Love the Second Time: Successful Second Marriages

By Patricia Bubash

Marriage is a work in progress no matter if it is a first, second, third or like Elizabeth
(as in Taylor, eight times to the altar). Couples who chose to remarry often
find themselves with an increased set of issues beyond that of a first
marriage: extended family members, additional financial burdens,
combining his/her children, and, often, if the remarrying couple is older, they
may have aging parents who need them. All, or any, of these situations
create strain on a marriage-any marriage, testing the strength of the

As a school counselor for many years, my open
door policy brought many unhappy parents and their children to my door. The
situation most often discussed, most frustrating was the remarriage of a
parent. The task of bringing two families together, his/hers, and
sometimes, an “ours”, is a formidable one. A variety of
personalities, new to each other, previously parented with another parent-all
these differences now living under one roof-difficult for even the most dedicated
twosome. Typically, children were not happy about the acquisition of a new
stepparent. Their way of retaliation was to be as non-receptive as
possible. Children who had never shown disrespectful, non-compliant
behaviors suddenly became “problem kids”, acting out in school,
throwing tantrums at home.

I remember one father who was so astounded at
his children’s recent personality change. He had been gifted with a new love,
his soul mate, he was in love! To his dismay his two children were making
life miserable for him and his new love. This had been a very involved
dad, delighted in his father role. He was hurt and dismayed by the behaviors of
these “new” children of his. My response to him as he wrenched his
hands, commiserating, “you may be in love but your children
aren’t”. I went on to explain, “they still have a mother and
their loyalty is to her. Give this time, don’t push their acceptance, be
patient”. For a while, I think he took my words to task, but after a
few years, I heard he and the love of his life had divorced. A very
different ending from that of a couple in my book. The couple I interviewed for
my book separated five times in four years because of their children. His and
her children caused constant disruptions in the home creating strife for
everyone. But they had made a commitment at their wedding: no divorce this
time; it was to be a forever marriage. Their children, finally, grew up, moved
away, married, and these days as empty nesters, they simply, enjoy being
together, able to enjoy the love that sustained them.

The stories I heard as a counselor and my own
failed second marriage, prompted me to write a book, Successful Second
Marriages- stories of couples who have experienced the additional baggage
brought into a remarriage. How were they able to maintain their marriage
while maneuvering through the obstacles? How did they keep their
relationship the priority when they were stretched in so many directions?

Each couple graciously shared their story on what had
worked for them. Their stories are inspiring, encouraging and hopeful, good
lessons for first timers or beyond.

Patricia Bubash has a Masters Degree in Counseling from the University of
Missouri, St.Louis. Beyond this degree, she received certification as a School
Psychological Examiner. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a
Stephen Minister. Ms. Bubash?s professional career of more than thirty
years has been in the school environment. Working with families and
students has been her passion. Over the years she has given workshops on
a variety of parental issues: self-esteem, step parenting, multiple
intelligences and ADHD. What she considers her most relevant professional
credentials are the roles she enjoys as a mother and a grandmother. Ms.
Bubash is working on another project related to marital issues. Go to her website for more information. Her book can be purchased from

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