Has the fire in your (re)marriage burnt out or headed in that direction? Let’s face it, the statistics are staggering. According the to latest survey taken by the U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rates in the United States for first marriages is currently between 40-50% with the median length of marriage being 11 years. For remarriages, that number increases dramatically to between 67-75%. What’s even more stunning is one-half of all remarriages end in divorce after just three years. Whew…now as disconcerting as those figures are, this is why we here at Today’s Modern Family do what we do. We are dedicated to helping remarried couples avoid some of the pitfalls that unfortunately naturally accompany remarriage.
In preparing for this post, I took a small poll from several people that I know that live in blended families and I asked them what each of them thought was the top issue that causes problems within the remarriage. Drum roll please…..expectations and integrating parenting styles was the number one issue. The second most popular issue was the problem with putting the remarriage first before the children. With that being said, I would say, in my professional opinion, the latter is the most important issue that has to be resolved in order to have a successful remarriage. When the remarriage is put first in the lives of the life partners, it’s much easier to incorporate things like parenting styles, expectations and discipline. It is widely known that if you allow your remarriage to become a prisoner to negative influences, it will tear your marriage apart. Unfortunately, at times, those negative influences can be our children. Now, I understand that some of those reading this post will be sent off the roof with that statement and say to yourselves…”what in the hell is this lady talking about?” But, what you have to remember is that marriage is the foundation of family, not your children. If the foundation of your marriage cracks, everything else cracks with it. Of course, I have to put the caveat in here that I am not speaking about any situation that involves abuse in any manner, I am generally speaking about what would otherwise be normal circumstances involving the stepfamily environment and you or your spouse’s children driving a constant wedge between you (other stressors can take many forms). When this happens, it causes one or the other partner in the marriage to feel controlled, restricted, belittled, disrespected and deprived, with deprived being the most important word. In every successful remarriage that I have dealt with, when the feelings, opinions and heart of each spouse is put on the top of their partners priority list, the marriage exudes confidence, love, respect and trust. When remarriage lacks priority, it is essentially deprived. When the remarriage is deprived, the trickle-down effect begins and the whole blended family heads on a path of disaster.
If you are wondering about the title of this post “Fireproof Your (Re)Marriage,” yes, you are correct. I obtained the idea for this post from the movie Fireproof Your Marriage starring Kirk Cameron. I was so incredibly moved by the movie that I began to ask myself the question, how can I apply this to remarriage. Well, the answers to that was the same premise that Kela and I have been teaching our clients for years. You have to treat your remarriage as if it is a first marriage. In a first marriage, 9 times out of 10, parents stand united with one another by nature. This does not occur naturally in stepfamilies.
One of my favorite sayings is that a garden that is not watered produces no harvest. A flower that is not watered withers and dies. A remarriage that is not put first on the priority list ends up deprived and suffocated. Debunk the myth that focusing on your marriage means you are neglecting your children. Your children will not just be more well-rounded if you make your remarriage a priority, they will benefit greatly from it. They learn what it means to be committed, to have trust and respect in a relationship and they actually see what love really looks like.
Fireproofing your remarriage begins with priority! Make your remarriage your first priority and I promise you all else will fall in it’s proper place.
Peace & Blessings,