Over the course of the last week, I have been involved in many discussions about marriage. Most all of the discussions broached divorce as well. While statistics to the contrary are rampant, the prevailing myth is most marriages fail. Rather than get into a lengthy debate, whip out my BlackBerry and Google the truth, I decided to take an entirely different tack.
Change the Subject
Well, sort of. Instead of focusing on the failure of the first marriage, I focused on the success of the second marriage. Statistically speaking, second marriages are the most successful. On average, they last a little more than eight years longer than first marriages.
While I am not going to berate you with the gory details into the methodology as to why they are more successful, I want us to explore why. I specifically want you to tell me why I should buy your choice as to why the statistics are stacked the way they are.
Practice Makes Perfect
This is the tiredest excuse of all. While the idea doing something a second time brings with it a sense of experience, it fails to address the concept you are engaging in marriage with another person who is as unknown to you as was your first spouse.
If this is your choice, come loaded for bear, as I will not be easily convinced.
Older and Wiser (Young and Dumb and…)
Older, yes. Wiser, how? What fundamental concepts are different in a first marriage and a second marriage? Is this a matter of coping mechanism? Did you learn how to avoid the pitfalls better?
While it can be said learning not to engage in marriage-ending behavior is an asset to a second marriage, I am unlikely to be swayed far from my stance on this one. If you think this is the reason, why?
Not My Fault
The second most common reason for first marriage failure is Mate. Failures range from infidelity (#1 answer) to job loss (#4 answer). The fact sexual dysfunction was cited as a failure cause for divorce in the top ten answers struck me. I will not tell you how it struck me, but strike me it did.
(Yes, I am scratching my head on this one.) If the reason the first marriage dissolved was not your fault, how does that bear on the longevity and viability of your second marriage?
Turns out Mate #2 was a BFF to Mate #1. How is this marriage more viable than the first? Did you marry the wrong twin switched at birth? Were you better friends with Mate #2 than you were Mate #1? Is the second marriage based on commiseration against Mate #1?
Mate #2 was always your BFF. Mate #2 never did understand why you married Mate #1. Mate #2 stood with you through wedding, marriage and divorce. Why is this the second marriage?
Cited equally as cause for both marriage and divorce, children are a reason given for second marriages staying together longer. Where this excuse fails to meet muster is in this fact: Most second marriages begin with children from previous marriages.
If children are the reason why the second marriage lasts longer, why were they not the reason the first marriage stayed together?
I have three alternate solutions to the ones presented here. I want to hear what you think.
- Which solution is the most plausible?
- What other solution can you give in addition to the most plausible?
- Convince me you know which solution is the reason second marriages are more successful than first marriages.
Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.