Divorce

10 Reasons Marriage Is Better The Second Time Around

Divorce can be so emotionally taxing, it's enough to make you want to swear off marriage for the rest of your life.

But don't go pledging yourself to a life of eternal singlehood just yet. We asked 10 remarried folks for their best pitch for remarriage. The points they brought up will give even the most marriage-averse divorcés second thoughts.

1. You're not looking for someone to complete you.
"Gosh, what isn't better about marriage the second time?! I'm older, wiser, more confident and no longer need someone to 'complete me.' The first time I thought, 'If we were meant to be together, it wouldn't be so hard.' Now I know that it takes work, sacrifice, perseverance and a major sense of humor. My husband is my friend, a great dad and stepdad and 'the the best husband I ever had' as I jokingly like to remind him.

Be yourself while looking for love again. So many women change themselves into the woman they think a guy wants them to be. Be you and you'll find the right person." -Lisa Miller, divorced after five years, remarried for 15 years.

2. You know damn well that you can't change your spouse.

"My second marriage is infinitely better because I am not looking to change my spouse (and there are no illusions that he could change me). It’s so refreshing to be in a relationship where I know who I am, he knows who he is, we accept and love each other for who we are –- faults and all.

My advice is simply to be open. Opening yourself up to dating, relationships, love and marriage again can be scary, but don’t let someone amazing pass you by out of fear." -Kim Graham-Pfeffer, divorced after six years, remarried for two years.

3. Authenticity and honesty come a little more naturally.
"When my first marriage became irreversibly damaged, it broke something inside of each of us. It inspired months, (years, really) of self-reflection and soul searching. It made me hold up a mirror to my actions and the way I process and react to situations. It made me better. If I hadn't had the disastrous first marriage, there's no way I'd be as patient, sympathetic, motivated or as level-headed as I am now in my second marriage. It's my most deep and honest relationship. That transparency has encouraged my current husband be honest about his needs as well.

If you're hesitant to remarry, I get it. You feel foolish and embarrassed because you already took a huge leap of faith and it fell through. But take a lot of time to recuperate. Heal. Take relationships slowly and cautiously. Maybe marriage isn't for you and that's OK. But remember a new relationship, this new person and this new situation are different and deserve consideration." -Amanda Sweeting, divorced after two years, remarried for less than a year.

4. Marriage #1 has changed you for the better.

"My wife and I are both the people we want to be this time around. Life at 40 looks and feels wholly different than life in your 20s. Call it maturity, positive psychology, mindfulness or whatever you'd like, but I've changed for the better and I have my soulmate to enjoy life alongside.

If you're looking to remarry, forgive yourself and forgive your ex -- your failed marriage was 50 percent your doing and 50 percent your ex's. Forgive, find inner peace and let it go. You deserve happiness, love and a second chance." -Rob Walker, divorced after 14 years, remarried for five years.

5. You know what marriage is really like, warts and all.
"My husband and I have both been married before. Things felt different on our wedding day. This time there was no luxurious unknown and all that we carried with us -- the children, the first marriages, the fears -- floated in with the second vows. The air was heavy, it seemed like there was so much more to lose. But it was also brimming with the magic that comes with second chances. I guess it feels heavier because we know things the second time around. Good things and bad things. But we also know what works and what makes it better. We have grown. We made our vows to each other in the voice of the people we are, not the people we want to try to be.

Don’t lace your new promises with old regrets. Accept the weight you bring. Believe that you are stronger in the places that were broken from divorce. Keep your eyes open wide, but take the chance anyway. There is more to lose the second time, sure. But there’s so much to gain, too." -Nicole Jankowski, divorced after 12 years, remarried for two years.

6. With age -- and a tough divorce -- comes great wisdom.

"In the aftermath of my divorce, I had the opportunity to look very carefully at the man I chose the first time and how I had changed since I had met him ten years prior. I looked at the mistakes I made and our incompatibilities because I was determined that I would not make the same mistakes again. I know for sure that I appreciate my second husband much more because of what I went through with the first one; it was a life lesson.

Don't give up on love. While I was going through my divorce, I created a mantra for myself that I would repeat several times a day: 'I am beautiful. I am smart. I am successful. I will not be bitter. And I will love again.' I wrote a careful description of the man I wanted in my life and a few months later, I met Will. He's everything I wanted and once I figured out what it was, exactly, that I wanted, he came along." -Kristin Shaw, divorced after four years, remarried for 8 years.

7. You realize that marriage is a choice you have to make every single day.
"A second marriage is an eyes-wide-open experience; you know what kinds of work are involved and say 'yes' anyway. Plus, you endured a worst-case scenario and not just survived, but thrived! A second marriage means you’ve let go of the ’perfect spouse’ ideal, embraced your imperfections and found the unique ‘must haves’ you need in a life partner.

