As a member of a remarried couple, you have hard-earned experience under your belt and a strong understanding of the power of relationships. Chances are good that you are more pragmatic about this relationship than you were about your previous relationship, and that your optimism and enthusiasm for your remarriage are tempered by a realistic view of what it means to make a relationship successful.
Being remarried brings with it significant benefits and opportunities. Unlike many people just starting off in a marriage, you have the luxury of knowing what you want and do not want in a partner and in a relationship. And unlike people your age who have been in a relationship for a long time, you can make a fresh start in a new relationship and put your prior experience to good use. At the same time, you and your new spouse might be merging families and working to establish new roles with one another and with any children you might be raising together now. You probably know the statistics about how difficult remarriages can be, and yet you also know that this need not be your outcome.
What’s Important To Keep In Mind
An important goal for remarried couples is to make full use of the lessons learned from the previous relationship, to build a strong foundation in the new marriage, and to work together to manage the new roles and challenges that they face. Remarried couples are able to enter their new relationship “with both eyes open,” and as a result they are often open to new ideas for making their relationship work. At the same time, it is not uncommon for people in remarriages to feel like they might be carrying some “baggage” from the prior relationship and to have some nagging doubts about how much this matters in their new marriage.
How We Can Help
Remarried couples increase their chances of thriving by working hard to keep the basics of their communication strong while fending off any stresses and challenges that might come from raising a stepfamily or coordinating with prior spouses and partners – over and above the ordinary stresses that all couples face. Our seminars are designed to address these important goals, and draw heavily upon what we call the Relationship Triad. The Relationship Triad refers to three key factors that help to explain why relationships vary and change, and includes:
- Individual Differences: Who you and your partner are as unique individuals
- Communication: The ways you and your partner talk to one another and give meaning to your communication
- Stress: The challenges and stresses you and your partner encounter
As you know from your prior relationship, even great marriages can change – and in many instances the important changes happen before we realize it. You know that good relationships take some monitoring and some maintenance, and one of our major goals is to give you the most effective tools for accomplishing this.
Good communication is the centerpiece of great relationships and of our seminars, and we build our approach on established principles from the research literature on couples. Our seminars explain what good communication must accomplish, and they outline the most efficient ways partners can achieve this in their relationship.
Necessary for all relationships, good communication is pivotal for remarriages because (a) partners must be effective at understanding their partners goals for the new relationship – this is the “individual differences” part of the relationship triad – and because (b) good communication is crucial for anticipating stress and negotiating new challenges together. Partners in remarried relationships know that couples go through their ups and downs – but they also know that they have to take active steps to ensure that the low points are rare and managed well.
A key point that we want all couples to remember is that these three forces – who each partner is as a unique person with certain beliefs and prior experiences, how able partners are to express appreciation for one another while also resolve disagreements, and how partners can join forces to throw off stresses and strains – will combine to determine the fate of their relationship. With each passing year, it is important to understand how these forces are operating within and upon your relationship, so that you and your partner can invest wisely in your future together. Why not take advantage of the momentum and energy you have in your current relationship to ensure you sustain the positives and decrease the negatives?
Learn more about how to maximize the positives of your relationship and keep it thriving by attending our Foundations Seminar or Advanced Topics Seminars. If you prefer a more personalized experience, we recommend our new Premium Couples Workshop.