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Remarrying your ex--how to make it work this time
While there are no exact statistics on the occurrence of remarriage to ex-spouses--studies have shown that these remarriages are more successful for the couples than the first time they went to the altar together. There are a number of reasons for this that include maturity and more life and relationship experience. However these alone can't be counted on if there are unresolved issues and/or problematic dynamics that the couple neglects to address as they make their happy reunification plans. If you are taking steps towards remarrying your ex--carefully consider and weigh the following before tying your second marital knot.
Identify the issues that led to your divorce
Every marriage encounters stressors and challenges that can lead to disagreements, alienation, and conflict. Many couples rush quickly into divorce without seeking the professional help that may have helped them successfully navigate through their issues and differences. Therefore the first step every couple who is considering remarriage should take is to clearly identify what went wrong for them the first time. The list could include immaturity, selfishness, financial mismanagement and stressors, disagreements on lifestyle or parenting, and/or career conflicts. It is also possible that their issues were related to timing, such as separation due to a job change or a return to school. What went wrong, how, and why should all be discussed and carefully examined before taking any steps towards reconciliation.
Carefully consider and discuss your top reasons for seeking remarriage
It's easy to grieve your relationship post-divorce. After all, the grass is not always greener on the other side. You were married because you shared an attraction and more, and you can miss the convenience, comfort, and security that marriage offers. While there is nothing wrong with wanting and valuing these--they weren't enough the first time, so why would they be now? It will be important for you to have a frank discussion about why you would both be better together than apart. What feelings, needs, and wants can remarriage to one another fulfill? What are your expectations and are you both on the same page?
Ask yourselves and one another what is different now and why?
Divorce results in a physical and emotional separation. However old grudges, unresolved trust issues, feelings of betrayal, an inability to communicate, and/or unhealthy relationship dynamics will not resolve or disappear just because you are no longer coupled. Any of these could reignite once the relationship flame is relighted. Therefore it will be important to discuss the growth and change that you as individuals have identified a need for, are working on, or have achieved since the divorce--and how this could positively impact your relationship the second time around. You will need to employ self-reflection, demonstrate new insights, and have a willingness to work on things you weren't open to addressing in the past.
Work with a counselor beforehand to ensure you are more successful this time around
Before saying "I do" again; arrange to meet for a few months with a qualified and experienced marital counselor. Counseling will address any problems in communication, it will help each of you to speak so you are heard correctly, and listen in a way that your partner knows you are paying attention. You will also gain new tools and learn new problem-solving techniques to aid you through the rough patches that are sure to come. Your counselor can also help you determine if you are ready to try again or if you need more time and work before taking the plunge.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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