the conflicts that arise,” says Daniel.

The Kids On The Block

If either or both of you are bringing children [from a previous marriage] into this new relationship, it presents challenging issues that have been written about extensively. It is often difficult for children to accept anyone new immediately. “In such cases, the parental figure must be willing to give space, time, unconditional love and understanding to the child to help them accept the situation easily. Do not force the child to accept you or your child to accept your new spouse as their parent as this might have adverse implications,” advises Daniel. Time heals every wound – give them some time to understand this major change in their lives.

Daniel says it’s important keep to the same routine and structure where the kids are concerned. “When you have settled down, gradually encourage the child to accept the new changes in his or her life. Monitor the progress closely so that you are not taken over by surprise.”

Be Realistic

“A happily-ever-after will not be immediate. Learn about each other and accept the new dynamics in the family. Allow for individuality while still keeping the old family identity. Then try to create a new one,” suggests Daniel.

Daniel emphasises that you should never enter into the marriage to replace, compensate or to do better [than the previous parent or spouse]. “Always be yourself and let your partner see you for who you are. You should build on it rather than be what you think your partner wants you to be. Your partner chose you for who you are so do not change. It’s important to learn to grow together,” says Daniel.

Daniel suggests that couples learn to focus on a successful remarriage without being dragged down by fears, failures and thoughts of another divorce. Your second marriage is more likely to be successful if you focus on the positive aspects of your partner and life together.

In reality, life is a lot more complicated than fairy tales, but with love and commitment you can create a happy ending for your secondtime- around love story.


Capture The Moments

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