The reason your next marriage may fail


It’s happens all the time and I usually see it coming before it arrives, like visualizing an accident moments before the cars collide. It now occurs with such frequency the Queen and I prepared a canned response for anyone who asks… “We want to give ya’ll something to worry about!”

January will mark our fourth year together. That’s a long time for anybody – just to date. We’re at the point where most begin questioning our degree of commitment or the level of desperation. And the consistency of the question, “Why aren’t you two married yet?” is now getting under my skin while the dismay on their faces at our explanation is starting to piss me off. Because those stunned looks inadvertently lead me to question if our reasoning is becoming foolish.


My tipping point occurred one evening as the Queen and I strolled through one of the historic districts in suburban Atlanta after dinner. We immediately recognized the woman as she approached. Known as one who makes up for her miniature stature with a ginormous attitude, after the customarily shallow ‘hello’, and ‘good to see you’ I immediately gathered where the conversation was about to go. She turned her 5’1” frame squarely in my direction and for the next ten minutes, with the ruthlessness of a defense attorney, interrogated me as to why I had yet to “put a ring of the Queen’s finger”, “what was I waiting for?!”,what was wrong with me?”, “it’s been four years already!?!?” My Christian upbringing and the Queen holding my hand were the only barriers keeping me from punching Miss Nosey in the pie hole.


Allow me unpack some things; together the Queen and I have four children ages eight to fifteen, two boys, two girls – it should be noted here that my son’s rambunctiousness and her’s transportation needs warrant they both get counted twice. Now do the math  – that’s a certified Brady Bunch  – minus Alice. And let’s not forget our daughters; one who’s already a tween plus mine that is rapidly approaching. I’m not even going to begin describing what that brings to the party. Then there is the nasty business of selling two homes in this train wreck of an economy, not to mention figuring out where we would house all of them. I explain all that to draw attention to a fact, the Queen and I have a lot more to think about than the twenty something couple whose most pressing marital decision is the flower arrangement or what side of the bed each will sleep on.

We look at it like this, we want to be the best parents and have the best relationship and marriage we possibly can, but for that to happen we have no choice but to step outside our own universe and our wants and desires and think about the gravitational pull such a decision would have on the others orbiting in our solar system, and then consider how it all could impact our relationship.

But if numbers are any indication this approach puts the Queen and I in the minority.


I’m baffled at how second marriages fail at higher rates than first. Did these people learn nothing? Did the pain and agony divorce assuredly brings leave such a trifling impression they didn’t bother to think before taking the leap again? Or did they simply refuse to pay close enough attention and instead chose to employ insanity as the predominate marital strategy, hoping that the same approach would offer up different results with someone new? When it comes to re-marriages the old axiom holds true…“Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me”

That’s why I believe the Queen’s and my current situation offers a perfect example for why so many second marriages, especially those with children, ultimately fail.

I make no bones about it. The Queen is the woman I will spend the rest of my days with; her coming into my life is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But we are both smoking crack cocaine to believe this level of awesomeness could ever survive if we blended our families, right now. We know this because we’ve spent enough time together, the six of us, and observed enough signs to understand that our kids aren’t ready for their lives to be turned upside down yet. Doing anything now would be out of pure selfishness on our part and any short term gains reaped could never make up for the long term pains that would surely come, all because we couldn’t wait.


I know of few couples who fully appreciate all the intricacies to a second marriage and the havoc kids can, and do, wreak on those relationships. Few give serious consideration to parenting styles or the role a stepparent will have in the children’s lives. They rarely take the time, while they have it, to seriously assess the obstacles inherent in blended families such as finances, ex’s, discipline, communication, or the fact that blood is thicker than water. Instead they enter a next marriage with all their renewed hopes and dreams but never reinforced with necessary planning and preparation.

As is so often the case after a dreadful divorce and a less than stellar single life riddled with fears of never finding love again, a man and woman meet – then zing. Amid the turmoil of visitation, ex -spouses, and co-parenting their relationship comes to symbolize everything right with the world believing the feeling will last forever. So pushed along by these emotions and aided with their frustrations at going back and forth and expenses that outnumber their quality time they choose to stop delaying the inevitable and get married.  But in their haste, they fail to do the required heavy lifting that might give their marriage a chance at long term success.

And no sooner has the ink dried on their Commonwealth of the Bahamas marriage certificate than any number of events happen. One parent might get upset at the other’s kid and an unrealized, because it was never discussed, discipline line gets crossed. Now resentment and anger enter the relationship and the kids, who probably didn’t want the marriage to begin with, smell blood in the water. Naturally the parents begin to take sides in what can turn into a Civil War of sorts that has the potential to end up no less bloody. And because they never set proper boundaries, created a relationship game-plan, outlined agreements and consensus, or did the remaining work to build a strong foundation, whatever there may have been quickly comes crashing down and they’re left standing amid the rubble of another broken dream.

We have chosen to do things differently.

The Queen and I want to get married desperately, we want to share last names and introduce each other as husband and wife. We want to live together and enjoy all the benefits marriage brings. But we also know the price paid if we push things and let our emotions and impatience win over; so instead we sacrifice today for a better tomorrow and use this time to continue working, learning, growing and hopefully strengthening a foundation that will survive  – no matter the look on everyone else’s face.

