The three marriages most of will face, hopefully, they will be with the same people. Here they are with survival tips…
Your First Marriage
For the majority, this is what we think about as a traditional marriage. It is the first of our three marriages. We are young, single, perhaps no kids and we find the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with. If you are married you know that first year of marriage can be rough. If you aren’t married yet, have not doubt, adjusting to your new life as one can be rough.
This will be your first marriage. Determine how you will decide on the little things that shape the way your family will operate for the coming years.
- There will be fights about nothing or silly junk
- Adjustments as you both learn how your family will operate. (Hint: it won’t be exactly the same as the family you came from)
- Stress about how you handle money, this is a subcategory of of the others two but it can be a very big deal.
- Pray for one another and for your marriage.
- Determine now how you will work through those tough times.
- Create a safety word that allows either of you walk away before your anger leads to sinful behaviour.
- Apologize and repent quickly and often, this builds a solid Gospel based habit between you.
- Men: Keep doing what you did to win her, keep pursuing her.
- Women: Assume positive intent from your husband. He probably isn’t trying to anger you.
Your Second Marriage
Kids; Nothing will throw off your marriage like kids. The two of you are no longer the only members of your family. I still believe you should be the center, but it will look differently than it did in your “First marriage”. I say that your relationship should be the center because if you aren’t intentional about maintaining your relationship with your spouse your may not make it to the last of your three marriages.
Of course I know that some people have marriage one and two at the same time and God bless you, I have no idea how you make it work. I have asked for a friend, who has a great marriage like this, to write something on that but haven’t heard back from him yet.
- Kids are going to demand your attention and make you tired.
- Work, church, kids activities will fill your life.
- During this time the “Seven Year” itch comes into play. The infatuation you feel can wane and you need to be determined to love your spouse anyway.
- Make time for each other, keep a date night. Be intentional.
- Activities will keep you busy keep your family rooted in your church and the Gospel of Christ.
- Repent to your kids when you sin against them show them the gospel in your life.
I have seen many strong marriages completely fall apart when the kids leave the house. Parents suddenly look at one another and realize they are more than parents. This may be the toughest of the three marriages because of the many transitions happening at once. Of course, I am speaking to this only from an outside perspective. My wife and I are in our second marriage and have years before we hit this phase.
- Sudden lack of busy-ness can bring your hidden issues into sharp focus and even amplify them.
- The empty nest may force you to face struggles you’ve had from the beginning of your marriage you have been able to ignore because the kids helped you avoid them.
- Each of you may have trouble with your own identity now that your parenting role is changing. Who are you when you are not being a parent.
- For many couples, the second half of marriage packs a 1-2-3 punch of physical, social, and emotional change according to Mary Jo Pedersen author of For Better, For Worse, For God: Exploring the Holy Mystery of Marriage
- Be aware of your own sinful tendencies; they may be amplified. Don’t be ashamed to seek professional Christian counseling during this transition.
- Get involved in social activities together, church groups etc. where you can create new shared experiences with one another instead of growing more isolated.
- Be intentional about your plans. What do you want to accomplish together in this new time together?
What other obstacles or tips do you have for these various marriages?
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