Some of the greatest love stories are second acts. Actors Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith married in 2001, many years after each took their first trip down the aisle. Actress Ellen DeGeneres’ marriage to Portia de Rossi also took place long after each was previously married—but when you find a true partner for life, as both Brosnan and DeGeneres have found, it’s worth waiting for.
At the same time, more than 60% of all second marriages fail. So, if you’re currently in a committed relationship and you’ve both been previously married, you might worry that the odds are stacked against your future. But that’s not so! In fact, there may be plenty of reasons to believe that this is the love story that lasts forever—and we’re going to share a few tips to help yours not only last, but thrive.
Focus on Open and Honest Communication
In a second marriage, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of life and put your relationship second. After all, you’ve both built your own lives and have your own things to take care of. But it’s important to remember that your marriage is, first and foremost, a relationship between two people—and thus requires attention and care for it to thrive.
Make sure you’re spending time with each other, really listening and communicating openly about what works (and doesn’t work) in the relationship. If there are things you want from each other, don’t be afraid to ask! It’s important to get on board with each other’s needs as soon as possible so neither party feels neglected or misunderstood; if things bother either of you, address them immediately so they don’t snowball into bigger problems later on down the road.
Remember, Your Second Marriage is Not Your First
It’s easy to bring baggage from your first marriage into your second. But it’s important to remember that these two relationships are totally separate and the problems from the first are not the problems you’re facing with your new partner.
It’s important that you don’t drag along any of those old conversations with you into this new life. Your spouse shouldn’t have to hear about what happened with your ex-husband or wife, or anything else negative related to them (including their parents, friends, or even pets). You might also need to let go of old friendships from your first marriage. Keep in touch with those people, but don’t expect them to become a major part of your new family life—and vice versa!
Don’t Rush Into Big Decisions
Don’t feel pressured to rush into any situation surrounding your new relationship—including the marriage itself. All too often, couples rush into their new relationship simply because they’re afraid of being alone again. Take your time getting to know each other and creating your life together.
The same goes for having children—don’t rush the decision. If you and your new spouse do decide to have kids together, don’t let any dynamics from your last relationship dissuade you from doing so now. Each relationship has its own dynamic and each child is an individual person with their own set of needs and personality traits.
Don’t feel pressured to buy a house right away either. In some cases, both partners may be ready to start fresh with a new home and new surroundings. But buying a home is a huge decision that you both need to think through. Weigh all of your options before you decide to make a major purchase.
Respect Each Other’s Needs and Limitations
You’re not a superhero and neither is your partner! You’re both going to need help at some point. So, don’t be afraid it will make you seem needy or weak if you need assistance with household tasks, being alone with the kids, a medical issue, or anything else. It’s part of being human and living in this world as an adult!
At the end of the day, we’re just people doing the best we can with what we have. If your partner is willing to step up and help out when needed, thank them profusely—and then let them know specifically how they can do so in a way that feels good for both of you (i.e., “I’d love it if every Friday night after dinner you could take over the dishes while I relax on the couch”).
Create a Financial Plan Together
Communication around finances can make or break a new relationship, take it from experienced New York Family Law attorney Lisa Ziederman, Esq. : “Second or third marriage? If you have been married once already, you know that marriage is a financial partnership that comes with legal implications. Some statistics show up to 25 percent of marriages end because of financial issues. Having a prenup for a second marriage is critical, as you each likely have more assets, you might have children and those related expenses, and, as you get closer to retirement, it will be important for you to agree on how to spend or save your resources – together.”
When you and your spouse sit down to make a financial plan, it’s important to start from the same page. You both need to understand your values and priorities, as well as each other’s feelings about money. For example, if one of you has always dreamed of going on a luxury cruise while the other would rather stay home in front of Netflix all day long, then these may be savings and spending issues that need to be addressed.
It’s also crucial for both partners to have clear goals in mind—what are they working toward? What do they want out of life? What are their career aspirations? How much money do they want/need for retirement? Asking yourself questions like these will help guide you through the process of creating an effective financial plan with your spouse.
Additionally, think about how big risks might affect other areas of your marriage (for example: buying a new house). If there’s any doubt whatsoever about whether or not something is really worth it financially speaking, don’t rush into any decisions; take some time first so that both people feel comfortable with what could potentially be life-changing choices.
Don’t Forget the Prenup
As you and your partner prepare to combine your lives, it’s important to consider all of the separate assets you’ve both accumulated over the years. Since you’ve already been through a divorce, you know just how complicated it can be and a prenuptual agreement will help you protect your financial future.
Don’t forget to have fun with each other! The best part about being in love and getting married is enjoying your partner’s company, making memories, and sharing life. Date nights can be the most fun you’ve had in a while, and they’re an opportunity to learn more about each other.
Travel is another great way to keep things fresh in your relationship, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a year-long trip around the world. These are ways for you both to connect and grow closer as a couple. New experiences are a great way to get to know each other better and find amazing things that you can enjoy together!
No matter what the statistics suggest, second marriages are definitely not doomed from the start. As long as you’re both willing to work at it, your second marriage can lead to many happy years of sharing life together!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].