Remarriage after Divorce

There is a very good chance that you will remarry after your divorce. It might take awhile, but the statistics show that 80% of divorcees marry again. (Bramlett, 2002) Unfortunately, the statistics for divorces from the second and, even third, marriage get higher and higher. Why? “Because, they do not see themselves as responsible for the previous marriage ending. Generally, they are more likely to believe their partner’s behaviors caused the divorce, and minimize the influence of their own actions.” (Amato, 2003)

It’s time to get realistic about what caused your last divorce before you find yourself looking at your next one. If you do this, you can be a part of the larger percentage whose remarriage is successful.

There many theories behind repeated marriages and divorces in Western Culture. The first is that it is all too easy to say that “D” word when things get tough. Maybe this is a reflection on our disposable culture where everything from water bottles to cars gets thrown away. When something doesn’t work anymore, we get rid of it. It doesn’t help that companies who offer “divorce on demand” make it easier to run from problems than to deal with them.

Our culture of individualism may also have something to do with it. While this is credited to America, in particular, it is also becoming typical of Western Culture in general. According to the Free Dictionary, “Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one’s own interests, whether by society, family or any other group or institution.” Individualism says “It’s all about me.” A successful marriage says “It’s all about us.”

Before you jump into your next marriage, you should take a look at your behavior from the last one. It doesn’t matter what your former spouse did. No doubt they had their part. But, this is about looking at your faults. Some of them may have been a reaction to your spouse’s personality. Some of those faults are going to trash a relationship no matter what the other person’s personality might be.

How do you find out what your faults are? Start by looking at resentments you have (or have had) towards your ex. Anger is a reaction to fear; fear points to faults. Was there something you didn’t get that you wanted; did you lose things that you had; or, did something your spouse do trigger a forgotten pain? Were these the things that caused you to act the way you did? Were those behaviors the things that caused problems in your last marriage? Those are the things about yourself that you need to change.

Remarriage is not a fresh start on a blank page. We all bring baggage into a new relationship. You need to get rid of some of that excess baggage before you consider remarriage.

Amato, P. R., & Previti, D. (2003). People’s Reasons for Divorcing. Journal of Family Issues, 24(5), 602 -626. doi:10.1177/0192513X03254507

Bramlett, M. D., & Mosher, W. D. (2002). Cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the United States. Vital and Health Statistics. Series 23, Data from the National Survey of Family Growth, (22), 1-93. PMID 12183886

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