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How to Plan a Second Marriage

by Christina Hamlett

According to a U.S. Census Bureau study, half of the people who remarry following divorce from a first marriage form new households in which minor children are part of the equation. When you add other considerations such as education and income disparities, age and maturity, lifestyle habits and emotional baggage, there are likely to be challenges in planning a second marriage that neither partner experienced in the prior relationship. Communication and compromise are essential to their successful resolution.

Expectations

The duration of your first marriage, the reason it ended and the amount of time you spent prior to considering a second visit to the altar collectively factor into expectations of what your new life will be. Every relationship is unique, and you can neither expect your spouse to be a carbon copy of his "perfect" predecessor nor can you demand that he remedy all the frustrations that made you unhappy. Discussion of your respective needs, wants, fears and dreams will affirm or refute whether you're realistically on the same page.

Finances

In addition to any existing assets and liabilities that you're both bringing to a second marriage, you're bringing spending habits that are likely to be deeply ingrained and possibly incompatible. This will impact such decisions as whether to keep separate bank accounts or pool your resources. Consider whether a prenuptial contract is appropriate to protect personal holdings. You will also need to discuss insurance policies, investments, retirement accounts, long-term savings goals and, if applicable, alimony and child support.

Lifestyle

If you currently live at separate addresses, you'll need to decide whether you'll sell both of them to purchase a different residence or if one of you will move into the other's home. Either scenario can potentially create friction related to whose decorating style should prevail and how the household chores should be handled. Other lifestyle questions include how you want to spend vacations and holidays, whether you'll do entertaining and where you'd ultimately like to retire.

Parenting

Blended families are becoming increasingly common and not only include the offspring of one or both partners but also new additions that their marriage may produce. If there are adult offspring, you may even have to deal with them occasionally returning to the nest, sometimes with their own families. Whether these relationships are harmonious or stressful is influenced as much by their parents' attitudes toward each other as it is by the rules, boundaries and expectations of respect that you and your new spouse are committed to uphold.

References

  • Happily Remarried: Making Decisions Together, Blending Families Successfully, Building a Love That Will Last; David Frisbie and Lisa Frisbie
  • Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts; Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
  • Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family; Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Remarriage in the U.S.
  • Money Advice for Your Successful Remarriage: Handling Delicate Financial Issues Intelligently and Lovingly; Patricia Estess

About the Author

Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since 1970. Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. Publishers include HarperCollins, Michael Wiese Productions, "PLAYS," "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer." She holds a B.A. in communications (emphasis on audience analysis and message design) from California State University, Sacramento. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.

Photo Credits

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