Clearer Connections

Remarried couples often bring baggage into their marriage. Here's how to work through the issues to gain stronger communication skills.

My husband's favorite proverb is, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." He usually quotes that right before I agree with him by sending him to sleep in the garage.

How is it that the one topic we've had drilled into our heads over and over is still one of the most difficult for us to master—especially for those couples in remarriages? We know how important communication is. But remarried couples have unique communication challenges that can be difficult to overcome without really grasping the problems of the past marriage and the needs of the current one. So how can we sort through everything that hasn't worked to find the things that do?

Talk to yourself first

If your spouse has done or said something that bothers you, before you confront, ask yourself some questions:

Could my mate's fear, stress, worry, or hurt have provoked his action or words?
Is she reacting more to her own painful past than to me?
Did my spouse say or do that to hurt me on purpose?
Am I feeling frustrated? Hurt? Angry? Scared?
Is this bothering me because I'm feeling insecure? Why?
Does this stem back to an experience from my previous marriage?
Am I misreading or exaggerating his actions?

Answer honestly, so you can tell your mate, "I felt frustrated when you charged all those clothes last week. It brought back the paranoia from when my ex-wife would spend money we didn't have. And that scared me."

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Ginger E. Kolbaba

Ginger Kolbaba is the author of Desperate Pastors' Wives and The Old Fashioned Way. Connect with her on Twitter @gingerkolbaba.

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May 25

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