A while ago, and I don’t remember quite how long ago, I learned something that blew my mind. I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind because I just could not make sense of it. What I learned is: Couples who divorce, and then marry each other again, are around 75% likely to be successful. In other words, they are more likely to succeed than fail.
Now, take second marriages that are not with the same person. Those are 60% likely to fail. In other words, they are more likely to fail than succeed.
If anyone can find me the post on my blog where I first talked about this, please let me know.
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now, and I told myself I wouldn’t give this topic its own individual post until I could make sense of it. Well, I finally can.
Since these kinds of marriages don’t have a name, I’m going to give them a name right now. Some call them Round 2 Marriages. I’ll call them Phoenix Marriages. Why ‘phoenix,’ you ask? Because in mythology, the phoenix is reborn from its own ashes. Regarding marriages that end in divorce, most of the time, the divorce can accurately be described as having ‘burned to ashes,’ because divorces are never pleasant. Therefore, marriages that end in divorce, but then come back, can pretty accurately be described as being reborn from the ashes. Therefore, I say Phoenix Marriage.
How often do Phoenix Marriages happen? According to my research, about 6% of 2nd marriages fit this description. That’s pretty low. So, why do statistics say Phoenix Marriages are most likely to succeed, from my point-of-view?
It seems the key ingredient is the desire to make it work. The same way literally all successful marriages are successful. Phoenix Couples, so-to-speak, clearly wanted the marriage to work but just didn’t know how to … yet. Some things needed to change, some things needed to be different, some things needed to be realized and understood. The sad truth is, not all couples can make the changes they need to make while they’re still together. Phoenix Couples needed time apart.
But it goes deeper than that. These aren’t couples that just spent time apart, these are couples that divorced. As in, they didn’t think it would ever work out, at the time. If a couple needs space, they’ll just give each other space. But no, Phoenix Couples flat-out divorced each other before getting back together. So, why would that be?
(Brace yourselves, this is going to sound sappy.)
Fact is, sometimes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. These couples must realize they truly were in love, and not even divorce could keep them apart. Also, some couples realize they will never find anyone better.
There’s another explanation, too, and it actually relates to why nearly all of the other 2nd marriages fail. The reason most 2nd marriages fail, when people find new partners to marry, is because they didn’t learn anything. I could be wrong here, but it seems to me that Phoenix Marriages are successful most of the time because the couple realized what they needed to improve upon, where as all other 2nd marriages just stem from, “I’m just gonna keep being my old self and maybe it’ll work out with someone else this time.”
Nope. The sad truth is, no matter who you are, if your first marriage failed, both people carry some of the blame, at minimum. You may think you are blameless, but you’re not. In fact, if you think you are 100% blameless, THAT is your problem.
It takes 2 to succeed, and it takes 2 to fail. Either way, it takes 2.
The reason it blew my mind to learn that Phoenix Marriages are successful most of the time, is because I thought nobody ever really changes, and therefore I was convinced these couples were more likely to fail, instead. But then after a long time, I realized how stupid I was in thinking that. Phoenix Marriages work out most of the time BECAUSE the couple chose to recognize their flaws and improve themselves. Though time itself can be a factor. Wisdom and maturity gained from life experience between ’rounds’ 1 and 2 could be a factor…