THE BLOG
07/11/2014 12:09 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2014

Remarriage and Renewal

Many parents and children who felt bruised and battered following the break-up of the original family find healing and satisfaction in the new start promised by remarriage. In fact, 70 percent of divorced Americans remarry with optimism and hope that things will be different the second time around. The new marriages that thrive are those where the partners have worked on these 5 Rs together.

Reflect on your own role for what went wrong the first time. Those who don't learn from experience really are bound to repeat it. If either of you is still blaming the ex for everything that went wrong, you aren't ready for a new marriage. It's only when individuals take full responsibility for their part in the break down of a relationship that they can avoid making the same mistakes.

Have Realistic expectations. Sometimes love does indeed make people blind. But if the new relationship is to last, it's crucial to take off the rose colored glasses and to get back in touch with reality. Your new partner isn't perfect. Neither are you. The new relationship isn't going to solve all your problems. It's enough to work together to create a workable, loving but pretty averagely content new family.

Learn how to Resolve conflicts. There's no way to avoid it: Every relationship has conflicts. Learn to embrace them as the place where you and your partner can grow. Work as a team against the problem rather than fight with each other and both of you and your relationship can mature.

Recognize the step-parenting is complicated. If either or both of you have children, there are layers upon layers of complex relationships. The children have a longer and deeper relationship with their parent than the parent has with the partner. However much they may like the new adult in their lives, the kids have loyalties to both their biological parents. The kids' other parent is part of your lives, whether in reality or in the kids' mythology. There are family members of the ex to take into account. Scheduling of who goes where when is the topic of countless conversations. Creating a step family is almost never easy. Cut everyone some slack as you all work on it together.

Relax into the new relationship. New love is intoxicating stuff. It's natural to want to take the relationship to the next level. It's understandable that you may want to get as intimate as you can as quickly as you can. Don't. Take your time -- especially if children are involved. You need to see yourselves and each other clearly, learn to be a team when conflicts arise and accept the complications of the step-parenting relationship before, not after, you tie the knot.

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