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13 responses to The reason your next marriage may fail

  1. Karla Shotts

    Taking your time with children involved is always smart–no matter what others say to you! Good choices! I say it’s important to put those you “bring into this world”, before those you “bring into your life”. However, I always loved this quote and keep it in the back of my mind when considering moving ahead in a relationship–Dr. James Bray, Ph.D., and Mavis Hetherington, Ph.D., stated in the Journal of Family Psychology, June 1993 edition, “Although divorce and remarriage may confront families with stresses and adaptive challenges, they also offer opportunities for personal growth and more harmonious, fulfilling family and personal relationships.” I believe wholeheartedly that your children and hers will grow and thrive when finally combined because you both want it and will fight to make it happen!!

  2. Jennifer

    Great view point:
    “we also know the price paid if we push things and let our emotions and impatience win over; so instead we sacrifice today for a better tomorrow”

    Your words also helped me! We as parents have to think long term for the sake of our children! Thanks!

  3. You obviously have your reasons worked out. You have to do what’s best for you and you’ve outlined your thoughts very well.

    I think as it relates to selling two homes and housing 4 kids, that’s not really such a huge deal-breaker. It may be one of the reasons you feel is important to you in your particular state, but on the wider scheme of things, people share their homes with more than 4 kids all the time. We have 3 ourselves. The girls shared a room until we moved house.

    My cousin got married last week. He had a home, and so did his wife. He sold his just before the wedding, and she’s in the process of selling hers. They’re blissfully looking for a home together now.

    Don’t limit what you think you, your partner or your kids can do. Being exposed to other people and their needs can nurture and enrich kids’ lives. Don’t expect them NOT to get along without giving them the chance to do so. Kids are resilient. Success of any marriage – blended or not depends not on conditions. It depends on commitment, love, loyalty and trust.

    However, like you said, you’ve got to do what’s best for you. No one else knows your life.

  4. Emily

    Enjoy life, work together and answer to no one other than each other. If it works for you, that’s all that matters.

  5. T

    Umm… yep. Same here. Same situation (though there are 200 miles separating us as well). Our kids’ lives and relationships with our exes are too important to uproot. And yes, like you, we start to wonder if other people know something that we don’t because all in all, we feel we’re making the best decision for us. There are times, however, that we both wonder if combining families, households and incomes would make lives a little bit easier. Our decision remains the same, though. Our kids come first. They are happy and secure and our relationship is just getting stronger all the time.

  6. Emily’s comment says it all. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. For my money you’re doing it right, except you should have punched out Miss Nosey.

  7. Lori

    I have been involved with a man for nine months and due to leases and such we are starting to talk about the potential of living together (a year from now) and what that means in terms of children, marriage, etc. I was almost feel like if he didn’t want to move in and I didn’t want him to move in then it was a sign that the relationship wasn’t right. But as you’ve detailed, the reasons for my hesistency are no longer just me. I have three small children and he has one young teenager. While we may find it more difficult, somewhat sad to not live together yet – I would love nothing more than to share day to day life with him – we can deal with that feeling as adults. My children are forming the basis of their lives right now, and they have already been through significant stress. They deserve to have their lives as stable and calm as possible – I believe it gives them the best chance to be fully functional adults without relationship dysfunction.

  8. I think it’s very easy for other to say what is and isn’t an obstacle. Speaking for myself, 2 houses (in a dreadful market), 4 kids (in those age ranges), school issues, friend issues, adolescent issues, the unknown… it’s huge.

    I admire those who keep their kids’ needs primary.

    But beyond that, the pressure to marry / remarry in our society is crazy. I don’t get it. I find it undermines the very elements of life we most want, when we actually have them.

    No longer 20-something comes with both the burdens and wisdom of our experience.

  9. You`ve pointed out an aspect of divorce and remarriage that is often overlooked but so crucial to consider, the kids and all the ways it gets messier the second time

  10. So many couples have their heads in the clouds, and it’s not just foolish teenagers, 20- and 30-somethings. Grown folks who should know and do better are also rushing into these commitments for whatever reason — including nosey people, who need to mind their own business and take care of their own house.

    Any committed partnership should be/must be grounded in reality. Clearly, you and The Queen have thought things through. It’s not so cut and dry: Oh, let’s get married! Yay! Um, not so fast.

    If you haven’t learned valuable lessons from your failed relationships, it’s not rocket science: You’re doomed to stir and repeat the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time around.

    Don’t you and The Queen feel influenced in any way. And the nosey people…put them in their place.

  11. Maria

    Hi, Please someone help me on my situation. I am married to my husband for 5 yrs now. he had 4 children grown up already the youngest is 23 yrs old. anyway my problem is that my 2 stepson is still depending on us or to his dad. we still paying 100% to all their bills and
    college. I dont like the way it is, because i feel like they dont know how to stand by thier own feet or dont have plan to face the reality that they already grown up and they need to pay their bills. I talk to my husband about it but seems like he is scared or dont wanna confront of his kids to tell them. and they still lived with us!
    Please give me an advice I will really appreciate it.

  12. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Maria, that is a significant problem. There is no easy answer. Your husband should look at the bigger picture here and realize not only what he is doing to the long term future of his children but what it is doing to your relationship. I would encourage you to be very open and honest with him about what his behaviors are causing you to feel and I would also encourage you to make this a continual conversation and not just one with the hope that he will finally get it. This will take time and effort. Sometimes tough decisions need tough conversations.

    I wish you the best.

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