Learning how to love better is a key element in creating the marriage you desire today.
A recent article addressed the issue of multiple marriages and how one can answer the question, "Is this your first marriage?" While the stigma is not what it used to be, the question does raise feelings of guilt and failure in some people. It is a reminder that the first, perhaps second, or even third time marriages did not lead to happily ever after.
As a relationship coach, I help my clients learn from the past as it is a key element to making your second marriage last. The tendency is to attract the same type of relationship experience. Many people I work believe each person is totally different from the one before, but on deeper examination find out they have repeated the cycle. I specialize in seeing the pattern that has developed and identifying that person's norm for love. There is always a feeling that one tries to recreate as an attempt to work through a past challenge and get to a happier ending than had been experienced previously.
Couples who are successful in remarriage have learned valuable lessons from their past relationship and gained insight and wisdom regarding not only themselves but also what it means to be in an emotionally healthy, functional marriage.
To make love last and not only go the distance but to grow in depth and connections, my suggestions as a relationship coach are:
Take responsibility. It is vital to see what your role has been in failed relationships or previous marriages. As much as the ego would like to place the blame solely on the other person, deep down you know it is mutual actions which led to the downfall.
Have solid priorities. You will nurture relationships with those you esteem. If you were in a marriage in which you were at the bottom of your spouse's priority list, it is important that you know where the relationship should be and then clearly vocalize your convictions. In good marriages, maintaining a strong bond with each other is priority one. Career goals are important, but they should not supersede love.
Stop the drama. Each person has a particular role they gravitate toward in drama. Whether it is playing the victim, the persecutor, or the rescuer, you need to not only identify your role, but also learn to stop taking the bait of drama and start communicating in a constructive manner. In my book, What To Look For In A Man, I share the process of how to recognize relationship patterns and the way to create a new norm in love. You have the capability of making your marriage whatever you want it to be. Wherever your thoughts roam, your destiny will follow.
Express love. Many unhappy marriages are a result of not communicating love in the manner the other person wants to receive it. If you value the emotional connection gained from deep conversations with your spouse, but never share that information with him, you will begin to feel unloved when he fails to engage in that manner. From his perspective, he may believe he is showing you love by providing you with material things and security. This lack of communication often leads to disconnect and eventually the desire to fulfill that need elsewhere. Strong remarriages have communicated the desired manner to show each other love.
Communicate. Most topics can be worked through if brought out in the open. It is the habit of hiding true feelings that leads to resentment and a repetition of past patterns. Believing the other person has the exact same view of marital roles, financial responsibilities, life goals, family obligations, children and faith are the assumptions that get couples in trouble. These discussions should not be superficial; it is important to be vulnerable toward one another and open the conversation to deep discussions about why you believe what you do in faith. It should reflect a mutual sharing of how to raise future children and future life goals as a couple and individually.
To reiterate, a marriage is what a couple makes of it. The past provides valuable gifts of wisdom for learning how to love well. You can have the marriage of your dreams when you take the time not only to work through the challenges of the past openly and honestly but also to choose to apply those lessons to your life.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach, and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit here for articles, exercises, coaching options, and recent books. Subscribe to her free report, Is He The Right One or schedule a complimentary coaching session with Nancy.
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