Frank Relationships Radio Show: Successful Second Marriages

Monday, Aug. 5th 2013 8:29 AM

 

Are you divorced and contemplating a second marriage? Dragging your feet? Fearful of relationship déjà vu? Well, listen up because we have an uplifting and supportive perspective on second marriages …. on this edition of Frank Relationships.


FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: SUCCESSFUL SECOND MARRIAGES
Guests: Patricia Bubash
Date: August 11, 2013,

Frank: Are you divorced and contemplating a second marriage? Dragging your feet? Fearful of déjà vu? Well, listen up, because we have an uplifting and supportive perspective on second marriages on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.

Once again, I’m joined by my wonderful co-host, Dr. Gayl. She came in here this morning with a bag full of rotten tomatoes. Those can’t be for me doc, right?

Dr. Gayl: Maybe.

Frank: That’s probably the only gift I’ll ever get from you. Good morning, co-host.

Dr. Gayl: Good morning.

Frank: Make sure you check out the Frank Love Facebook page to find out who will be airing. We post the guests that will be on the show the forthcoming Thursday every Monday. The easiest way to find it is to go directly to franklove.com and link to it from there.

Leave your questions and comments for me and my guests and we will answer them on the air. You can also tweet us @mrfranklove or you can, of course call the studio between 8:30 A.M. and 9:30 A.M. every Thursday morning. We record at that time every week.

Divorce, divorce, divorce–

Dr. Gayl: Divorce.

Frank: It’s all over today’s show. Me, Dr. Gayl and today’s guest have all traveled that road and I don’t think any of us had fun going through the process.

Were those relationships failures? If they were, how do we deal with the anxiety associated with the first marriage the second time around. And is there anyone to learn from to make sure that we don’t have the same problems again? Enter our guest. She’s been married not once, not twice, but thrice and that means three times, Dr. Gayl.

Dr. Gayl: That’s what that means?

Frank: Uh-huh. And she’s heavily invested in seeing her current relationship work, whatever that means. So, she decided to do some research. She went out and found nine couples that have a significant marital history and interviewed them to find out their secrets and their stories and those interviews have culminate into the book, Successful Second Marriages.

If you want to know what the six “c’s” are, if people that have been marriage 50 years or more are marital experts and why it’s important or couples to have a joint vision when they marry, then join me in welcoming licensed, professional, counselor and author, Patricia Bubash. How are you?

Patricia: I’m just fine, Frank.

Dr. Gayl: Good morning.

Patricia: And good morning, Dr. Gayl.

Dr. Gayl: I’m getting my pen and pad out right now.

Patricia: Alright, the dynamic duo there.

Frank: Why does it matter to some statistics say that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce?

Patricia: I think it matters to the statisticians–the people that put those numbers out. I don’t think it should matter to people that really want to be committed to a relationship and have a love of their life and want to have that relationship that is positive and caring and fulfilling.

Those statistics are simply numbers. I think we look at them as a frame of reference, but I don’t think if you are someone that really does want to have a relationship, you know they’re out there, but you’re not taking them as a personal criteria that, “Oh my gosh, it’s over 60 percent failure rate for second marriages, maybe I better not do this.”

Frank: Do you have an explanation for the high divorce rate in second marriages?

Patricia: You bring in so many other people. For one, often there are children from his marriage, her marriage and maybe in ours. So, you’re trying to blend all of those people together. And I’m not real keen on the word “blend.” I just haven’t found something to replace it yet. And I’ll give you an example, because Frank and Dr. Gayl, I’m real big on examples and analogies.

Frank: Oh, we like stories.

Patricia: Oh, good. Well, here’s a story for you. This is probably the catalyst for me sitting down and really putting thoughts to paper.

I was a school counselor for many, many, many years and I worked with the idea of an open door policy. People dropped in and shared whatever was going on with them to–

Frank: Do the teachers and administrators ever come in and sit down and talk about their marital problems?

Patricia: Teachers did.

Frank: Wow.

Patricia: My principal didn’t.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: But the teachers did, yes. I had grandparents come in and parents come in. And of course the kids were my focus. I ran small group for Kids in the Middle, which were children whose parents were either divorced or separated or death had occurred in the family.

