The biggest piece of all, having MonkeyMan standing at the other end of that altar, waiting for me.
This was the second time for both of us.
Here's the statistic:
The Marriage Foundation says that 45% of first time marriages will divorce, while only 31% of 2nd timers will end up in the same boat.
That's the only doom and gloom I will speak of in this post.
"Not like the first time, not like the first time, not like the first time, talking 'bout the second time".
There are a gazillion articles on marriage, first time, second time, probably even third time. And they all offer tips on how to make the marriage stronger, which I agree with a lot of what the articles say. For me though, there were only three things. Yes, three. I focused on three because, I believe, everything else springs forth from those three things.
Here are my three characteristics of someone in a 2nd marriage (we need a new name for 2nd marriage, it almost implies that there will be a 3rd, 4th, 5th, or we could pull an Elizabeth Taylor!)
You're willing to grow
You have grieved the divorce, purposely going through each stage, facing it head on. You needed to because divorce feels like a piece of you, your flesh is being cut off. Yes, in a sense, it is like death. But you held on, because you grieved it, new life was able to spring forth! Weeping for your loss endured for the night but joy came in the morning.
You took the time to understand what went wrong and the part you played, you took responsibility for your part in the breakdown of that first marriage. You've learned from your mistakes, this breeds honesty, not only with yourself but with all of your close relationships.
You don't want to be another statistic, so you want to get it right. None of us fully ever get it right, but we keep trying. That's the key: KEEP TRYING. Even with that, you know that it won't work unless both of you are trying. But, what other people do is none of your business. YOU keep trying. And in that trying, you may see that some things should be cut loose.
You respect marriage more now based on what has happened to you. You realize the importance of saying thank you, please, giving compliments, doing nice things. It has meaning for you now, you've seen the result of not doing these things.
From these three things, all sorts of things can come forth:
- ability to share your dreams and goals, without feeling insecure
- better self esteem
- respect for one another
- enjoying each other's similarities but secure in each other's differences
There are a ton of other things, but you get my point.
Marriage, regardless of it being the first, second or third time, can be sweet. Regardless of the number of times being married, the word WORK is the common denominator. I'm sure even Liz Taylor had to put some amount of work into the 8 unions she entered!
Any other 2nd timers out there? What would you add to my list of positive characteristics of second marriages?