At The Relationship Therapy Center, we believe all couples can benefit from counseling. Whether you are marrying for the first time, marrying again, or are considering living with a partner, there is always room for growth. But more specifically, if you are someone who is considering a second marriage, it is a good idea to consider premarital counseling as well.
Statistics show that almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce and the divorce rates for second marriages are even higher. Fortunately, when done well and with intention, the positive feelings we experience from a successful second marriage can actually eclipse any negative ones from the past. So, if you’ve never been to couples therapy before, now is the perfect time to start exploring the benefits.
Reasons to consider premarital counseling for a second marriage.
Premarital counseling is one of the best ways to protect your second marriage from your first. The two experiences (and spouses) are separate and should be kept that way. Depending on how your first marriage ended, you may have lingering resentments or unresolved issues to work through. And in addition to letting go of any anger or trust issues that may still exist, premarital counseling is a safe and supportive place to actually grieve the loss of your first marriage. Whether a relationship ends in death or divorce, it needs to be processed and released completely before we are able to move on and experience healthy love with somebody new.
How can therapy help?
Put your first marriage to good use. No matter how difficult the relationship was or painful the separation, it’s important to mine your first marriage for relationship gold. A therapist will help you to analyze what worked and what didn’t work so you don’t repeat the same mistakes twice.
Get to the root of any lingering issues from your past, i.e. don’t let your first marriage affect your second. The ability to fully forgive is particularly important if you are co-parenting with an ex, which means coordinating pick-ups and drop-offs, visitation and shared custody, and shared financial responsibility.
Learn to co-parent successfully with your new spouse. Talk about what joining your two families together will look like and get ahead of any potential challenges. How involved will each of you be as step-parent? What is each of your parenting styles and roles in the household? Blending two families together is not an overnight process. Children can take up to five years to fully accept their step-parents as part of the family. Be patient and infuse your household with as much humor and love as possible.
Build an action plan for success. Research from The Gottman Institute shows that more than two-thirds of conflict in relationships will never be eliminated, but rather managed. What is your strategy for when times get tough? How will you communicate through the conflicts? Couples therapy will give you tools for clear communication and healthy conflict resolution to ensure your partnership is as strong as possible.
Talk about all the things. How open and honest have you both been about your strengths and weaknesses in relationships? What are your greatest fears about remarrying? Communication is king because second marriages are complicated and there will naturally be ups and downs. It’s important to discuss whether divorce has been “normalized” as an option for when times get tough, as well as whether you will maintain separate finances or merge assets together.
Embrace vulnerability. Therapy is a safe space for both partners to get vulnerable. Although emotional exposure can be scary, especially after a difficult past relationship, vulnerability is the secret sauce to an intimate and trusting marriage.
What if we don’t want to get married but do want to live together?
Couples counseling, or premarital counseling, can also be hugely beneficial for couples who do not want to get married but do want to live together. In any partnership, use therapy to strengthen communication skills, increase intimacy, and for the following:
Address any unspoken issues, questions, or desires for your future together. What does commitment look like for each of you?
Get clear on how finances and other “family” issues like holidays and parenting styles will be handled.
Talk openly about whether one or both of you wants children. If children are already involved, how do they feel about the family dynamic and where is there room for improvement?
Create shared goals and a plan for the future.
No matter the circumstances of your relationship, the primary reason that couples seek counseling – communication – remains the same. Our therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in Fair Oaks and Roseville, CA are dedicated to helping you create the healthiest and most dynamic relationship possible. Call us today to find out more.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to premarital counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Premarital counseling can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process and help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love healthy.