Not As Easy As 'The Brady Bunch': Succeeding In A Second Marriage
Author Gives Advice On Avoiding Common Stumbling Blocks In Remarriage
By Rob Ferrett
About 40 percent of new marriages in the U.S. include at least one spouse who has been married before, and people in a second marriage face a higher marital failure rate than those in first marriages.
Marriage expert Maggie Scarf cites those statistics as a reason for people getting remarried to avoid common pitfalls and to plan carefully for common conflicts.
In her new book, "The Remarriage Blueprint," Scarf points out that remarried couples face a lot of challenges first-time couples don’t, including conflict with former spouses, difficulties between step-parents and step-children and different ideas of what a family culture should look like.
She said one thing remarrying couples should steer clear of is openly high expectations, especially where children's are involved. She said many couples go in with the attitude that children will love a step-parent right off the bat.
"'I love you, you love me, our children will love each other.' Well, we two may have fallen in love but our children didn't have any part of any choice. They came along for the ride and they may have really resentful feelings," she said.
She said the best starting point is to lower expectations and build personal relationships between step-parents and children -- and maintain existing relationships.
"Do not try to be together all the time. Don't try to be one big not so happy family. What you should do is focus on one-on-one relations," she said.
She said money issues also aren’t taken seriously enough by people getting remarried, but they should be.
"The question of money, people seem to be very, very shy and wary of, because they're just worried that the other person will think they're greedy or after their money," she said.
Scarf said that if issues over money and finances aren't discussed, they tend to become an unexpected source for conflict.