10 Rules for Successful Second Marriages

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Lori Pace

You are a single mother. There was time when you stopped believing in love, or marriage, or even other people. But now, you want to give yourself a chance, and your kid(s) the love from both mom and dad. You are in a second marriage. So, what pitfalls should these single moms avoid, and what they should know to have successful second marriages?

Why are second marriages more likely to fail?

One reason is the formation and maintenance of blended families. This can lead to loyalty problems with stepchildren, rivalries among co-parents, and other issues. However, there are many other stresses and difficulties that come with remarrying. To beat the odds, it is important to build trust and intimacy.

Everyone Has Baggage from Their Previous Marriages

Everyone has their pasts!

People who remarry often have unhealthy relationships and trust issues that could lead to a deterioration in their new marriage. This baggage can lead to couples jumping to tying the knot before they truly get to know one another. If you feel betrayed by your ex-spouse, you might be suspicious of your new partner and have low confidence in him.

Don’t Be Afraid to be Vulnerable

A fear of vulnerability in a second relationship can make it difficult. However, not being able to express our deepest feelings, thoughts and desires can put a relationship at greater risk. We lose the intimacy and trust that vulnerability provides.

Although it can be uncomfortable to share your vulnerability with your partner, it is essential for a trusting and intimate relationship. Trusting others is a key ingredient to life’s success.

Create Realistic Expectations in Second Marriages

Recognize that life after divorce will have its ups and downs. While it is wonderful to find new love, it does not make up for the pain caused by divorce. It also doesn’t automatically restore the family’s former status. Interpersonal communication is a key issue that remarried couples need to address. This is particularly true for finances, discipline of children and stepchildren, personalities, rivalries, and communication between family members.

Rules To Follow For Successful Second Marriages

Build a Culture of Appreciation, Respect, and Tolerance

it is important to express your love for your partner whenever you can. You can say thanks to your partner for doing something nice. “I noticed that you unloaded the dishwasher, and I really appreciate it.”

Practice being Vulnerable in Your Comfortable Pace

Be more open with your partner to build confidence. Before you tackle more difficult issues such as scheduling and meals, it is a good place to start.

Create Time and a Relaxed Atmosphere to Interact with Partner in Second Marriages

Second Marriages spend quality time
Spend quality time with each other!

Asking for what you want in an assertive, non-aggressive manner and being open to hearing the other side of the story are two important qualities. 

Discuss Expectations to Avoid Misunderstandings

Instead of avoiding hurt feelings and closing down, take a chance and be open to taking a risk. Harriet Lerner, in Marriage Rules, argues that good fighting can clear the air. She wrote that it was nice to know that we can overcome conflict and even learn from it.

Prepare for Conflict

Understanding that conflict does not necessarily mean the end to all marriages. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship and 69% of marriage problems go unresolved. However, it is possible to manage conflict effectively and this second marriages (or any can thrive. It’s suggested that we take a brief break if we feel overwhelmed. This will allow us to regain positive communication with our spouse.

Communicate Effectively

Take responsibility for what you did in a disagreement. Listen to your partner and seek clarification on any issues that are not clear. Avoid using “you” statements. This can come across as blaming, as it is more likely to be interpreted as “I” statements.

Embrace Your Role As A Stepparent in Second Marriages

Second Marriages as step parents

Stepparents are more like mentors, friends, and supporters than disciplinarians. Your partner can learn new strategies and you can share them with him. There is no such thing as instant affection. Stepparents who feel disrespected or unappreciated by their stepchildren will have trouble bonding with them, which can lead to stress for the whole stepfamily.

Attune to your Partner

Your willingness to listen and compromise is demonstrated by your body posture and eye contact. You can keep your connection strong by practicing emotional attunement while relaxing with your partner. This is a way to “turn toward” each other and show empathy, rather than “turning aside.” It also means that you need five positive interactions for every negative one.

Establish an Open-Ended Dialogue

Do not threaten or give ultimatums. Don’t say things that you regret later. Remarried couples often argue about money. Full disclosure of finances is crucial to the success of remarriage.

Practice Forgiveness in Second Marriages

Recognize that everyone has flaws. While it is not the same thing as condoning the hurt you have received, forgiveness will allow you to move on and remind you that you are all part of the same team.

To overcome the odds and make your second marriage successful, you must create a culture that values and respects your spouse. You must also be open to your partner’s vulnerability in order to build intimacy and trust. Your second marriage will last a lifetime if you have the right attitude, determination, acceptance, positive communication and a sense of humor.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!