Today is mine and Hun’s 10th wedding anniversary!

Woohoo!

We made it without killing each other!  Just teasing!  I love Hun and I know he loves me – we’ve got another 10 years (at least) before we come close to thinking about whether jail time would be worth it or not (still kidding!).

Are we going to continue making it?  I sure hope so!  But I’m realistic enough to know that not all fairy tales end in a happy ending.  Let’s look at some statistics for second marriages (from this link):

Overall though, statistics on second marriages show that they have a higher failure rate than first marriages.

Studies show that 15% of second marriages end in divorce after 3 years and around 25% end in divorce after 5 years.

Research shows that second marriages are more likely to fail if:

the couple has a low income
the wife has poor educational achievement
the wife gave birth within 7 months of her first wedding
the wife is older than her husband
the couple live in the Northeast or Midwest

A second marriage is 44% more likely to fail after 10 years if the wife had children by her first husband, during her first marriage.

Whew!  We, specifically I, do not fall under any of those first categories.

Except that last one.  The last one – the one about being married for 10 years – was something I wasn’t expecting to read and is a little concerning.  I’m not going to stress about it (too much), but I would like to explore the possible reasons why.

Why, after 10 years, would the fact that a woman having a child with the first husband, suddenly appear to be a significant issue?

Every relationship is different, so I can only go by my own personal experience.

My belief is because the child(ren) might have been young when the second marriage occurred and are now becoming teenagers at this point and are testing the boundaries.  They are pushing back and exerting their independence in all sorts of ways.  Couple this testing of boundaries with Mommy Guilt or Disney Dad syndrome and you have parents who, instead of acting like parents, cater to their child(ren) so they don’t “hate” the parent.

Catering to the child(ren) in turn leaves the step-parent frustrated because they can see how the child(ren)’s behavior can be potentially negative in the future.  So the step-parent “talks” to the bio-parent that they are married to about how they are raising their child(ren).  This can be seen by the bio-parent as criticizing their child(ren) and by extension, the parent, for their implied lack of parenting skills.  The discussion turns less towards the child(ren)’s behavior and instead focuses like a laser beam onto the adults as they try to insist the other is wrong and possibly worse.  Battle ensues.  Instead of the focus being on how to help the child(ren), the focus instead turns to defensive positions and who can get the last attack in before the battle is “lost”.  The “war” is lost by all sides when a divorce is filed for (I’m not talking about those marriages that are abusive or other large indiscretions….just the ones where minor differences, attitudes or history are too big to overcome).

The parents and step-parents hit this naturally stressful point in raising child(ren) and it becomes a battle of “either me or your child” and that’s not a statement that should ever be uttered in a second marriage!  No matter who has the child(ren), the other adult should never ask the parent to pick – the child(ren) will win out every time.  That’s the nature of being a parent.

What people in second marriages usually fail to recognize is that the child(ren) testing the boundaries happen in first marriages as well.  Not a single marriage/parenting event is immune to this happening – if it was immune I would not have run away from home where my parents are still married and Greg wouldn’t have given the same parents as many fits as he did as a teenager either.  The difference is our parents survived and are still going strong today.

When Hun and I were first married, he wondered aloud if we would make it longer than either of our first marriages survived (2 years for me, 7 years for him).  I told him we would make it if we decided to make it and not a single day longer.

When Hun wondered aloud, again, the same question when we hit our 3 year anniversary, I told him he had already lasted longer than Flotsam did, so he should feel better about that because I certainly did.  I wasn’t ready to kick him to the curb just yet, but promised him I would let him know if I ever reached that point.  He was somewhat relieved.

At our 7 year anniversary, Hun put me through some trying times.  We hit our “7 year itch” so to speak.  He was just certain I would begin cheating on him and leave because that’s what Jetsam did to him.  It took almost a full year, anniversary year 8, before he settled down and realized I was in the marriage for the long-haul and that we had survived longer than his first marriage had.

Now we’re at 10 years and still going strong.  We have our issues and there are days I wonder why I married the lug, but all in all, it has been worth it.

Here’s to another 10, 20 and maybe even 30 years Hun!  I love you!

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