Remember that marriage is a choice, and if you decide to give it another go, be all in. When I put my wedding rings on each morning I consciously choose my spouse. I commit to our relationship. I acknowledge that being married means I forgive past and future transgressions, and I opt to trust. My thrice-divorced mother offers this sage advice too: 'You don’t have to marry everyone you love.'" -Penney Berryman, divorced after six years, remarried for five months after a five-year courtship.

8. You know what you want.
"You know what you're looking for and what you can live without because of your first marriage. When I I met my second wife I was so much more confident about myself and my needs.

Divorce teaches you that you can be content by yourself and that it's not worth going forward with something if you're hesitant. I never thought I would marry again or have any more kids, but I met my current wife and fell madly in love with her. There is nothing I am hesitant about anymore, except being away from her for too long!"-Matt Robertson, divorced after 10 years, remarried for just over a year.

9. You've taken ownership of what you did wrong the first time around.

"Nobody goes into their first marriages thinking they’re going to get divorced. But it happens. So if you are brave enough to try again, marriage is only better the second time around if you learn from your earlier mistakes. Both partners are older and, hopefully, wiser. And both know what they need from each other and what to do to make the relationship work.

After I got divorced, I still believed in love and in the institution of marriage. I just wasn’t in any hurry to experience it again. I dated a bit before I started dating my husband. We were together for three years before we got married. And even with taking that time, it was a little bumpy for the first couple of years. Not between us but with the process of blending our families. But really, it’s a good thing to be a little hesitant and to not rush in to getting remarried, especially if there are kids involved." -Jennifer Cullen, divorced after seven years, remarried for eight years.

10. You're incredibly picky -- and that's a good thing.
"I entered into my 30s divorced, with a young son and determined to do better. I dated some men but no one felt right and I wouldn't just let anyone into my son's life. Eventually, two years after my divorce, I met the man I would marry. I often say that had he not come along, I'd still be single today. I look at the men I know, married and unmarried, and not one appeals to me as a spouse. I was lucky to find my very best match. My biggest complaints is that he doesn't wipe counters, he's a packrat and he's often late. But guess what? He's also wonderful father to my son and our child together. He's considerate, kind and puts my happiness above his own.

Learn how to be live without a partner and figure what you need from your next-time partner in that time. Marriage is better the second time around. I'd like to take credit for having impeccable standards and being picky, but I was lucky my current husband walked into my life. I've been happy most of the days since he showed up." -Chris Doell, divorced after nine years, remarried for 10 years.

