A "starter marriage" is often defined as one that ends in divorce before age 30 with no children and little joint property. While the term starter marriage has become a mainstay in popular culture, I feel there really is no precise definition for it. It means different things to different people. For example, my starter marriage lasted 25 years. Many people get stuck in a first marriage longer than they should be. But with kids and life moving quickly, they suddenly find themselves many years down the road before they make the move to end it. People usually look at divorce as a failure. When I look back on my starter marriage, I realize how important it was; it helped shape me into the better wife that I am today in my second marriage.
On the flipside, some starter marriages only last a year or less. In Hollywood, people tend to have numerous starter marriages. And some people are really lucky, and their starter marriage turns out to be their only marriage because they found the right person. Many of us aren't lucky enough to be in that situation and didn't get it right the first time.
While the point of marriage is not to get divorced, it's much better to look at the positives than dwell on the negatives. If you are ending your first marriage, below are some positive benefits you may have received from your starter marriage:
The ability to compromise. One thing we learn in a marriage -- whether it's good or bad -- is how to compromise. Look at your starter marriage as a class in compromising and take what you have learned and apply it to your next relationship.
Knowledge about choosing sides. A marriage is all about the choices and decisions we make. One very important choice is deciding which side of the bed you want to sleep on. The good thing about a starter marriage is that you figured out the side you like. I guess there are some things you may not compromise on.
The opportunity to start anew. After a starter marriage, you have a fresh start in your next relationship. There's nothing like having a clean slate and being able to move on after a stressful experience. Starting anew is the cornerstone of a healthy break-up.
Knowledge about what you want. You can't figure out what kind of wine you like without trying some. A positive thing about the starter marriage is that you have a better understanding of what you want next time out of a partner and a marriage.
A list of your deal breakers. When you live with a spouse, you not only find out what you want in your partner, but you also find out what you don't want. The little things that annoy you can become big things rather quickly. So recognize what the deal breakers are, embrace them and find someone who doesn't have them.
Incentive to take nothing for granted. We have all been guilty at some point of taking our significant other for granted. You need to walk away from the first marriage with an incentive to not do that the second time around. This will benefit your next marriage because both spouses like to feel appreciated.
An understanding to take your time. Maybe the most beneficial thing you learned from your starter marriage is to take your time the next time around. There's no need to rush into another marriage. You been down that aisle already, so take it slow when you meet someone new. Get to know each other really well and wait for it to feel right because if it's meant to be, it will happen.