10 Things I'll Do Differently in My Second Marriage

Love & Learn 23

When you realize everything you thought about love and marriage and relationships and sacrifice was crap, you tend to ponder a bit on what the hell went wrong. And you spend a lot of time reflecting on what you’ll do differently next time around, should you be so lucky to find love again.

And oh man, are there things I plan on doing differently next time. One of those things has already taken care of itself, since I now believe it’s a bad idea to get married as a teenager. Sure, lots of those relationships work out just fine, but it’s a gamble to get married as kids. You haven’t figured out exactly who you are going to be yet, and then what happens if you grow in fundamentally different directions? Besides, take it from me, the hormones of teenagerhood allow you to overlook a lot of red flags just because you’re sooooo in looooove.

More from The Stir: 10 Things to Say if You Want to Destroy Your Marriage

Anyway, in addition to being older and wiser before deciding to tie the knot again, here are some other things I’ll do differently next time around.

Date longer. My first husband and I never dated. We went straight from being friends to being engaged. We got married seven months later. I used to think it was romantic, but now I see that we never had an opportunity to get to know each other well enough to make a logical decision about spending the rest of our lives together.

Say no more often ... and mean it. I’m a people pleaser by nature, so it’s hard for me to say no. More often than not I’d cave about something important to me just to avoid hurt feelings.

Let him own his emotions. I’d like him to be happy with me, of course, but it’s not my job to make him happy. And it’s not my fault if he’s angry/upset/stressed/etc. I can just do my best -- I can't fix him.

Share interests. I used to think opposites attracted. And maybe they do. But you have to share some common interests; otherwise, what can you do to re-bond when you go through rough patches?

Stop feeling guilty. So what if the laundry didn’t get done, or dinner was drive-thru, or I just didn’t feel like getting frisky? It doesn’t mean I failed, it means I’m tired.

Don’t ignore the small things. Small things turn into big things, unless you nip them in the bud. Or at least address them and come to some sort of compromise.

Understand autonomy. We will always be two separate people, with our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. We don’t have to agree on everything to be a united couple.

Wait longer before kids. I’d like more kids someday, and God willing, it will happen. If my bio clock ticks out before I meet the right person, that’s cool too, since I already have two awesome daughters. But I’d like to enjoy the newlywed stage without morning sickness next time around, since the first time I got pregnant about four seconds after we said “I do.”

Ask only for love. I used to joke that it was usually easier to ask for forgiveness than permission when I wanted to do something I knew my husband would disapprove of. Writing this list, I thought I’d reverse it, but that’s not quite right either. I don’t want to ask his “permission” for anything. I just want him to love me -- for all my awesome parts, my broken parts, and even my penchant to splurge occasionally on an expensive pair of jeans.

What things do you wish you’d done differently in a current or past relationship?


Image via Anthony Kelly/Flickr

divorce, marriage, dating, single moms

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Darcy Nestler

When I got married to my husband now, I told him straight up that I will not be going thru another divorce, so if we get married, we get married for good.  We are opposites, but we also have many many things in common.  I also would say live together before you get married.  You learn so much about someone by living with them.  My husband and I have been together for 4 years, married for just over a year, and living together for about 3 1/2 of those 4 years.  We moved in together about 6 months after we started dating due to necessity.  His lease was up on his apartment and he would have had to renew it for a year instead of month to month or 6 months like he had done previously.

nonmember avatar Will Best

How can you handle the little things, while not feeling guilty about the little things?

I also don't understand how you will have a newlywed phase when your second marriage starts with two kids from day one.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Will - do you feel guilty every time you handle any problem, big or small?

Paola Lefno

You nailed it! I'm on my second marriage and its 1000% better for all theses reasons!

nonmember avatar Boomer

You're an ageing overweight female with two kids, no money and a bad attitude. No man of substance would even give you the time of day.Marry? ROTFLMAO Try a old blind homeless bum

nonmember avatar Stop Insanity

With the clear evidence of her unsuitability for marriage that she's put online for anyone to see, it's hard to believe any man would be dumb enough to put a ring on that. Someone eventually will, but he will be a much lower-quality man than she fantasizes about getting. She'll despise him even more than she does her first husband. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a second divorce in her future...

nonmember avatar zach

@Jenny I hate to see the mean comments that are directed your way and I'd hoped you'd change your tune after the humbling experience of going thru a rough divorce. I can see from the columns you've submitted recently, though, that you haven't changed. Prepare to get blasted from every direction. Some people never learn.

Jaghd810 Jaghd810

I guess Jenny's ex husband's friends have hijacked the stir.  ha ha ha.  these comments are hilarious!!  by the way, Jenny...you don't ever have to get remarried.  Be happy!  That's all you need to do.  Good luck!  

nonmember avatar Anchorman

the hormones of teenagerhood allow you to overlook a lot of red flags just because you’re sooooo in looooove.
You married a friend and had to be dragged down the aisle. Is there anyone in your RL who calls out your B/S “evolving narratives?”
Say no more often ... and mean it.
You didn’t “cave.” You redirected your energy into passive-aggressive attacks which undermined your relationship with your husband. Own it.
it’s not my job to make him happy. it’s not my fault if he’s angry/upset/stressed
Who wants to “wife up” a woman who states she doesn’t have a significant role in her husband enjoying life?
what can you do to re-bond when you go through rough patches?
Your strategy was divorce.

nonmember avatar Anchorman

Don’t ignore the small things…nip them in the bud
Promises of more nagging for husband #2.
If my bio clock ticks out before I meet the right person, that’s cool too, since I already have two awesome daughters
It’s “cool,” because you’re getting a nice child support check. However, if you can get Husband #2 to give you kids, you can divorce him for more cash and prizes when he stops making you happy, won’t share your favorite interest (binge drinking), and resorts to pr0n because you ice him out in the bedroom…again.
I don’t want to ask his “permission” for anything. I just want him to love me -- for all my awesome parts, my broken parts, and even my penchant to splurge occasionally on an expensive pair of jeans.
Husband #2, don’t you dare bring attention to her selfishness.

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