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Love After Divorce
(01 of 31)
"I would go through the hell of my divorce a million over to have these two little boys in my life. They have taught me more about unconditional love, life and myself in their precious short lives than I had ever discovered in my 25 years before them." -Hannah Robinson (credit: JN Photography )
(02 of 31)
"Love after divorce is wonderful. We're a big blended family now." -Barry Fraser (credit: Barry Fraser)
(03 of 31)
"I didn't know if it would even be possible to find love after divorce, but I met my true match when I was 40, right when I least expected it. And at 44, I had the child I never thought I'd have. If it hadn't been for these late-in-life events, I wouldn't have found out about the cancer inside me until it was too late. They discovered it during the C-section that brought our daughter into the world. All I can say is, never question the timing of the universe!" -Joanna Montgomery (credit: Joanna Montgomery)
(04 of 31)
"I would define love as the bond between me and my son. I love that I caught on camera the way he looks at me! That's unconditional love!" -Jessica McCarthy (credit: Jessica McCarthy )
(05 of 31)
"This is what love looks like after divorce. After taking the time to love myself again, I met a man who loves me for me. Love IS possible after divorce. This is proof." -Melissa Hyatt (credit: Kimberly Hyatt Jackson Photographics )
(06 of 31)
"Nahla, my red-nosed pitbull is love in the most perfect way for me. She watched as my marriage crumbled in the hands of my abusive husband. Though she couldn't save me physically -- I had to do that myself -- she saved me emotionally. I credit my strength and bravery to her. She was (and is) a steady ear to listen and paw to hold." -Jenny Sampley (credit: Jenny Sampley)
(07 of 31)
"After divorce, I found solo happiness, then meet an amazing girl, got married and we now have a two-year-old princess and another one on the way next month." -Matt Simms (credit: Matt Simms)
(08 of 31)
"Three years after my divorce, my daughters Emily and Sarah define love for me. They exemplify the true meaning of unconditional love: so pure, honest and true. They love without fear, nor judgement of others. They don't hold grudges or count rights or wrongs. They show me the true meaning of love. After the divorce I thought I wasn't capable of finding that love again but my children remind me daily that I never lost it." -Susan Grace (credit: Susan Grace)
(09 of 31)
"This is love. We are a newly married and blended family. What a crazy ride to get where we are now. And oddly enough, my ex and I have found a pretty civil way to handle parenting after divorce." -Nicole Messer (credit: Afton Marie Photography)
(10 of 31)
"Love after divorce is all about showing and sharing with my son what is good and right in life!" -David Gray (credit: David Gray )
(11 of 31)
"Divorce, for me, has meant happiness. Don't get me wrong, divorce is hard as sh*t...but then that wasn't far off from how married life was for me. My life is so much easier now. I can be a better, happier mom for my kids. I've also had a lot of fun meeting new people and I recently met a guy who was also going through a divorce and has kids who are about the same age as mine. Neither off us is ready to jump into anything serious, but both agree that we enjoy each others' company. Life is good!" -Erin Delpercio (credit: Erin Delpercio)
(12 of 31)
"This is me hanging out with my BFF wolf pack. This is what love is all about after divorce!" -Dominique Lamb (credit: Dominique Lamb)
(13 of 31)
"This is me and my new partner Jamie Laban. I couldn’t be happier and my three children from my previous marriage love and adore the three more children created from this new relationship!" -Wendy Fox (credit: Wendy Fox)
(14 of 31)
"This is what love looks like now for me: co-sleeping with the kids, pushed to the edge of the bed, but giving my girls the security they need right now and seeing their sweet faces when I open my eyes every morning " -Leslie Foxworth (credit: Leslie Foxworth)
(15 of 31)
"I found my amazing smile and started to love myself again after 13 years of loving the wrong person. I will never place someone else's happiness before my own." -Armando Ramirez (credit: Armando Ramirez)
(16 of 31)
"Love after divorce is realizing that the one who saves you and gives you your happy ending is not Prince Charming, it's the little girl who calls you mommy!" -Yanely (credit: Yanely)
(17 of 31)
"After going through a divorce, it took a while to let my guard down and let someone in. But my current husband accepted my past and my baggage and helped me see the good in me. Love after a divorce is scary but I'm glad I let him in because he makes me strive to be better and loves me. We now have a beautiful baby girl together." -Marissa Riembauer (credit: Troy Ryan )
(18 of 31)
"I'm sending this photo on behalf of my amazing mom who would want me to send it (if she had a Twitter and knew how to use it -- ha). Love is an awesome mom and her three kids who don't need a dad in the picture!" -Hannah Losi-Strader (credit: Hannah Losi-Strader)
(19 of 31)
"Being divorced means I can visit my family in Hawaii more often. (credit: @NASCAR_Hula)
(20 of 31)
"I would say that as I a newly divorced single mom, love comes in smaller, messier packages but is unconditional and completely spontaneous." -Denise Lee (credit: Denise Lee)
(21 of 31)
"Life and love after divorce is many hours spent at CrossFit, taking on new and exciting challenges (Spartan Race -- killed it!), dancing in the street and a new boyfriend." -Juliana Galardi (credit: Juliana Galardi)
(22 of 31)
"This is my girlfriend Jennifer Henley whom I met five years after my divorce. We've been dating five months and I couldn't be happier! ❤️" -Ron Hernandez (credit: Ron Hernandez)
(23 of 31)
"Here's a photo of my son with my parents, my ex's parents, his step-father's parents and my ex-husband. We are one big happy dysfunctional family but we're strong, healthy and happy." -Kelly Kesler (credit: Kelly Kesler)
(24 of 31)
"Well, life after divorce certainly has its ups and downs. (And I won't be cliché enough to say there's more ups!) This picture of my boys and I sums up how I define love after divorce." -Sara I. (credit: Sara I. )
(25 of 31)
"Since the divorce, my daughter Nora and I have leaned on each other as mother and daughter in a a whole new way." -Erin Hendrickson (credit: Erin Hendrickson )
(26 of 31)
"Here's my son and me. He's 12 and has autism. He and his younger brother are my everything." -Robyn Rodriguez Gillis (credit: Robyn Rodriguez Gillis)
(27 of 31)
"This is what love looks like to me post-divorce and I wouldn't trade it for anything!" -Jen Ischay (credit: Jen Ischay )
(28 of 31)
"Love after divorce? It looks something like this..." -Amanda Amato (credit: Amanda Amato )
(29 of 31)
"I discovered love after my divorce. My attitude toward men has changed quite a lot. I learned what was really important to me in life and how to live on my own." -Maryam Dadkhah (credit: Maryam Dadkhah)
(30 of 31)
"Here we are, a whole lot happier!" -Ashley Croom (credit: Ashley Croom )
(31 of 31)
"Here is a pic of me and my two boys on Mother's Day this year. This is love to me since my divorce." -Claire Leek (credit: Claire Leek )

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