In spite of these issues, the couple believed that their similarities were the signal that they were right for each other. Joyce was happy to act in opposition to the wishes of her domineering mother. Andy and Joyce’s marriage lasted 11 years, but most of the final 6 were stress-filled. Joyce had again retreated to her illness of overeating, which caused tension in the marriage. Andy continued his struggle to hold a job for more than a year at a time. His out-of-work periods created great financial strain on the marriage. They were not the only ones to suffer from the marriage failure. They had a child who was constantly caught in the middle of the downward spiral of his parents. Some years after the divorce, Joyce committed suicide.

Andy and Joyce were a sad couple who identified with each other’s circumstances and mindsets. Two halves don’t make a whole, but they thought so. Andy was not ready to care for and support another wife. Joyce was still struggling with her overeating disease and was far from mentally healthy. They ignored all the red flags that were obvious to both of them. No doubt, they each believed no one else would have them, and so this was their one opportunity to remarry. When you find someone who has some similarities to you, it is not enough of a basis for a healthy marriage. Andy and Joyce confused similar backgrounds, conditions, and problems with shared interests, dreams, and goals. They had none of those.

His Children Caused Our Divorce

Belinda married a man when she was in her twenties, and it didn’t work out. He told her she was smarter than he was; she made him feel inferior. Belinda was smart, talented, and beautiful. For some men, that’s a threat.

By her mid-thirties, Belinda married again. This time she picked an older man, Frank, who was a senior executive at the company where she worked. He had also been married before and had three sons—two who were teenagers and the third of college age. Belinda had no children, and she had originally worried how well she might be accepted by Frank’s children. As it turned out, they seemed to love her and she blended in well with his family. All went fine until the couple began to squabble. In these instances, Frank would drag his sons into the fight, and they took sides with him. It got so bad that Belinda demanded that the three boys not be allowed in their home. The friction was aggravating an already deteriorating situation. This angered Frank and brought everything to a head. Eventually Frank and Belinda divorced. She told all her friends that she would never again marry a man with children. In fact, she felt so strongly about this that she would not even consider dating someone who was divorced with kids.

Mark had recently moved to town and joined the church where Belinda attended. Mark had never been married and was a little younger than Belinda. When she met him, she set her sights on him as the next “Mr. Belinda.” Nothing would get in her way. He was the perfect candidate. Never married, no children, and no baggage—she thought. They were married, and Belinda found out differently after the wedding. She had never asked if he had children and only found out when she accidentally opened an envelope from one of his past live-ins asking for child support money. Mark had (intentionally) failed to mention that he had lived with two women and had fathered a child with one. He had been too ashamed to tell her this during their short courtship.

Belinda “learned” from her first marriage that a man who has children is not a good husband. She, therefore, concluded that if she could find a man who has no children, she should seriously consider marrying him. This so-called “learning” came about from not allowing enough time to understand what really went wrong in her first marriage and, instead, blaming the presence of her husband’s children for the breakup.