Navigating the Challenges of Remarriage
Therapist, Terry Gaspard, speaks about navigating the many challenges of remarriage. If you’re thinking about marrying again, listen to this episode!
Terry Gaspard, LICSW, licensed therapist and author, joined me on Last First Date Radio to speak about the challenges of remarriage. She’s a contributor to The Good Men Project, The Gottman Institute Blog, DivorcedMoms.com, Huffington Post, Patheos.com, and marriage.com. Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and her website movingpastdivorce.com. Her forthcoming book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True in February 2020.
Check out the show notes below for EP 390: Successful Remarriage Tips with Therapist and Author, Terry Gaspard.
Challenges of Remarriage
Why did you decide to write the Remarriage Manual?
I was raised in a divorced family, and I saw both of my parents remarry. My dad had a successful marriage, and my mother had a short remarriage and she remained happily single the rest of her life.
I got divorced and met my husband a few years later. He swept me off my feet! There were a lot of struggles early on. I thought I knew a lot about remarriage, but I was blindsided by all the challenges. The books out there were either highly religious or super focused on the kids and coping with blended families. I couldn’t find any about couples to bond, and my agent told me to write the book.
What are some struggles that remarried couples face?
Some couples are focused so much on the kids and don’t prioritize their relationship. You have to communicate with your family and your partner about the values that are important to you. Have family meetings every week.
Some things you’ll do together without the kids, and other activities you’ll want to do with the kids. Be honest and open with everyone. Don’t operate with guilt. Make sure you have couples time and get away a few times a year. Don’t expect that there will be instant love. It takes time. Be patient. Don’t issue ultimatums.
My husband felt like an outsider at first, because I had two kids. So, we started doing things we all loved together. We would go to Maine with my husband in the summers, even though it wasn’t always our priority.
Five years ago, my son started contacting my husband on his own. My husband said, “I think I’ve arrived!” It took many years.
Try to put yourself in the mind of your step-child. I talk a lot about that in chapter 9. It’s easy to think about it from your own perspective, but thinking about it from your child’s perspective will help.
I’ve heard you say that second marriages often pose challenges more difficult than first marriages. Why is that the case according to your research and personal experience?
Many of us don’t have realistic expectations. The blending of two distinct worlds is far more complex and difficult than many imagine. If you love this person and have shared meaning and values and some chemistry, be willing to communicate, not focus on the small stuff, and assume the best of your partner.
We need to ditch the baggage from our former marriage. I still had trust issues, and being willing to admit to your partner it’s hard for you when he or she does something.
Finances can be an issue. We need to talk about what works for both of us. We need to be transparent and not hide things. 41% of the couples I interviewed had some form of financial infidelity. Hiding debt, secrets from the past, etc.
What are the 10 keys to success for a remarried couple?
- Build a culture of appreciation, respect, and tolerance
- Make your remarriage a top priority
- Ditch the baggage from your first marriage
- Don’t keep secrets about money
- Don’t let mistrust stop you from being vulnerable and intimate
- Get sexy and fall in love all over again
- Don’t make a big deal about nothing…but do deal with important issues
- Manage the flames of conflict
- Embrace your role as a stepparent and create positive stepfamily memories
- Say you’re sorry and mean it
What is your final advice for successfully navigating the challenges of remarriage?
Love may be sweeter the second or third time around, but when the bliss wears off, look inside yourself. For love to be wonderful, you have to love and know yourself. Know your issues, then pick a partner who’s willing to go the distance.
Connect with Terry at movingpastdivorce.com Click on the cover of the book to learn more about the book and get a chapter excerpt. You can also purchase the book there or on Amazon.
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