Remarriage is Different Than a First Marriage

Did you know that 40% believe marriage is obsolete, according to Time Magazine?  However, they don’t always believe it is obsolete for them.  Remarriage is very common.  Yet, when couples get premarital counseling it is still geared to first marriage issues despite very different issues of second marriages.  If the second marriage is going to be successful it needs to be recognized as being a completely different animal.


It Is Not Just About The Couple

Couples who are doing great need to also consider that, in a remarriage situation, there are more people who are going to be impacted by their relationship than in a first marriage.  There may be kids involved and there is always a former spouse.  There are also extended family members from the previous marriage that have a relationship with the children. After they are married, these people are going to impact their relationship in ways they may not expect.  The dynamic that is added to the relationship is one that isn’t included in a first marriage.  These added dynamics put additional stress on the marriage.


Creating a stepfamily brings a whole new set of issues.  Some of these issues include what the attitude of the stepparent is about their parental role with their stepchildren.  Another is how the children will address their stepparent.  Also, how will that impact their biological parent?  What kind of authority does the stepparent have?  There is a whole new issue of building trust, where trust is a given by default to a biological parent.  How is the stepparent going to handle co-parenting with the former spouse?


Ghosts Of Marriage Past

There are also ghosts that may appear from the past marriage.  These appear as emotional scars that weren’t seen before.  We are complex emotionally.  In a relationship as intimate as marriage, there are emotional parts of us that are deeply affected.  When we get into a new marriage, someone touches those areas of our lives again.  That may bring up unexpected emotional reactions that need to be recognized.  There may be old pain that comes alive again.  How is the couple going to deal with those when they appear?

The most common ghost is the one of fear.  In marriages that fail there has inevitably been a breach of trust of some kind.  When someone has been hurt due to a breech of trust, it makes it harder to trust again.  What is surprising about this, however, is that this is not just a problem with people who have been married previously.  This is also a problem in first marriages.  However, in remarriages this is a very common issue.  Old scars cause people to be afraid to take risks in new relationships.  The more attachment injuries a person has, the more this may be a problem.  This can manifest itself in the form of jealousy.   This factor can predict with 93% accuracy whether or not the marriage will succeed.  The jealousy can be with the children or with other areas of the couple’s relationship.  What happens when the stepparent gets marginalized, then they begin to wonder if their spouse loves them less than the children.  This needs to be anticipated and a plan made to handle it before it happens.


Second and third marriages require special attention.  There are more complex issues that could put stress on the marriage.  Make sure you do the necessary premarital work to strengthen your unity as a couple and as parents.  Be able to tolerate extended family being unhappy.  Also, be willing to take the necessary risks for love.


If you’re planing a second wedding, visit for more information on second marriages or wedding vow renewal services.

About the Author
Team Wedding, founded in January 2000, is a network of wedding related directories and niche wedding websites designed to alleviate wedding planning stress and to give brides and grooms the one-stop-shop experience they need in this busy, modern world. Top Wedding Sites, is the Internet’s first directory of the top ranked wedding sites, voted on by brides, grooms and others interested in hosting a wedding. Plan your wedding fast, easy and in the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere you can get an internet connection.

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  1. NJ Wedding Officiant

    You make reference to 2nd and 3rd marriages needing special attention. That would be an interesting topic unto itself. What do you think is a good rule of thumb as far as timing after divorce if a couple is considering a remarriage? It’s been my observation that when a couple rushes into a marriage on the heels of one of them divorcing, it’s almost doomed from the start. Of course there are sometimes circumstances when a couple has lived apart for years and kept their marital status legal for monetary or insurance purposes. But even those situations should take pause, no?

  2. Jim Anderson

    You are certainly right about that, NJ Wedding Officiant. A lot of people use a time period as a barometer. I think those are false guidelines because they assume time will heal. It isn’t time that heals, it is resolution. It is moving through the grieving process to its conclusion. Everyone moves at a different pace. When a couple is considering remarriage, the key question to ask is if the divorce is resolved. I’m not talking about the settlement of property. I’m talking about emotionally. Are they reconciled in their relationship to where they can be at peace with their former spouse and relate to them without anger or hurt? Many people never get to that point and some get there relatively quickly. Until they get there, they aren’t ready to remarry.

  3. Edie

    It’s neither time nor resolution exclusively. It’s acknowledging what went wrong, that both parties had a stake in making it happen whether they want to or not, and making a conscious decision not to do the same things over. And weddings don’t last. Marriages do.

  4. Jim Anderson

    Thanks for your comment. Certainly, taking ownership for your role in a failed marriage and learning from your mistakes is part of the process.

  5. Top Wedding Sites

    If more couples focused on the wedding ceremony, and the marriage to follow, rather than the reception and parties, we may not even be having this discussion.

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