Remarrying: Lehlohonolo Mazindo
As much as no one gets into the car with an intention to die in a road accident, no one gets married with an intention to become a widow or divorcee. Yet life happens, and just as people die in accidents even if they didn’t plan to, we find ourselves alone again even if we had nothing but forever in our plans. But because no one deserves to be alone, most people prefer to remarry after divorce or death of a spouse. Can love be better the second time around? Here are 6 tips for people who are planning to remarry.
1. Don’t Use Marriage as a Painkiller.
Because of the depth and intensity of pain as a result of divorce or death of a spouse, it is not uncommon to remarry as a means to numb the pain. This is where people use their spouses as distractions from the pain they feel inside. As a result, they end up taking that pain out on the people who are only trying to love them, thus creating another divorce or breakup. Feel the pain, deal with it, and heal from it before you pass it on to the next person in the form of ‘love.’
2. Heal Before You Commit.
If you don’t heal from your ex, you will bleed on your next, and in that way, you will be turning your next into another ex. Marriages after divorce or death of a spouse fail because people fall in love not with their hearts, but with their wounds. This causes them to spend the rest of their lives unconsciously protecting their wounds from their spouses instead of opening their hearts to loving them.
We all know that hurt people hurt people, we just need to put this knowledge to good use by protecting our spouses from our own rage as a result of the hurt we sustained from our previous marriages. The wound you sustained from your ex, who is the real enemy, can cause you to see your new lover, who is on your side, as your enemy.
3. Learn from Your Mistakes.
People who only blame their former spouses for their breakup tend to make the same mistakes in their next marriages that would lead to another divorce. Instead of pointing fingers, accept responsibility and own up to the part you played in creating your divorce. Instead of tearing down your former spouse for their mistakes, learn from your own mistakes and do better in your next marriage.
Shifting the blame will only cause you to repeat the same mistakes that led to the breakup. If you blindly insist that you were all innocent in the previous marriage, you may end up being the guilty one in your second breakup.
4. Go Easy on Yourself.
The other extreme to pointing fingers is shifting the blame entirely on yourself. Just because you did something wrong doesn’t mean you did nothing right. Give yourself some credit, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve done the best you could even though you didn’t know better. But now that you know better, you can do better without going overboard.
Being too hard on yourself will make you overcompensate in your next marriage. You may find yourself giving more than you can afford to, and as a result, you might end up being resentful of your new spouse for their inability to reciprocate your exaggerated gestures of ‘love.’
Even the people whose former spouses died may find themselves overcompensating and being overprotective of their new spouses with the hope that they would prevent them from dying like their former spouses did. This often makes them come across as burdensome to their new spouses, and it might make their spouses feel like they would never be able to love them enough to make them happy.
5. Resist the Urge to Compare.
First love cuts the deepest in the soul. It leaves a trail in the heart that hardly ever goes away. Because of this, we tend to unconsciously judge our next love using the first love as a yardstick. For better or worse, we tend to look for our exes in almost every new love we find.
Initially, we look for things our new lovers do better than our exes. But as time goes by, we start looking for things our exes did better than our new lovers. Then we start maximising the good our exes did and minimising the better things that our new lovers are doing. This puts unnecessary pressure on our new lovers to measure up to people in our past who didn’t do well enough to remain in our lives.
Be conscious enough to notice when you are comparing your new spouse to your ex, and be firm enough to call yourself to order whenever you filter your perception of your new lover through your memory of your ex.
6. Review Your Silent Oath.
When our hearts are broken by the people we love, we tend to make a silent oath concerning how we will handle our next relationships. A silent oath refers to those vows we unconsciously make to ourselves never to allow ourselves to be hurt like we were in our previous relationships.
The attitude behind the silent oath is something like, “I will never be hurt this way by a lover ever again. I will hurt them before they hurt me.” Or, “I will disrespect them before they disrespect me like my ex did.” This attitude turns you into the perpetrator of the very things you were victim of in your past marriage. That’s how we become toxic in our desperate attempts to avoid going through a toxic marriage again. Review your silent oath and negotiate yourself into being brave enough to love like you’ve never been hurt.
Why Remarrying is Shunned in the Society.
For people whose spouses died, remarrying seems to the society like one couldn’t wait for their spouse to die so that they can replace them. No matter how long you wait before you remarry, they are always going to say you moved on too quickly - ‘maybe you didn’t love your late spouse in the first place’. People generally struggle to come to terms with the fact that one has moved on with their life after losing their loved one, as if their marriage vows transcend the grave.
Remember that the vow said, “…till death do us part.” Just because you found new love doesn’t mean the person who died meant nothing to you. You cannot continue to be a spouse to the person who will never be able to love you like they did when they were still alive.
Divorce still has a huge stigma in the society. People are more forgiving of infidelity and abuse than they are of divorce. Religion can also exacerbate the stigma if practiced blindly or ignorantly. People are being praised as ‘saints’ for dying prematurely because of toxic marriages, and they are being frowned upon as ‘sinners’ when they leave toxic marriages so that they can live longer and be more fulfilled.
As a result, the society fails to move on when the divorcees remarry . They keep on identifying them as divorcees even years after they remarried. In the society’s eye, you cannot marry someone else while your former spouse is still alive, but if the spouse dies, remarrying could mean you did not love them enough to not replace them. Just make sure you never miss the chance to love again just because you fear being rejected or disapproved.