When happily ever after ends in divorce, it can result in a deeper knowledge of what is most important in a successful marriage. “Divorced people who say, ‘This is what I’ve done wrong, and this is what I will change,’ have something powerful to teach others,” says psychologist and researcher Terri Orbuch in her book “Finding Love Again.” Tapping into the first-hand wisdom of divorced people who want to give marriage another try, she has identified tips for doing it better the next time.
Five tips for a happy second marriage:
1. Boost your spouse’s mood.
In psycho-speak, it’s called “affective affirmation.” Translation: Hold hands, say “I love you” and give and show emotional support for your spouse. Do and say things that will make your spouse feel loved and appreciated.
2. Talk more about money.
Differences about money, especially when there is not enough of it, can tear apart a couple. It’s vitally important to have heart-to-heart talks about spending and saving styles, as well as your financial goals and expectations. This avoids those nasty surprises. Most important, keep having these discussions — not just at tax time or when the credit card bill arrives.
3. Get over the past.
What’s done is done, and when you hold onto those long-ago disappointments and hurts, it makes it harder to engage in a healthy way with your spouse. If you’re having a hard time letting go, keep a journal, exercise or talk to a friend.
4. Blame the relationship, not each other.
Divorced people need to accept the role each played in their marital problems. Don’t point fingers. Focus on “we,” instead of “you.”
5. Reveal more about yourself.
Be a better communicator and listener. Practice active listening, where you repeat back what your spouse says to make sure you really understand what he or she is telling you.