Frank: Kids in the Middle? That’s what that’s called?

Patricia: Yeah, Kids in the Middle. It’s an organization that actually started here in St. Louis.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: It’s national. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place for children and that’s their focus. They don’t counsel parents. They work only with the children.

Frank: And they’re saying they’re in the middle of what, exactly?

Patricia: They’re in the middle of transition.

Frank: Got you.

Patricia: Yeah. Thanks for asking me that, because it wouldn’t mean anything to anybody if we didn’t explain the title. But anyway, I would have parents in particular come in and they had chosen to remarry again and they were so excited.

One man in particular was a lawyer. He was a won–still is to my knowledge–a wonderful dad. He had a son and a daughter and he was really involved with his children. The Mr. Mom title would have worked perfectly for him. Well, he found–

Frank: Or simply a dad.

Patricia: Yes he was. And he had custodial–simply a dad, yeah. I think maybe I need to add to that but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to. I’m thinking here. The wheels are turning.

Dr. Gayl: it’s okay, just let it go. Just continue with your story.

Patricia: I think I’ve met a match here, so–

Dr. Gayl: You definitely have.

Patricia: So, I’m going to let it go.

Dr. Gayl: Right, let it go, but I got your back.

Patricia: Oh, let it go, let it go. Anyway, he was a custodial parent of these children and he was just a very involved dad. Very interested in and their process. Anyway, he had found a new love and he was head over heels. And he came into my office one day and he was so distraught and so distressed, because these very well behaved, very in sync balanced children were just acting out. And this is the source of one of my blogs. You may be in love, but your children aren’t.

Dr. Gayl: I like that.

Patricia: And that is a big part of second marriages, when there’s children involved. You have to realize you may have found your soul mate. You may be head over heels in love. Your children have another parent and their loyalties are often there. You’re bringing a new person in that they just don’t see in the same light that you do.

That’s one real big problem and one of the couples in my book, a wonderful couple, totally committed to their marriage, devoted to each other, very spiritual. In five years they separated four times because of the kids.

Frank: And they’re in your book?

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: So they had, in what you considered, a significant marital history, but they still split or moved apart.

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: Several times.

Patricia: Yeah. They had too. They said the kids were causing such chaos in the family. There were two children on either side and they didn’t want their parents to be married and their only way of dealing with it was to make it difficult.

Frank: You mentioned loyalties, and often children perceive the acceptance of a step-parent–let’s say, the acceptance of a stepmother as an affront to their mother.

Patricia: I agree.

Frank: That seems like an issue to address all on its own. I mean, because it really isn’t.

Patricia: Yeah.

Dr. Gayl: What do you mean it isn’t?

Frank: It isn’t. In many ways, sometimes the mom actually does think that and sees that in the children. Or the stepmother may think that and see that in the children. And mind you, I’m just saying mother or mom, but it could be dad or father. It could go both ways.

Patricia: Right.

Frank: And I think that’s actually the bigger issue, what the parents think than what the children think, because the parent’s seed it.

Dr. Gayl: Well, I can speak on that personally from my parents, because I felt that way when my dad remarried. And even going into adulthood–and I don’t know who seeded it. I try to process with myself.

Frank: While you’re crazy?

Dr. Gayl: No, but where that initiated from and I don’t think my–I know my mom didn’t put the seed there, but for me anyway, I just felt like I had a loyalty to her. My step mom is great. She reminds me of my mom. Actually, she’s a great person. I really love her, but you do have that loyalty that you feel like you can’t break away from your biological parent.

Patricia: And you know if that parent remains unmarried, that makes you sometimes feel even more a need to be there for them, because the other parent has a new life, a new love and things are going along for them. And then you’ve got the parent that chooses to be single and you feel like they have no one. It’s a great topic for another show.

Dr. Gayl: For another show.

Patricia: It really is. I hope you call me. Maybe I’ve promoted myself here and I can get another call back. But it really is. It’s very much a part of that remarriage process. But this couple that separated these four times in five years, the kids are all gone now. They are just like newlyweds.

Frank: Now they’re having fun now.

Dr. Gayl: Now they have a thriving relationship?

Patricia: Yeah.

Dr. Gayl: Let me ask you this Mrs. Pat, because I can’t pronounce your last name properly, so I’ll call you, Mrs. Pat.

