We walk down the aisle and believe that this is it. He is the one we are going to spend the rest of our life with. We are naive, young, consumed by the love that we feel, we can’t imagine getting hurt by this man.
Fast forward a few years and you go through the most painful thing you ever felt, it’s not just a divorce. It feels more like a death. The death of the dreams, the friendships, the life you built and a future you imagined you would have.
Of course we are hesitant to walk down that aisle again. We're scared that it's just another death sentence of the new dreams and new life we imagine. So before you take that walk, decide if this one has the potential to be long lasting.
1. Did you learn anything from your last marriage that you have applied to this one?
Brick by brick we put a wall up in a marriage and suddenly wonder how you became so disconnected. Have you figured out what really caused that? At some point you stopped being on each others side and began to play against each other. Make sure you don’t apply the same mistakes in your new marriage.
2. Can you be vulnerable with each other?
Just ask Brene’ Brown, vulnerability is bravery in a relationship. When you put yourself out there and expose yourself make sure it is with a guy that has your back. On the flip side, is he comfortable being vulnerable with you? If he shuts down during the tough conversations now don’t assume that will change when you're married.
3. Are you respectful with each other?
Blame, shame and ego do not belong in a marriage. If these characteristics are rising up in your relationship they're sure to breed conflict. A respectful couple takes each others feelings and thoughts into consideration. Respect builds on itself in a marriage and even when the newness winds down. Respect is how we honor each other on a daily basis and make each other feel valued and special.
4. Are there any red flags in this relationship?
Red flags are the deal breakers that we sometimes sweep under the rug. But it is important to look at any potential red flags and address those issues before you tie the knot. These red flags may become hot molten lava. For example: I had a client who dated a guy that seemed to check all the boxes on her “must have list”. Then she started to notice that he kinda drank a lot. When she brought it up to him he began to hide it from her. Drinking was not aligned with her values and lifestyle, and neither was lying. She broke up with him before the relationship progressed any further. This was a serious red flag and she did exactly what she needed to do to be in integrity with her values.
Red flags could be anything that turn you off. It can be as serious as an addiction or as small as his habit of playing video games. It is up to you to decide if you can live with those habits knowing that you cannot change them.
5. Does he meet your “must have” list?
You must have some criteria for this marriage. Learning from your last marriage and the men you dated to get here, I hope you have a list. If not take out a piece of paper. Think about the top 3 qualities of the top 5 men in your life. You should come up with 10 to 15. You can include your dad, brother or friends. These are the qualities that you seek out in men, does your guy have those? It could be integrity, sense of humor, caring, family man, hard worker, tidy. You get the point, list them out and see if your guy has most of those qualities that are most important to you. Chances are he does, and that is what attracted you in the first place. (Grab my Free Guide on identifying your Must Haves.)
6. Does he make you feel loved?
Does he show you and give love freely or do you still feel like you are competing for it? If he makes you feel loved and takes care of you when you are sick, or buys you tampons and chocolates when you are on your period, he is a keeper!
7. Does he do his part?
Does he take part in household chores or do you have to clean up after him like as though you had another child? If he does not do his part you may get resentful of always being the one to take care of all the chores. Resentments build up like those little bricks I was talking about earlier. Bricks build walls and create problems in a marriage.
8. Are you sure about him?
Is there a niggling feeling in the pit of your stomach? Does he treat your kids as if they were his own? If you have any reservations at all, then you need to get to the bottom of that before you say “I do.” You don’t want to learn that the little nagging voice in your head was right all along.
Make sure he is the guy that you are sure about and makes you want to be vulnerable. He meets your must haves, has no red flags, and he makes you feel loved. All those things must be achieved to have a successful second marriage. Reflect on your first marriage and how that one measured up to this list? Pay attention to where you went wrong and what parts your Ex was responsible for.
As long as you feel he meets this list and you do for him, don't walk. Run down that aisle together.