Following divorce, many people start new relationships and remarry.  Getting remarried is a new beginning. It’s often a time of changes too.

By: Family - Relationships - 11/15/2018

Following divorce, many people start new relationships and remarry.  Getting married again is a new beginning.  It's often a time of changes too.  You probably know the basics:  change your will, change your life insurance, and change your financial plan.  To make sure your new marriage stays on solid ground, take time to consider what lessons you can learn from your previous marriage.  How can you make sure you don't fall into old patterns that contributed to the end of your earlier relationship?  While you celebrate your marriage and plan your life together, there are a few things you can do to make sure your new relationship stays happy and healthy.

  • Maintain balance between being-together and separate.  It's important to keep your identity as an individual, separate from your spouse's.  If you struggled with this in the past, make an effort to "do your own thing" every so often to balance time spent with your spouse.  And remember that even when your Operator or Enabler returns home from deployment, it's normal for him or her to need some time outside your relationship.  However, since SOF couples spend a lot of time apart, it's possible to develop too much individuality and not enough "togetherness" in your relationship over time.  Even when apart, it's important to maintain an identity as a couple, as a team. This can help you weather challenges with confidence.  Plan date nights together, but also plan time to do activities alone or with your own friends.

  • Stay flexible.  Marriage often means juggling new responsibilities, living in a new place, and sometimes becoming a stepparent.  Consider how effective you were at being flexible in your previous marriage versus the times you might have been too stubborn.  When you bend with whatever life throws at you, you're less likely to break or falter.  Maintain an open mind when challenges come along with your new spouse.

  • Assess how your insecurities impact your relationship.  Everyone struggles with insecurities from time to time, especially after a divorce.  Think about the role your own insecurities played in your previous relationship and how you can prevent old patterns from repeating.  Were you troubled by a lack of trust in your partner?  Did anger seep into your conversations too much?  Awareness of such traits is the first step in preventing them from infiltrating your new marriage.

  • Keep a sense of humor.  Keep perspective by laughing at yourself and your situations.  Use these moments to come closer together.  Was humor a regular part of your past relationships?  If not, think about how you can incorporate more laughter, jokes, and gentle teasing into your regular interactions with your new spouse.  Use these moments to encourage connection and partnership with your spouse.

  • Focus on each other.  Get in tune with your new spouse's signals and how he or she likes to build intimacy in your relationship.  Share intimacy that includes a healthy sex life and other physical displays of affection such as sharing hugs, holding hands, and curling up together on the couch.  Engage in deep conversations, and spend time together doing activities you both enjoy.  Such actions will help maintain your connection.

  • For some, getting married means embracing being a stepparent.  However, a stepparent shouldn't take the place of a biological parent.  Instead, foster your own relationship with your stepchild and follow the biological parent's lead.

  • Consider speaking with a SOF Chaplain, even if you aren't particularly religious.  SOF Chaplains have a great deal of experience with the unique marriage needs of the SOF community and can offer a neutral perspective on your relationship struggles.  They can provide advice on how to strengthen your marriage, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to start your remarriage off right.

  • Openly discuss how you will manage deployment separations.  Clear expectations from the beginning on how you will deal with the frequent deployments that come along with being a SOF couple are important.  Discuss how you'll manage responsibilities at home, how you'll keep in contact when a deployment occurs, and how you will deal with reintegration when your SOF Operator or Enabler returns.  Start the conversation now, be open to each other's ideas, and problem-solve when needed.

  • Remember how it felt to fall in love.  Talk with your spouse about when you met and how you decided to get married.  Keeping these memories alive helps couples get through tougher times.

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