Making Your Marriage Last:

When we become encore wives, we marry "for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part." Based on the annual divorce rate, it might be more realistic to substitute "till your past marriage do us part." The rates of divorce and remarriage dictate that hundreds of thousands of women will become encore wives by marrying divorced or widowed men.

As a second wife, I am one of you. We second wives live not only with our spouse but also with our spouse's marital history. These prior marital histories are far-reaching and potentially can have negative effects on our marriages. As second wives, we have to deal with the fact that "we married more than just the man" and that our husbands have former wives, children, friends, and in-laws, which we must somehow successfully integrate into our lives in a healthy way. However, sometimes when the integration process is under way, we experience difficulties that can get out of hand and escape into crisis.

As second wives, we are subject to the undetectable, sometimes faint traces of the remains of the first marriages. The intricate webs woven by years of marital history may be both haunting and daunting. Moreover, these problems tend to crop up just when the fledgling relationship is the most vulnerable, namely the first few years. These problems often occur well into the marriage, no marriage is exempt! According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average first marriage lasts 6.3 years and the average second marriage lasts 4.5 years. We can beat these odds by learning secrets to overcome some of the most difficult problems we may face as second wives. We can become lovers for life.

Let's look to the LOVERS Motto to find out how we can ensure lifelong marriages for all of us:

Loyalty, Openness, Value of Trust, Empathy, Respect, and Stability of Commitment.

LOVERS are the essentials - the foundation - of a marriage. When you and your mate work toward being LOVERS every day of your lives, you ensure the permanence of your relationship and marriage.

As an assessment of your marriage, please use the next few minutes to take this self-diagnostic quiz. This easy quiz will assist you in evaluating the LOVERS health of your marriage.


Second Wives Club

is co-author of the relationship book "THE SECOND WIVES CLUB: Secrets for Becoming Lovers for Life," based upon her experience with "second-time-around" couples (straight or gay). The book was endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" and Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of "Love Is Letting Go of Fear" and "Forgiveness."