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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Great Fear of Remarriage: Re-Failure

I have a friend who went through a divorce around the same time as me.  We encouraged each other during the single mom years and shared a kindred spirit through the ups and downs that motherhood brings.  Almost a year ago, she reconnected with a high school friend whom had never married.  They began dating and my heart was thrilled when they got married last Thanksgiving.  I could feel her joy and security and I celebrated with her at this new chapter in life.

Less than three months later, she arrived home to find her new husband had packed and moved out, leaving only a note.

Another friend had been divorced had lived alone with her daughter for many years.  She developed a friendship with a widower who had a daughter of similar age and they began to spend a lot of time together.  Their friendship naturally developed into love and the wedding was a celebration for both of the families.

Two years later, the daughters were at extreme odds with one another and the strife drove a wedge between the parents.  They parted ways and regretted their attempt at creating a new family.

Both of these women are strong, capable, wise and loving.  They make choices based on reality and on what they feel the Lord wants.  They considered their children, they loved the men.  They were hopeful and joyful about the opportunity to have a new family.  Their dreams were dashed and their hearts were broken.  Again.

I do believe this is the greatest fear of remarriage - failure, again. The "Again" part makes it so much intense because it would underscore the fact that there has already been a perceived failure.  Taking another risk, is just too much for some to try.

The failed marriages are more common and they seem to get most of the attention.  But there are other women I know who have love, joy and deep satisfaction in marriages that were not their first.  The difference?  It's not that they are more mature or that they married people so much better.  The difference is within her own self: she is wiser, she was discerning when selecting a mate, she considered the cost because she knows the price.

I know a woman who married for the third time and they were best friends and companions for more than thirty years.  Her third husband adopted this woman's son and worked hard to provide for them.  He cared for her at home as she battled cancer and was by her side as she passed from this life to the next.  This was worth the risk.

I have a friend who married for the second time in her twenties, and this husband was loving and kind throughout their years together.  She found acceptance, healing and faithfulness and was cherished until he passed away in their older age.  This was worth the risk.

I would venture to say that every woman who marries for a second (or third, etc,) time enters with some fear and full knowledge of what can go wrong.  We have experienced firsthand how the hope of forever can become a shackle of bondage.  We know that the one who promised to guard our heart can break it.  We have participated in the wreckage that wounds to the core.  We are not innocent.

I have now been remarried for almost two years.  I remember our first fight and the fear rising that perhaps we couldn't make it.  Already there have been times we have both been moving so fast in too many directions and the effort to reconnect just felt like too much to ask.  We have seen our children struggle to make sense of the blending of two families.  I remember the dread of my first fender bender and the horror of my second one!  I hated knowing that my shortcomings affected others.  I struggled to make the house my home.

So when the thought of another failed marriage creeps to the front of my mind, I refuse to believe its lie.  I know that I will chose my husband and he will choose me.  We have the Lord on our side and a healthy support system in place.  I will say "I'm sorry," and I will forgive.  I will rest knowing that God is for me (Psalm 56:9).  He really is!  God used the human tragedy of divorce in my own life to draw me closer to Himself and to reveal His faithful character.  His sovereign will is worked out even in the daily imperfect decisions that we make.

I have another friend.  Her first marriage ended in betrayal and divorce.  She has doggedly determined that she will never remarry.  However, she dates one man regularly and they have combined households.  In attempting to protect her heart, she has become unguarded in her character (if you are reading from a perspective of Bible-based morals).  I understand how this happens, she believes she is protecting herself and her children but she has placed herself in a position without protection legally or spiritually.  The very thing that she thinks would make her vulnerable (marriage) would be what provides what her heart most desperately desires.

What do you observe regarding remarriage?  Have you seen successful second or third marriages?  Does fear paralyze you from risking again?  What might encourage you to try?

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