Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain write the Marriage Matters column for Members of St. Joseph Parish in Collingdale, they have been married 50 years and have seven children and 21 grandchildren.

She says:

Laura says: Rick and I have been married for three years. It is the second marriage for both of us. Rick’s first wife was killed in a tragic automobile accident when they were married five years and had two children. I married at a very young age (17), because I was pregnant, which was a mistake. The marriage lasted only six months and my “husband” took off after the baby was born and has not been seen or heard from since. I secured an annulment of this marriage and met Rick when I was 19. We dated for two years before marrying and the last three years have been the happiest time of my life.

However, Rick and I both have shared feelings of “something missing” in our married life. We have prayed together over this anxiety in our life and very much wish to remedy this dissatisfaction.

He says:

Rick says: Laura is right when she mentions the “something missing” in our married life. I truly loved my first wife and our children. I also now love Laura and her child which she brought to our marriage. Laura and I are very open in our communication, trusting of each other and work hard to bring together our children as a family. At first I thought that time and prayer would alleviate the upsetment in our relationship, but now I am beginning to think that something else may be needed.

What do they do?

Second-marriage couples bring a lot of history and feelings to their new marriage relationship. Oftentimes, a second marriage may be occasioned by the death of a previous spouse, or by a divorce and annulment, as is the case with Laura and Rick.

Laura and Rick need to receive a lot of encouragement and support from family and friends. They must use the knowledge they’ve learned in their prior relationship, Rick’s good and Laura’s poor experience, but avoid living in the past. Unlike newlyweds in first marriages, second-marriage couples may have very little time alone together since they often have blended families with children.

They will need to learn to adjust on many different levels: their own relationship and their children’s relationship with a new parent and with each other.

There are four commonly accepted stages or phases of love:

Infatuation: The “I want to be with you all the time” desire;
Exploration: Intimate sharing of dreams and goals, not necessarily sexually;
True love: Love as a choice, more than a feeling, including the good, the bad, and the unlikable;
Deep love: Totally committed to each other … “the two have become one” marvel.

Laura and Rick, in their new marriage, may find themselves unknowingly psychologically revisiting any of these four stages, or possibly more than one at a time. They may also be experiencing any one stage for the very first time. In Laura’s case, she may never have had a truly romantic partner before.

Perhaps a marriage support experience such as Marriage Encounter would help Laura and Rick to further identify and share with each other the “something missing” in their lives.

God chose Laura and Rick to live together as a family. Through their love, faith in God, struggling together and commitment to expressing gratitude for being given a second chance to explore intimacy with someone special, God will make of them something new for his glory.