When you get married for the first time you assume that your marriage is going to last until the day you die. No one goes to the altar with the mentality of “This is just training for my second marriage”. How crazy would that be?! But life happens and divorce happens, it’s sad but we all know it’s true. When you’re getting married for the first time people love to give their words of wisdom “don’t go to bed angry”, “happy wife, happy life”, “always laugh”, you get the drift. But when you are getting married for a second time people tend to be a lot less vocal with their wisdom. It’s usually “congratulations, please let me know if I can do anything for you”. That doesn’t mean your friends care any less about your marriage but more than likely they are still on their first marriage and don’t have an idea of what to say.
But maybe you have a friend who has had more than one marriage. And maybe that person loves you enough to give you some advice on the adventure you are about to embark on. If you do, please listen closely to them. If you don’t, hopefully I can be a helping hand. Here are three helpful things I have learned with my second marriage:
1. You are not each other’s ex’s:
When Jason and I first got married, whenever we would fight I would do to him what I did to my first husband – clam up. I can ignore someone for a LONG time. My ex-husband would ignore me right back and we could go a long time without speaking to each other. But Jason wouldn’t have me ignore him. He would vocalize how much it bothered him and eventually I would have to speak my mind. Which usually got him more upset at me, lol, but it got the conversation flowing. I still clam up (it’s a work in progress, people) but not NEARLY as long as I used to.
Jason’s love language is different from my ex’s too. So what would make my ex happy doesn’t necessarily do the same for Jason. It took me some time to relearn how to treat the person I was married to. To break the bad habits that I had been doing for the 10 previous years.
We need to take the time to learn what makes our husbands happy and what means the most to them when it comes to showing them love.
2. Your spouse isn’t always right:
In any marriage you feel this desire to defend your spouse to the end, support him in any way that you can. For the most part that’s how it should be – but it isn’t always the right thing to do. Two specific examples jump to my mind: When Jason and I were first married he worked at our church. It was Sunday and for the most part the church was empty but as I was waiting for him in the front office I heard familiar voices arguing in the hallway. I went to check it out and there were Michelle and Jason. Michelle was trying to tell Jason that their youngest boy’s eye looked infected. Without even looking Jason was denying anything was wrong. Casually I looked down at little Logan and I could clearly see his little eye was turning pink and goopy. I found myself in unfamiliar territory. To contradict my husband, in front of his ex-wife, would be marriage suicide. So I calmly waited for them to part ways and as I took the boys home I had already decided that I would be taking Logan to Urgent Care. While on the way home Michelle called my cell phone (this was before her and I were so close) and I told her I saw that his eye looked infected and I was taking him to Urgent Care. To no surprise Logan was diagnosed with pink eye. Later on that night I had to sit with my husband and lovingly have a talk with him about the way things were handled at the church. His actions we unacceptable and he had to realize that everything can’t be a fight. To my surprise he agreed.
The second instance was shortly after our marriage as well. Jason would pick up the boys in the morning and take them to school, even on Michelle’s day. Anytime that Jason and Michelle would get in an argument, which at that time was a lot, Jason would tell her that he wouldn’t take the boys to school anymore and that she was responsible. This went on and on until one day I had had enough. I sat my husband down and told him that he needed to make a decision and stick with it. It wasn’t okay to continuously use the ride to school as a punishment. I told him from that day forward he had to pick a decision and stick with it. Either he was gonna take them or he wasn’t. I would support him either way but he had to pick one and I would hold him accountable for his decision. Again, to my husbands credit he received everything I had to say about the situation and agreed. And to my happiness he loves to use that example as something that I have helped him with in regards to mending the relationship with his ex.
When we realize our spouses are in the wrong we need to make sure that we approach them in a calm manner and to let them know that our words come from a loving place. We want them to receive what we have to say and actually digest it, not just immediately put up a wall and tune us out.
3. Learn from past mistakes:
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? If we learned from past mistakes would our first marriage ever have ended? But the problem is we don’t learn from past mistakes and that is why so many couples get divorced the second time around. I was totally guilty of this in the beginning. Just like with my ex, I would love to throw out terms like “you never do this…”, “you always do this…”. Even today I will still throw those words around and my husband has to remind me that I can’t say those things. Every time I get mad at my current husband I have to fight every urge I have to clam up. I have to fight every urge to not let my razor-sharp tongue say words that I can’t take back. I have to fight every urge to fight fire with fire. I have to fight every urge that helped destroy my first marriage. I will admit that fighting the urges are easier, not always because my man can fire me up, but I know that they will continue to get easier as time goes by.
When you notice that the same things that made your ex mad are making your current husband mad it’s time to do a “habit inventory”. Are the habits that you have carried over from your first marriage healthy ones? Are your words loving, careful and meaningful?
Our husbands, yes, even our second ones, are gifts from God. Even when my husband has me so mad I could spit fire I still have to remember that he is a gift and I have to treat him as such. God calls us to love and support our husbands through good times and bad. Not always an easy task… But I promise that once you start to show him that you are trying he will follow suit. I recently told a friend that I am trying to make my husbands needs come before my wants. In the past two weeks I have handled a couple of situations completely different than I normally would. I think it surprised my husband because there was no arguing involved with the situations. There were talking and tears, but no anger and fighting. These situations ended up bringing us closer and happier.
Wishing you love and happiness on your marriage!!