Yesterday the commonest word in marriage was love. Today it is divorce because global studies show that about 60% of all marriages break down with victims cutting across age, tribe, profession, academic qualification, length of marriage and religious faith.
Marriage today is therefore a very risky investment which has no respect for any married person. It is also known that globally about 88% of adults who divorce or get separated though loss of spouse remarry at least once and some many times.
The charming former actress, Elizabeth Taylor, of blessed memory, for example married seven times but the record for most marriages among women is held by American grandmother Linda Wolfe who has married 23 times and is looking forward to the next marriage.
Among men, Stotte Wolfe who was a Baptist minister married 29 times. His longest marriage lasted eleven years and his shortest, 19 days!
After a loss of spouse some decide to remain single for life while others decide to marry again.
Why not marry again?
Many people marry based on passion and not logic and sadly hope to live happily for life in their marriage. However, sooner than expected the romantic love fades and partners see the weaknesses in each other – selfishness, intolerance, immorality, inequality, dishonesty, constant criticism and poor communication.
The pains linger on after marriage and some think all marriages are the same and they have seen enough and must have their peace.
Some have the mindset that they are not lucky in marriage; if it happened the first time it will happen again and again. Some think they are too old to marry. To them, after children there is nothing left to enjoy in a second marriage.
In some cases it is the children who are opposed to the remarriage of their parents. Fact is, when children lose a parent through divorce or separation, they form an emotional bond with the ‘surviving’ parent.
Therefore, anyone coming in is seen as an intruder who is coming in to break up the bond. Some children therefore do all they can to stop their parents remarrying.
Some think they must remain single to preserve the memories of their former lovers while some worry about mixed family issues.
Some worry a new spouse will benefit unduly from hard won investment and sometimes at the expense of their biological children.
Why marry again?
The most important purpose of marriage is companionship because it gives positive self-image, security and peace of mind which are essential for human growth and development.
No doubt, the Akans say ‘ewiase yetena no baanu’ or human beings live in pairs. In marriage you have someone to share all areas of your life. This becomes very relevant as you age and lose your spouse. The desire to remarry and fill in the void and get rid of loneliness becomes real.
In Ghana, marriage is a big social symbol. It is common to hear people say that the only thing that brings respect to a woman is marriage.
Men who are not married are called ‘asigyafoo’ or one who fetches fire to cook. In Ghana traditionally, cooking is reserved for women and so ‘asigyafoo’ do not earn much respect no matter what else they accomplish. Some therefore remarry to prove their capability and regain their social symbol.
Some marry for convenience. A man remarries because he wants someone to cook for him, take care of the home and the children.
A woman may marry for financial benefits, support and to have a father figure for her children.
Challenges of marrying again
Studies show second marriages are far more difficult than first marriages and are more likely to fail and even quicker. This is partly because partners carry their emotional pain of the previous marriage into the second marriage. They have trust and commitment issues and often fear opening up completely to each other.
It is also a fact that every marriage is unique with its own traditions. Creating new traditions at a time when partners are older and set in their own way of doing things, especially if you have to deal with issues of children and obligations brought into the new marriage, tend to pose a challenge.
Do remarriages work?
Second marriages are not really different from the first because it is about sharing your life with another for support, companionship and unconditional love.
If you decide not to marry again, you are right. Keep to your decision. If you decide to marry again, go ahead.
If you did not succeed at first try again but make sure you are compatible and that you are not remarrying with ulterior motives.
It is also important you avoid rushing to marry again. Instead cool down and make time to do a serious courtship to know your partner at deep emotional level.
With positive mental attitude, commitment, honesty, hard work, effective communication and forging spirit, your marriage will be successful, especially if you commit it to God, who is the author of marriage and calls you into it to serve Him by what you do for your spouse.
May your tomorrow in a remarriage come with freshness and blessings. May the glory of your latter days in remarriage be greater than the first marriage.