You might be surprised to hear how often a marriage ends in divorce – only to later find the two people involved back together again. I know it surprised me, when I first started, how many times we could divorce the same people.
But for all the people getting their second divorce from the same man, I’m sure there’s a whole other group who get back together with their ex and make it work the second time around. (I just don’t really see the happily ever afters!)
The thing about marriage, separation, and divorce is that there are really no hard and fast rules. We’re in the relationships that we’re in, whether or not they last, for a reason. Not to wax to poetic, but I do think that our relationships turn us into the people we’re meant to be. In some cases, they even give us children. So, while it’s easy to say that you shouldn’t make the same mistakes twice, I would argue that there’s no real mistakes here, as long as you’re learning and growing – and, hopefully, finding happiness.
The only mistake here, I think, is in making the same choice twice but not improving upon that choice the second time around. Going into it the same way, making the same mistakes, is silly because it doesn’t allow you the benefit of your wisdom and experience.
When you marry your spouse twice
When you prepare to marry your ex-husband for the second time, it’s a good idea to remember back to what caused you to break up in the first place. Not to rehash old stuff, but to attempt to fix the mistakes that were made that led you to divorce.
I think this is good advice, generally, across the board, no matter who you marry the second (or third) time, but it’s especially important to keep in mind when you marry the same person twice, because it’s easy to fall back into destructive patterns. Whether it’s a new love or the resumption of an old love, the excitement of a new relationship can cause you to make questionable choices. So, in the clear light of day, take some time to sit back and analyze what went wrong, and come up with a plan to make sure that the same mistakes don’t derail your marriage for a second time.
Attend premarital or couples counseling, to ensure you’re both on the same page and have worked through any issues that broke you up before.
In the case of a person marrying someone for a second time, I’d suggest some counseling, at the very least. Whether you’re religious and want to attend some kind of premarital counseling offered by your church or temple, or whether you want to go the route of meeting with a therapist in more traditional premarital or couple’s counseling, you’ll probably find it helpful to talk to someone who can help you establish some strategies for moving forward.
Whatever the issue was – adultery, substance abuse, lack of communication skills, growing distanced over time, or whatever – there are solutions that you can learn to help make sure that the same problems don’t separate you a second time. Why not take the time now to make sure that you’re set up for success better than you were the first time? After all, you’re older and wiser now. And choosing the same person for a second time suggests (to me, at least) that your connection is strong enough that it’s time to start coming up with solutions for these problems so that you can begin your happily ever after.
Consider a prenuptial agreement or a marital agreement
Were there issues in the divorce? Would a prenuptial agreement (or a marital agreement, if you’ve already tied the knot) help you move forward in your marriage? In a lot of cases, an agreement of this kind can include important non legal terms that help keep couples on the same page, plus include details that can help both parties rest easier at night. Are you worried about support, or retirement? Maybe address it now, rather than later, so that you can both go into the marriage knowing what to expect in the event that things don’t work out the second time.
As far as the non legal provisions go, it may be worth considering putting your couples counseling in there, or even set a certain number of date nights, or prohibit certain activity. Did someone, for example, keep a secret credit card? Maybe you want to provide that you’ll make certain disclosures to each other, that you’ll only have x number of credit cards open, that you’ll communicate about expenditures of over $X, or whatever – this is your document, and you should feel free to use it to craft provisions that make you feel comfortable moving forward and commingling your lives again.
Is it really stupid to marry my husband again? We already divorced once.
Honestly, I don’t prefer to think of any of the relationships I’ve seen as “stupid”. We all make different choices for different reasons based on a million different factors. While you may wind up feeling like you made a mistake, I think that, in general, the experience that you gain teaches you lessons that you needed to learn. We each have our own path, and you should feel no shame in taking your own, no matter where it leads you.
Sometimes, my clients and prospective clients tell me that they’re embarrassed to tell me what they’ve done, or they add the quick “don’t judge me!” disclaimer. But the truth is, I’m not here to judge anyone. I really don’t judge, and, anyway, judgment isn’t important. What is important, though, is finding out the answers to the question at hand, and then doing everything possible to ensure the result that you want.
Remarriages happen! All the time. The only mistake is making the same mistake twice – so, if you go into your marriage with a little more wisdom, a little more clarity, and a little more open mindedness, you may find that the end result is different than the one you reached before.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation to discuss your remarriage, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.