Finding love, again
Most people tag second marriages as a bad thing, a curse, taboo etc.…especially churches as I’ve noticed. But I’m not here to talk about the laws of our Lord Jesus Christ as written in the scriptures. I am here to talk about a bond, a connection, and a once in a lifetime soul mate finding… the ‘I bless the day I found you’ kind of feeling. Most people don’t know what a second marriage signifies. To me, it is simply an opportunity. A meeting of hearts and minds of two people that have known heartbreak.
You don’t get to second marriage without experiencing the pain of a relationship demise either through break-up or death. Either way you know what it’s like at a visceral level to lose love. Sometimes the people I have come to meet who are in their second marriage tell me they struggle with feelings of inadequacy. They feel tight in the stomach when someone announces smugly that it’s their 25th year anniversary or when they are referred to as the second wife. They may believe that a second relationship has less status than a first. That somehow this second chance is less worthy than the first. That is so not true I assure you.
Others struggle with the resentment of partner’s past lives without them. They may feel shut out when old friends or stepchildren tell stories from the partner’s life before the relationship. They may feel a sense of loss that they did not have an opportunity for first love or to have children with their partner. They may struggle with blended family issues such as the regular communication with exes over childcare and sharing holiday periods and weekends.
Look, there is no doubt that second marriages come with their challenges but there are also strengths present. People in second marriages know making a public commitment does not give you an insurance policy for relationship success. There is knowledge that without working on a deeper connection and respect is not nurtured, love can be lost. There can be a commitment to avoid making the mistakes of the past and being a better partner this time. When love has been lost and you’ve spent time alone, you are likely to value some of the unspoken benefits of marriage such as companionship and sharing financial responsibilities. You need to be able to find ways to value and honour your relationship rather than focusing on the difficult aspects or social perceptions. You are a person who deserves love, end of story.
I have come to know some people who are close to me in this type of situation and I have some ideas of how to do handle or get by this ‘not so difficult’ change.
* You need to be able to nurture the strengths of this marriage and talk about them regularly. Avoid frequently rehashing the problems.
* Talk about your first marriage if you need to but only for the purpose of letting it go, not for rehashing the pains and wrongs of the first marriage.
* Let go of the ideal of a first marriage. You may not have dreamed of a second marriage but this is what you have. Many people choose better partners for a second marriage, having been young and naïve or hopeful that their ex would change when getting married for the first time. Despite the challenges, if you have the partner choice part right, there’s every chance you can have a better marriage than your first.
* Find things that bring you together. A shared project or watching movies or football together. There are lots of reminders of what history you don’t share, so these things help you focus on making your own history.
* Make some new friends, who don’t know the exes. This is also part of creating your own history. Consider giving friends who make you feel less than or devalue your current relationship less of your time. These friends have their own reasons for doing this, maybe they are unhappy in their own marriage but aren’t strong enough to leave or maybe they feel resentment or loss because they miss the social ease of spending time with you and your ex-partner.
* Forgive yourself for making a poor choice of a first partner if need be. Or for any errors you made that contributed to the first marriage ending. No one has a crystal ball and all humans make mistakes. Give yourself a chance to have love by letting go of that particular poison. Avoid the ‘I wish I didn’t or had I known’ type of conversations.
* Stop calling yourself the second wife or husband. There can only be one marriage partner by law, so you are the wife or the husband. It’s nobody’s business which number you are. If others refer to you as this, politely correct them with “I’m his wife”. Period. And I know they will never make that mistake again.
Be proud of your relationship. You are courageous and brave to try again. You are worth it.
To our happiness. Cheers.