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Succeeding at Second Marriages

Remarriages are more complicated and at-risk than first marriages. Here's what you need to know to make it work.
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Couples entering a second marriage are often seen as lugging too much baggage to make a success of their next go-round. This assumes, however, that people can come into any relationship without baggage, or a history that impacts the relationship—an assumption that is, of course, untrue. Childhood, previous relationships, even relationships with siblings and friends over the course of life all impact spouse selection and the relationship that ensues from there onward.

Second marriages are by nature more complicated and more at-risk for divorce than first marriages (over 60 percent divorce rate, compared to around 50 percent for first-time marriages). Yet it's also clear that remarriages need the same strong and consistent nurturing as first marriages. No matter what your stage of life or circumstance, with some extra TLC and effective communication, your second marriage can succeed.

Remarriage with Young Children

Family life with small children is one of the most stressful times in any marriage due to the never-ending physical demands of small children. Con sequently, remarriage at this time of life is a challenge.

Sandy* and Bill have four children between them. Bill has two girls, ages ten and six, and Sandy has twin boys, age five. Bill's kids live primarily with their mother, but come for visits every Wednesday and every other weekend. The six-year-old and twins get along pretty well, but the ten-year-old goes between feeling in charge and feeling left out of the group dynamic.

"It's just so hard to have to discuss everything," sighs Sandy in one session.

Bill and Sandy came in for a consultation to clarify family expectations, unify family rules, set-up their family's structure, and deal with the negative impact of their ex-spouses on their relationship. Much marriage time, at this stage of any couple's life, is devoted to parenting issues. For the remarried couple, the attention to four-parent, four-personality decision-making can make planning holidays, birthdays, and school-performance attendance an even greater challenge.

After laying out a number of strategies to deal with the parenting issues cooperatively, we turn to the marriage. "What are the aspects of Sandy that drew you to her?" I ask Bill.

"Her spiritual center in Christ, her love for not only her own, but for my children, and her commitment to making our family great," he says. Sandy beams.

Second marriages at this stage are strongest when the spiritual life in Christ between the couple is strong and nurtured regularly. These two know that God called them together after both their marriages ended (for "biblical divorce" reasons). They try to keep the knowledge that God has given them a second chance at a Christian marriage at the forefront when the aggravation from being a blended family surfaces.

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August 22, 2014  12:35pm

This article doesn't tackle the nuts and bolts of second marriages and the conflict, localities, biological fathers siding with s kids, nor deeper financial issues. It has sugar coated step family life, and there's no sugar in our home. Only sour grapes.

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July 18, 2014  4:58pm

Humans, we rather criticize and use the Bible as instrument of mean. People don't you know the real calling that we have? bring people to Christ. remember... living water to that woman. I'm baptist by the way if your wondering...

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A Divorced Woman

May 27, 2014  6:07pm

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." --Jesus Christ Jesus calls remarriage after a divorce ADULTERY because… “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:39 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4 Scripture clearly slams the door shut on remarriage. Only the first marriage exists, there is no husband and wife in a second marriage, only two people living in adultery. Divorce does not end a marriage in Gods sight, that’s why He calls remarriage adultery!

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