If you are considering remarrying, particularly when blending families, you should consider the many possible challenges you may face. There are additional stressors in these scenarios that can cause conflict between you and your new spouse. Here are some of the common concerns that newly married partners are likely to face and how to deal with them.
Emotional baggage from your previous marriage
Old relationship patterns and triggers can easily arise.
People often react to conflict in predictable ways. Are you avoidant of conflict? Dismissive? Do you quickly escalate? Were you always the one to bring up issues in your past relationship? You may have burned out from this and it contributed to the failure of your first marriage. It is critical to bring new ways of resolving conflict to your current marriage. This may require you to take a deep and meaningful look into your role in your prior marriage, and whether your behaviors contributed to it ending. If it still brings about intense, negative emotions, there is a good chance that you will be bringing this “baggage” into your new marriage as well, particularly when times get tough. Whatever you do, do not ignore your own red-flags and seek help early if the ghosts of the past keep reappearing.
Finances can cause a lot of problems when combining families and households. A solid financial plan, discussed prior to making a commitment, is advised.
Discuss your budget, particularly in regards to the needs of the children. If your new spouse is not getting child support or the support is inadequate, you must be willing to take on some of the financial responsibilities of children who are not yours. If you are not okay with this, then this could cause conflict between you and your new spouse.
Remember, the children are casualties of the divorce and should not be put in the middle of adult financial disagreements. A financial advisor or counselor can guide you both if you find you still can’t compromise on this issue.
Extended family and in-laws
Remarriage can create a more complicated situation with in-laws or extended family. These extended family members may be experiencing sadness over the divorce, and happiness for the new marriage as well. Loyalty concerns may arise when there is an ongoing relationship with the ex-spouse due to shared custody of children. Be mindful that others in the family may be adjusting to the divorce at a different pace than you, particularly if you remarried quickly. It is very difficult to change what others think or feel about the situation, but you can strengthen your relationship with them over time. You can also discuss any concerns directly with in-laws and other family members. If these people are causing conflict in your marriage, you must establish healthy and firm boundaries early on so that they understand they must resolve their conflicting feelings without interfering in your new marriage.
If you are blending your families upon re-marriage, there are now children from a previous relationship(s), joint children, or a mix of both.
A lot of second (and third) marriages fail due to stress concerning children. Children all have different physical and emotional needs. You both may have varying parental philosophies. Your marriage is the core relationship in the blended family and it is the foundation for the family. Define standard household rules, expectations and consequences that are universal, fair and consistent for all of the children. A united front is still critical. Not all of the kids will be equally as close to you and you may get along better with your own children than your new stepchildren. Know that this can also happen in traditional nuclear families as well.
You and your spouse are a team and need to approach interactions with your children and extended family this way. Maintain open communication without letting things build up.
Consider couples’ therapy if you can’t seem to minimize conflict on your own. You may even consider counseling prior to committing to marriage, even if things appear to be going fine, to make sure you have a solid plan for facing any challenges that come your way.
Recommended reading available for purchase on Amazon: Wisdom on Step-Parenting: How to Succeed Where Others Fail, The Smart Step-Family, The Remarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love and Happiness, The Remarriage Blueprint
KEEP YOUR NEW MARRIAGE STRONG...SIGN UP FOR THE WEEKLY MARRIAGE EMAIL NEWSLETTER TODAY!