Stoplights on the Road to Second Marriages
So you’re single again and looking for a second chance at love. You’re attracted to someone you meet and you begin to discuss personal information. The following issues are like stoplights on the way to second marriages, if they ever come up.
Stop, look, listen and decide beforehand what you will do if you foresee any of these four possible hazards:
- Claims of Perfection
- Ghosts from Past Relationships
- Marriage of Convenience
- No Contribution
(1) Claims of Perfection
The topic of your previous marriages (yours and his) surfaces. He talks about how hard he tried to save the relationship, how his wife was so distracted that she could not see the wisdom in his advice. He relates several incidents, all of which prove that if he had married a different kind of woman, he would be in a good marriage. He doesn’t say that he is perfect, but that’s what he suggests by admitting that there is nothing he could have done nothing differently.
Or, it could be the woman who suggests that the man she married lagged behind in his personal growth, and she outgrew him to the point of incompatibility. The fault is all his, as far as she is concerned.
There’s no such thing as one person being totally responsible for the breakup of a marriage relationship. Each spouse contributes by deeds done or not done; by over-caring or under-caring; by swollen self esteem or diminished sense of insecurity; by any one of a million reasons which could create disconnectedness.
If a man or woman does not share the responsibility for the break-up, that person is likely to facilitate another divorce. If he or she is widowed, still listen for any suggestion of perfect strength and no weakness. Perfect people have nothing to learn—not even about the new person in the new relationship. Beware!
(2) Ghosts from the Past
Then there is the scenario of past spouses who were perfect people. The man talks about his late wife’s cooking and wants to hand over her recipes to the next prospective bride. He wants the same taste of food in the new relationship. Is there any chance that the new woman may have some recipes he would enjoy? He also wants the floral arrangements and everything else to remain the way the first woman of the house left them.
Or, the woman loves the brand of shirts her previous husband wore, and introduces the catalog to her new man. She’s also hoping that they would fit the new spouse just like they fit the previous one. The comparison between the old and new lovers never seems to end.
Do these people want new relationships? Or do they want new faces on the ghosts from the past? For a live person, imitating a ghost could have deadly consequences. Insist on being someone different than the previous spouse. Insist on the right to be yourself, and for the opportunity to display your strengths!
(3) Marriage of Convenience
The marriage of convenience worked in Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly, when Clarke Davis wanted a mother to raise his daughter, and Marty Claridge needed a roof over her head. Clarke and Marty got married and eventually fell in love. Still, such a marriage of convenience is a big risk if you’re looking for love.
Be advised that not everyone wants to build a relationship on love. Some want to build on:
- the other person’s ability to supply his or her needs;
- a good health insurance;
- a father or mother figure for the children;
- a handyman around the house;
- a good connection to bankers, money lenders and so on.
If both man and woman agree to trade affection for commodities, they are free to exercise their choice. It just wouldn’t be fair if one was not aware of the other’s intention.
(4) No Contribution
It is expected that a new relationship will improve the way life was, before the relationship. Life as usual would mean that one or both individuals in the partnership has nothing to contribute. On the other hand, the new union should make notable differences in the lives of both individuals, because they want to see each other improve.
Here are a few areas where each of them, living up to their expectations, can make their lives become better than usual:
- They combine their efforts on projects which were difficult to handle by one's self.
- They share mutual encouragement to pursue goals which would otherwise be neglected;
- They both learn skills from the expertise of each other;
- They enjoy travel together whereas before they became a couple, they dreaded the loneliness of traveling alone.
These expectations are not in themselves reasons to get married; if they were, there would be many choices for a spouse; but they are contributions which add worth to the marriage that is founded on love. Every prospective spouse has a right to envision these kinds of changes for the better.
Which of these possible hazards is most likely to be overlooked by spouses to be?
Proceed With Caution
Marriage relationships are about working together for the improvement of both lives. Both are required to invest themselves and enjoy the reward of their togetherness and cooperation. Having tried and failed once before is no excuse for slackening up the second time. The inability to commit to this process is a bright stoplight.
Be cautious. Stop at each stoplight and make sure that the path is clear, as far as you can see. Then proceed with promises from each other that hurdles around the bend will be encountered and conquered by your combined efforts. Make good use of faith and prayer!
- Before You Get Married the Second Time
New beginnings are among the greatest of life's gifts. Consider these seven factors to help you make the best of your second marriage.
© 2013 Dora Weithers