Would relationships be easier with a "clear-history" button?
Yes, and no. I am the soon-to-be wife to a man who has previously done "the marriage thing" with another woman. Yes... as much as I hate to say the word... he has an ex-wife. If you are one of the many women who realize their first marriage will be to a divorced man, I feel sorry for you. No, really, I do... as we all will have many more challenges than if we were marrying a man without previous marital attachments. Inevitably there are times when every relationship will deal with ghosts from the past, but this is a special situation -- only intended for the right woman. That's you.
Remember that everyone has a past -- even you. Oftentimes we forget that although we haven't been married before, we do have a relationship past. Think about this: although you may have not been legally married to a person from the past, that you (at one time) could have seen yourself as Mrs. X. Certainly now, if you are anything like me, you selectively choose to ignore this fact -- especially when faced with a heated issue in your current relationship. I'm not a psychologist, but with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence, a multitude of counseling and mediation experience in a variety of settings, and a keen sense of self-awareness, I am confident in my qualification to assess this type of behavior as a defense mechanism that we have the right to use. I'm as guilty as you. So here is how I let my past almost-screw up(s) help me: They reminded me of my growth. And that's a powerful thing. And better yet, there's the fact that you are marrying a man that has experienced that same growth, and maybe more. View this as a strength to your relationship, and more importantly, as a testimony your upcoming marriage. Think about it: History usually repeats itself... if you don't learn from your mistakes.
Why is learning from your mistakes so important in marriage? Numerous studies cite research results indicating even higher divorce rates for second marriages. I speculate that the odds are against the success of second marriages when one or both parties fail to realize their own past screw-ups! I bet we would see a decline in second marriage divorces if we measured how many women have first marriages to previously divorced men (and vice-versa), as well as second time around couples who actively self-reflect on what makes their present dreams supersede their past failures.
Remember that you are the right woman for your soon-to-be husband. If you weren't, he would probably not be divorced... (Unless he is a cheating or deceptive bastard with other issues that I pray you wouldn't tolerate). People get married for any reason you can think of, but the most common thing I hear, is that at its deepest roots, a divorce is usually caused by the youthful misunderstanding of any/all of those reasons. Simply put: you are not the cause of your fiancé's previous divorce (if you are, stop reading), he would not be happier in his previous life, and he realizes he screwed up before. Lucky you... you get to be THE ONE. Hopefully your hubby- to- be makes you aware of these facts whenever you may appear in doubt, but when in doubt remember this: You were probably meant to be together, from the beginning.
Photo of the author and her fiance by SilverChair Photo