There tends to be a stigma towards those who are in or entering a second marriage. It’s true when people get married the first time they usually go into it thinking it’ll only happen once. However that is not always the case, whether they were too young, had to escape abuse, or had an unfaithful spouse. While divorce is not God’s best plan for anyone’s life, it, unfortunately, does happen. Aren’t you grateful that God is a God of second chances? Society may not give you a stamp of “approval” but rather one that says “do-over” or “fingers-crossed”; therefore navigating through judgment may be a bit painful. However, no matter what the world says, our God has already stamped upon your grace, mercy, and redeeming love. Aren’t you so glad that despite our flaws, what marriage you might be on, and any baggage you may be carrying, the Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)? This is the truth you can firmly place your life upon, although that doesn’t mean the journey will be easy.
Statistics show that second marriages that end in divorce are upwards of 60 percent. Yikes! This astronomical percentage shows that it will take work, and God’s help, to have a successful second marriage. Thankfully God not only designed marriage but is for it. He wants to see your marriage flourish and prosper. Here are some ways how:
Learn From The Past
It is inevitable that you will bring remnants of your past into your second marriage no matter how hard you try to let go of the baggage you may have carried. It is easy to bring in unhealthy patterns, mistrusts, and triggers that can impact the marriage. Therefore learning from the past, and addressing it, by recognizing any negative contributions you had the first time around, understanding the root of what triggers you, and knowing your weaknesses, can help you from repeating mistakes. Your past may have helped shape the person you are today but it doesn’t have to be your future. It is one thing to learn from the past and another to really let go, especially when it was so much of who you are. However when we have Jesus this is the truth we must stand on, “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old is gone, a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17). When you hand over the past to God and give Him control over the future you will begin to see all your past experiences from a fresh perspective. It is then that you can forgive. Forgive yourself, Forgive your ex-spouse. Just forgive. Don’t allow the lack of forgiveness and bitterness to poison your future.
Take Every Comparison Thought Captive
A second marriage may offer redemption and an opportunity to have a second chance but with it comes some weight. Being a second spouse means someone went before you, which can give the enemy a stronghold that leads down a path of comparison. Regardless of whether or not the first spouse was great, there is always someone to be compared to, whether it’s better or worse than that person. Therefore, if you are arguing or your spouse does something you don’t like you must avoid comparing at all costs. Comparison is the thief of joy and a blinder to the truth. That is why scripture instructs us to take our thoughts captive and to fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. We must think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). Rather than following the enemy down a destructive path, choose to point your thoughts towards gratitude and thankfulness for your spouse. The person you married the second time is NOT your first spouse, so there is no reason to compare!
Be Realistic With Expectations
When you are smitten in love and everything seems perfect, you may begin to believe you are living a real-life fairy tale. However, whether you want to believe it or not the honeymoon phase is only temporary. In order for a marriage to thrive, it will take work. It is important to have a realistic expectation of having to deal with problem-solving. You don’t have to fear conflict, simply be ready to choose how you will react and respond. Also, make sure the source of your joy and happiness comes from the Lord, because as wonderful as your second spouse may be, he/she is still only human and will disappoint you at some point. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself or your spouse instead give grace!
Be Open And Vulnerable
To make this marriage the last time you hear wedding bells, you must be willing to completely offer your heart by being transparent and vulnerable. As you begin opening up and sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings, and wishes, the trust and intimacy you already have will strengthen and deepen. Trust must be the primary ingredient you place your marriage on. You may have fear of opening up, especially if you’ve been hurt but really, being willing to take the risk of vulnerability is a sweet gift you can offer your spouse. It takes courage to completely trust and your life and marriage will be better because of it.
Keep God First, Spouse Second
Marriage is a beautiful gift from God and if you truly want it to succeed you will recognize you can’t do it alone. You need God to be that third strand to guarantee a bond that is unbreakable. Commit your whole heart to God first, giving Him full reign to lead, guide, and transform you. It is then that you will be able to better love your spouse. Then put your spouse second, under God, but above anyone else, including children. You do this by making time for him/her, communicating well, and not allowing anyone to show disrespect towards them. Keeping your priorities in check will ultimately bring honor into your marriage.
Remember God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, here’s a blessing to cover your second marriage: “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you peace” (Num. 6:24-26).