Patricia: You know what, on Halloween you have a Bubash.

Dr. Gayl: Okay, so Bubash.

Patricia: But I like Mrs. Pat.

Dr. Gayl: You like Mrs. Pat.

Patricia: Perfect.

Dr. Gayl: We can rock with that? Okay.

Patricia: We can rock with that.

Frank: I tell you, Mrs. Pat is pretty hip.

Dr. Gayl: I love it.

Frank: Well, I think we’re going to have–

Patricia: I try.

Frank: Her on again.

Dr. Gayl: So, minus the people that don’t have kids that are like me that want to enter a second marriage eventually when there’s a person available, but-

Frank: There are people available. You might just not be able to snafu them or trick them into getting married again.

Dr. Gayl: Trick them? You’re taking Frank, so you know.

Patricia: No, I’m thinking Gayl, you are not just taking whatever is available.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: You are looking for a real treasure. That’s what I think

Frank: Why you thinking that? She just said, “Who is available.” Why not take her at her word?

Patricia: No.

Dr. Gayl: Anyway–

Frank: She’s waving like, “Would you all leave me alone? I’m trying to say something here.”

Dr. Gayl: I’m trying to say something, because Frank always tries to put me on the spot, but I’m not taking it today.

Patricia: Don’t.

Dr. Gayl: So, Mrs. Pat, what about the people that are entering into second marriages and one person has been married and the other person has never been married? How does that work or what are the statistics for that?

Patricia: I can tell you personally. That’s a personally relevant question.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Frank: Is that related to your first, second or third marriage?

Patricia: I just hate this first, second and third stuff.

Dr. Gayl: What do you want us to say?

Patricia: I don’t know, because the reality is the reality and live with it.

Dr. Gayl: Right.

Patricia: It’s my third marriage and I think we have a really, really cool story, because we knew each other before I married the second time. I said he tossed me back in the sea. I did not know this until years later when we reconnected. But he was–I guess you could say, a swinging bachelor with a good job a head full of good hair, good teeth–

Frank: Unlike when he came back and married you.

Patricia: He did. He did. He finally figured out what was good for him.

Frank: Does he still have teeth and hair?

Dr. Gayl: And hair?

Patricia: Yeah he did. He still had a job. That was really cool–all of those things. But he was a little chubbier. That was what was funny. But when we first met, I was single, divorced. I had three children who–three wonderful daughters. I just thought they were assets to anybody. I had a good job. I had a home. I felt like I was–

Dr. Gayl: You were the cream of the crop.

Patricia: I did. I honestly did, Dr. Gayl. I thought, “I’m a treasure here.” Well, years later he told me, he said “You know, I took one look at that situation and factoring in the dog–the family pet. He said, “I figured I’d be about five on the food chain.”

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: You know he was right.

Frank: Really?

Patricia: He was right. But at the time I felt so rejected. I just really felt, “What was wrong with me.” And I think that’s another topic for you, Dr. Frank and Dr. Gayl. Well, I gave Frank a doctorate there.

Dr. Gayl: You know he’ll take it.

Frank: I know everything.

Patricia: I figured he would. Honorary. I don’t know about men. I can’t speak for that, but I think women really feel when something doesn’t pan out in a relationship that there is something wrong with them.

Dr. Gayl: They oftentimes do. Frank, do men do that?

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: Of course. Any time you get rejected–

Dr. Gayl: Do you really–

Frank: Anytime anybody gets rejected, they feel like something’s wrong, typically, unless they’ve worked through that way of thinking where you get to the point where you understand it just wasn’t a good fit. But yeah, of course.

Patricia: And let me quote a very knowledgeable person–

Frank: What did I say?

Patricia: From their blog. Someone with very good insight is that “You have to find yourself first.”

Dr. Gayl: Right.

Patricia: And you do. You do. And by the time we reconnected, which was close eight years later–

Dr. Gayl: Wow.

Patricia: That’s where I was. And he hadn’t married.

Dr. Gayl: So, he had never married, Mrs. Pat?

Patricia: No.

Dr. Gayl: Wow, okay.

Patricia: We were in our early 40’s when we married and he has been the most wonderful grandfather. My kids were old enough by that time. They didn’t need a dad. They were on their own. But my grandchildren have been gifted by his presence. They truly have.

