(1) The Challenges and Opportunities of Re-Marriage
A new pattern is emerging in Australian marriages. One-third of marriages
involve at least one person who has been married before. These second marriages
often involve children from a previous relationship and will therefore form a
Contrary to their 'bad image', step-families can provide a rich and rewarding
environment for the adults and children involved.
In second marriages, couples are often more aware of the difficulties in
establishing a successful relationship and are more committed to making the
This page provides information about relationship issues, to help couples
think about their relationship, to share their thoughts and to explore together
ways of making their relationship happier and more fulfilling.
It does not attempt to give answers, because what works well for one couple
may not work well for another. Instead, issues which trouble most couples at
some stage in their relationship are described, as well as possible ways of
tackling these issues are suggested.
Both second marriages and step-families have to overcome some difficult
hurdles. These hurdles can present significant challenges to the couple in their
relationship as partners and as parents.
Unfortunately, many second marriages and step-families, despite their
commitment to making things work, fail to get over these hurdles.
This page outlines some of the challenges and complications of re-marriage
(2) The Decision to Re-Marry
The decision to re-marry should consider 3 questions:
Listen to any doubts. If necessary, wait a little longer. Perhaps talk over
any doubts with a counsellor.
The simple answer is when you have come to terms with the end of your first
marriage. This is particularly important if you did not want the first marriage
to end, and had to deal with the pain of leaving or being left by your previous
partner. It takes longer than many people expect to get over the end of a
marriage, even if you might have been unhappy and felt that the end was
Some studies suggest many people take at least two years to adjust to the end
of a marriage. There are many exceptions to this. Some people take longer,
others adjust more rapidly. Ask yourself:
- do I find myself thinking about my ex-partner and do these thoughts still
arouse strong feelings, including feelings of anger and resentment?
- have I adjusted to living alone again?
- have I regained a sense of self-confidence?
- can I look back on the first marriage and recognise some of the things
that contributed to it's breakdown?
In other words, am I emotionally free to re-marry? Can I put all my emotional
energy into this new relationship without allowing my feelings about my first
marriage to get in the way?
Just as you cannot re-marry until you are legally free to do so, being
emotionally free to re-marry is also important.
Unfortunately this question is often overlooked. Are you thinking of
re-marrying because you want to be with a new partner whom you love or do you
want to re-marry for the sake of being married, or to provide a two-parent home
for your children? Being alone is not easy after being married, especially if
you have children living with you. However, moving too rapidly into a new
marriage is no solution in the long-run, particularly if it doesn't work out.
Past experiences influence our choice of partners. This is especially true of
a second marriage. Be realistic about what worked and what didn't work in your
first marriage when making a decision about a new partner. Learn from that
experience to clarify what sort of partner you want.
Being in love is not enough to make a relationship work especially once the
initial excitement has worn off. Many couples thinking of getting married try
living together first. This may help, but remember that living together is not
the same as being married. If you have children, they may find such an
arrangement confusing and need reassurance.
This information is provided by Relationships Australia who are
Australia's leading provider of professional services to support relationships.
It is a not-for profit community based organisation. Our Mission: Relationships
Australia is committed to enhancing the lives of communities, families and
individuals by being the leading professional provider of quality relationship
support services. Our Goals: To work in partnership with others to ensure a
society which supports positive and respectful relationships; To serve a more
diverse range of clients; To provide relevant services that meet the needs of
clients; To adopt business practices that enable the delivery of efficient and
effective services; To ensure a positive work environment that delivers outcomes
for clients; and To be financially robust to achieve our goals.
You can contact the national office of Relationships Australia on 1300 364
277 to find your closest state branch.