The longing to connect with another person may drive many newly divorced men and women to remarry with little thought to what kind of match this would be. This kind of impulsiveness can have devastating consequences.

Some of the toughest matchups in remarriage:

  • A never-married man or woman, or formerly married without children, marries a divorced or widowed person with children. Inheriting a family is difficult for someone who has had a self-oriented lifestyle.

  • A single-again person marrying someone far younger or far older (with a 15-year age gap). As the couple ages the differences naturally increase.

  • A committed Christian marries someone who does not share that commitment. You cannot compartmentalize your faith.

  • A divorced person marrying a widowed person. Both have suffered acute loss, but one has plenty of good memories while the other is dealing with unpleasant memories.

  • One person wants one or more children to be created in the new union while the other wants none. The issue needs to be resolved in the dating stage.

Some rules on remarriage:

  • Strive for spiritual compatibility. One partner should not be way ahead of the other spiritually. Can you read, study, and pray together comfortably? What spiritual priorities will you form together as a couple?

  • Don't push someone who is not as ready for remarriage as you are. A newly-single person may meet someone four years out of the experience who is ready to find a new mate, settle down, and remarry. There is a lot of healing to do before the first is ready for remarriage.

  • Take time to houseclean your life prior to thoughts of remarriage. Deal with issues from your childhood or previous marriage and remember that grief and loss are life experiences that take time to be resolved.

  • Take the time to get to know the other family system. Allow the person you are dating to get to know yours. Remember: you marry the whole family.

  • Share your dreams. You never sacrifice your personal dreams when you enter a remarriage. You bring them into that new relationship, fuse them with the other person's dreams, and work hard to see them all grow.

  • Children in a second marriage need plenty of time getting used to the idea before the marriage takes place. It takes time and energy to build relational bridges with another person's children. It doesn't happen overnight.

  • Children will face jealousy, resentment, and sibling rivalry in a remarriage. Living with new step brothers and sisters is difficult. Understand children's feelings and take the time to work through them.

  • You know about another person only what he/she wants you to know, and what he/she will tell you. Once you fall in love with someone, logic, reasoning, and clear thinking will take a backseat. Consider doing these things:

    • Make sure both of you are tested for HIV.

    • If there are any question marks regarding finances in the life of your about-to-be spouse, take the time to run a credit check. The best thing couples can do is to spend time prior to marriage with a financial consultant. If one or both parties are bringing financial obligations into a new marriage, talk about how you will meet these obligations as a couple.

    • If there are any time periods in a person's life that are blank, and he or she can give no explanations, this may be considered a red flag.

    • Premarital counseling is a must before second marriages.

From Single Again: The Uncertain Journey by Jim Smoke, (c) 1999. Used by permission of Vine Books, an imprint of Servant Publications, P.O. Box 8617, Ann Arbor, MI, 48107, 1-800-458-8505.

Jim Smoke is a recognized pioneer in the divorce recovery field and single adult ministry for more than 25 years. He is the author of 14 books, including Growing Through Divorce which has sold more than 500,000 copies. Jim serves as pastor of Adult Ministries at Grace Church in Cypress, Calif.