Making a second marriage succeed is a matter of beating the odds. About half of all first marriages end in divorce, but the divorce rate rises to between 60 and 67 percent for second marriages, according to the Huffington Post. To keep your second marriage from falling into this pattern, ask your future spouse some important questions and think carefully about the answers.
Love or Fear
The first question you should ask your future spouse before getting married for the second time is "why do you want to be married?". Everybody who gets married has more than one reason, but the answer to the question will still tell you a lot about your potential partner. There is no one right or wrong answer to a question like this, but there are some things to look out for. If the answer reveals a fear of being alone, especially if your partner has also been married before, then the relationship may be based more on the desire to have someone than to be with you specifically. Of course, it's equally important for you to ask yourself the same question.
How you fight with your partner is one of the most accurate predictors of the future success of the relationship, according to "Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts" by Les and Leslie Parrott. If you don't know how your potential partner approaches conflict, ask before you commit. The four danger signs to watch out for are personal criticism, contemptuous behavior, defensive behavior and stonewalling or the silent treatment. If you've had one or more arguments with your partner, you already know whether either of you display any of these four behaviors. If the answer is yes, ask your partner to go into couples counseling with you to learn how to handle conflict more effectively before you get married. If you know you argued this way in your first marriage, learning how to handle conflict better is even more important.
Goals and Values
"Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?" is one of the most important questions to ask any potential partner. The compatibility of goals is essential for a successful marriage, according to marriage counselor Donald A. Cadogan of Oak Tree Counseling. It may even be more crucial for second marriages, because both partners are likely to be further along in their individual life trajectories. One or both partners may have children or an established career, or they may be in the process of earning a second degree. If your goal is to buy your dream house and start your own business while your partner's goal is to see the world, it may be difficult to reconcile your dreams with those of your partner.
What About the Ex
"Why did your last relationship end?" is an important question to ask both your future spouse and yourself. If you can't see any cause for the end of your first marriage other than the terrible things your ex did, you may be too hurt by what happened to see your own part in what went wrong. The same applies to your potential partner's past relationships, whether they were marriages or not. For a second marriage to succeed, it's vital to avoid getting caught up in the same patterns that destroyed the first one. Both you and your future spouse must understand what went wrong for you before and what you can do to avoid those patterns.
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Scott Thompson has been writing professionally since 1990, beginning with the "Pequawket Valley News." He is the author of nine published books on topics such as history, martial arts, poetry and fantasy fiction. His work has also appeared in "Talebones" magazine and the "Strange Pleasures" anthology.
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