Approximately 70% or more of all 2nd marriages fail. Which means if you are in your second marriage or more, you have less than one third of a chance of lasting. This statistic is not just alarming, but it is a statistic Kristy and I knew nothing about when we got married.
When Kristy and I got together roughly 11 years ago, I never thought I would get married again. My last marriage was a complete nightmare. Infidelity. Alcohol and drugs. Constant name calling. Zero levels of communication. Zero levels of compatibility. That is just to name a few of the issues.
It wasn't that I didn't love Kristy, it was that I didn't want to go through another divorce, especially like the last one.
I overcame my fear (thankfully) and we got married over 8 years ago now. It is hard to explain how thankful I am for her and for her willingness in our marriage. I never thought that was possible. I was jaded by my last relationship and just assumed marriage was a nightmare trap.
That is NOT to say we haven't had our rough times over the last 11 years. Unfortunately, there have always been 2 major things that we fought about, and still today have our squabbles over.
These 2 things are, kids and money. It’s not infidelity, or abuse, or lack of communication that ranks highest reasons for divorce in 2nd marriages. It’s not a lack of intimacy or even working long hours. These are contributing factors, but the real reasons are kids and money.
We have done a few things right, and to be honest we still struggle at times now, but we know how to get back on track quickly.
Now that you know the 2 reasons why, let’s discuss a few ways to help in each of these.
Kids: Let’s clarify that if you are in a blended family this is because of kids AND step-kids.
1. Understand that you will not love and your spouse will not love the step-kids the same as the biological (bio) kids, and that’s ok. Once you both understand this, it removes a ton of pressure.
2. Spending time with your own bio kids in the beginning is a must. This allows kids time to adjust and accept the new family. We did NOT do this, and it was a huge mistake. We wanted to blend the fastest and spend time alone with our kids we felt would cause jealousy. We were very wrong.
3. Punishment, at least in the beginning, needs to be done by the bio parent, NOT the step-parent. Both parents NEED to discuss punishment together behind closed doors but the bio parent gives the punishment out. As time and trust builds, this can be lightly handed over. Just make sure you are well blended before doing so.
Money: Listen, we have very different views on money, especially since we were married before. One is a saver, one is a spender. We get it. Kristy and I both wear these hats at different times. This can cause tons of tension and trust issues that feel like they can never be repaired.
1. Pick a person to be in charge of the finances. This is if you have combined your finances. This alone is a MASSIVE topic, we understand. Our view is that if at all possible, combine your finances. This forces communication and most importantly trust. It is nearly impossible to truly blend when you are really acting separate.
I was in charge for years, and the last 5 years or so, Kristy is in charge. She keeps the bill book. She ensures the bills get paid (I do a few). Mostly she is in charge of it. Which leads me into the second point…
2. Plan your bill book together! Just because Kristy is in charge of the bills, doesn't mean I don't have any say so. Actually the opposite happens. We sit down and go through the bills one by one. We discuss how the money is handled and how it is spent. Together. If something changes, we discuss that as well.
3. Do NOT hide money from each other. This will drive a wedge so wide that you will feel it is impossible to fill. No matter how bad you want to buy something, the amount of distrust it will cause is not worth it. This is a surefire way to head to divorce. Trust is already complicated in a blended family, this will light it on fire.
BONUS: Understanding that your family is not yours first but God’s will help you give it over to Him. We need to know that if we are foundationally built upon a real relationship with Christ, that will change our heart on these hard topics that lead 70% of families to divorce. Pray together. Make church a priority. Treat your marriage as important as God treats the church.
You can beat the odds of divorce but to do so, we must put our trust in God first, our marriage second and our kids third.
God loves you, we love you...