Five Key Ways to Keep Second Marriages on Track
Keep your second marriage happy and healthy
Okay, so the stats aren’t great. The more times you marry, the higher the chance of divorce.
According to Psychology Today, about half of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, while 67 per cent of second marriages and 73 per cent of third marriages fail. Not a pretty picture, but surely there are ways to avoid becoming a statistic.
There are — and here, the top five things to keep in mind if you want to keep your second marriage happy and healthy.
1) Put the word ‘second’ in perspective
The first thing, says London, Ontario-based psychologist and relationship expert Guy Grenier, is to realize that good relationship skills are essential no matter what marriage you’re in.
“There is a tremendous overlap in first and second marriages in terms of what you need to make it successful. There are some subtle differences, but you still have to have patience, courage, communication skills and problem-solving strategies. You need these for any relationship.”
2) Be aware of the ‘been there, done that’ factor
3) Watch out for the ‘fire and forget’ trap
Dr. Grenier uses this military saying to refer to the habit many people have of taking a relationship for granted.
“Once you’ve courted somebody and you’re attracted and you’ve identified things you have in common, and you get married – then you’re done in terms of looking after the relationship. Well that’s a big gamble and an ill-informed approach. Relationships need constant monitoring and ongoing maintenance.”
4) Accept the fact you’ll both have baggage
Chances are second marriages for Baby Boomers come with lots of baggage. There are often children (even if they’re adults they’re still your children), property, debts and assets – and let’s not forget any ex-spouses. Sometimes the issues, like kids or financial challenges, can actually turn out to be things second spouses can bond over. The key to successfully managing baggage is practising good, solid communication skills.