There is an ever increasing focus on the divorce rates experienced throughout the US in contemporary society. Though the rates for divorce amongst first time marriages have steadied over the last year to just beneath the 50 percent figure, the rates of divorce experienced amongst people who are marrying for the second or third time is recorded as substantially higher.
The figures are startling. From 50 percent, the rate of divorce leaps to 67 percent in the case of second marriages, and an incredible 74 percent where one or both of the partners are marrying for the third time. These statistics suggest that there are many potential issues that face couples which include a partner who has already been through the processes of divorce.
Conditioned Behaviour and Expectations
One of the main reasons that secondary marriages fail is that individuals bring their own conditioned behavioural trends and expectations to new relationships. This is especially true of people who have emerged from bad marriages or complex and difficult divorce petitions. Typically, behaviour and perception is modified through time and experience, and acts or consequences of individual marriages can leave a bitter and tainted view of modern union.
An example of this is the routines and regimes of particular marriages. A divorced man or women may have been allowed to behave in a certain way throughout their previous relationship. This could mean that they enjoyed a particular level of personal freedom or liberty, and this feeling and its subsequent actions then become conditioned and standardized. Once a new relationship has commenced however, this behavioural pattern may not be deemed as acceptable or suitable to their new partner, leading to tension and conflict that may not be resolved.
As well as behaviour, expectations are also conditioned and developed through experience. Couples who are marrying for the first time are known to have higher expectations and aspirations of marital life than those who have experienced divorce. Coupled with the fact that they are often marrying an individual who they consider to be their life partner, this creates a wide eyed anticipation of what is ahead. Those who have traversed the rocky and uneven paths of divorce however are more familiar with the pit falls and dangers involved in marriage. This knowledge does not necessarily give an individual the tools to craft a happy union, as it creates low expectations of marriage and life and can lead to resentment and dissatisfaction within a relationship.
The Influence of Family in a Marriage
Another factor in couples who remarry is the influence of family members. Children who have watched their parents endure divorce develop their own scepticism concerning marriage and union, and this perception is intensified when their live in guardian decides to remarry. Faced with the potential long term prospect of experiencing the divorce process once more, and also accepting a new and different parental figure into their lives, children can often harbour a resentment that broods into outward acts of malice and violence.
It is never easy for either parents or children in this instance. A mother or father must face the task of gradually integrating a new partner into their children’s lives, whereas the child themselves must resolve to accept a new authoritative figure in their family unit. The majority of this burden to resolve any conflict must sit with the more emotionally developed and rounded adults, in order to best protect the children from distress. Obviously, in the instances where more mature children are involved they can take an element of responsibility to mediate between parents and younger siblings.
Resentful family can be one of the more destructive elements in modern marriages. This is further amplified in situations where couples remarry and established family units are merged into one. Parents have a duty to show empathy and understanding to the effects that a secondary marriage can have on vulnerable children, and are required to show patience while any tension is resolved. Listening to a child and allowing them the freedom of expression is crucial in them developing and learning to accept significant change as an inevitable fact of adulthood. Failure to resolve these issues could lead to years of disruption and ultimately separation and divorce.
Is Divorce an Inevitable Fact of Secondary Marriages?
Given the complex and often acrimonious circumstances that surround divorce, it is inevitable that secondary marriages encounter more problems that resolutions. It would be reasonable to expect that those who have suffered failed marriages would possess more knowledge and understanding as to how best to approach nuptial life, but in many cases the opposite is true. This is because of the behaviour and conduct that has been conditioned in previous relationships, and also the fact that each individual marriage is independent and has many different requirements. When resentful parties within combined families also reveal their discontent (whether verbally or through acts of malice) an already difficult situation can traverse the path to become untenable.