Frank: I’m curious. Sometimes women do the-they’ve got the peacock feathers going when men come around. And I suspect, when there’s a man that’s interested or they think they’re going to be interested, were your peacock feathers still out and very colorful when he came around after the second marriage or did you kind of put in a little bit and say, “I’m a chill a little. Let’s see if he’s still interested?”

Patricia: I did. For one thing at that point I was kind of jaded. I know you folks are younger than I am. I know that. I just do.

Dr. Gayl; But you’re just as hip.

Frank: I’m 40.

Patricia: I’m just as hip. You’re right. Bt I have parents that have been married decades. So, for me when I divorced the first time that was, in the family, just really hard to accept. Very difficult for the family to realize we have somebody divorced.

Frank: Because we don’t do that in this family.

Patricia: That’s right. That’s right. Let me tell you, the second time was death by divorce. I think I felt it more. I internalized it much more than they really did, but I felt that way. I was more, I think–traumatized might be too intense a word. It bothered me more the second time than it did the first, because everybody’s got a first chance, but when you screw it up the second time or it fails the second time or it doesn’t pan out, then you really begin to think, “What is wrong with me?”

Dr. Gayl: And did you feel like the ultimate failure the second time?

Patricia: Oh, I did. I did. And, I, for a number of years, even after I married my now beloved, I wouldn’t tell people it was a third marriage.

I have to tell you something funny. I wrote this book and I gave my kids a copy. The cover of it, which I’m extremely proud of, my son-in-law did. He’s a graphic artist. And the lily on there–I didn’t even realize–he put that on there without me giving him input. The lily means renewal.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: I thought that was really a neat point. But when I wrote this book and I gave my kids a copy, my daughter said my one grandson picked up the book and was reading, he said, “I didn’t know mama had been married three times.” And it was like, “Oh my God, what she is really a wild woman.” I think they reflected, boom, equal to the movie stars that are married multiple times.

Frank: Elizabeth Taylor.

Dr. Gayl: You’re just human. That’s all.

Patricia: Yeah, exactly. But I do think going back to your original question, children in a second marriage can really make it difficult.

The other thing is finances. If there’s a house owned by each one of you, you’ve got to decide, “What are we going to do with this? What are we going to do with who pays the support for the other children of the previous spouse?” A big one with older couples that marry are adult children wondering how is the money going to be split up once they’ve got a new spouse. So, that becomes an issue. You lose friends sometimes, because friends that have been yours and that husband’s–

Frank: Yeah.

Dr. Gayl: They have to choose.

Frank: They think they have to choose.

Patricia: They have to choose, so you find you lose a social set sometimes. So, there are a lot of things that come into play.

Dr. Gayl: And then do they accept a new husband? Or the new spouse, the friends?

Patricia: You know what? My observations have been more often than not, they don’t. I have a friend who divorced after 23 years of marriage and the friends that they had, the one’s that had been his college buddies, they tended to stick with him. The friends they had made as a couple tended to go with her. And she does things still, even as a single person with them.

Frank: Interesting.

Patricia: Yeah, it is. It is.

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You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Patricia Bubash, a licensed professional counselor and author of, Successful Second Marriages. She brings a fresh uplifting and supportive prospective to those contemplating second marriages and those in second marriages. Pat, please tell our listeners how they can find out more about you and your work.

Patricia: Okay. I have a website successfulsecondmarriages.com. You can come on that website and find out about my professional history. I do a blog on there. You can write me through there. And then the book is on Amazon.com. It’s in soft-back cover as well as eBook.

Frank: We’ve been talking around the book. The book is about successful second marriages and that’s really what we’ve been talking about also. But we haven’t really gotten into the book. Let’s talk about the book. What do you got?

Patricia: Okay. The book came out of my need after several years. Even when I felt that I had successfully remarried for a third time, I still questioned where had the second time fallen apart, because as I said a few minutes ago, that was more difficult for me to accept that I’d had another failed marriage, than it was the first time.

The first time I felt like, “Well, it’s not unusual for first time marriages when couples marry as young as I had–“

Frank: How young was that?

Patricia: This is another thing and it’s hard for me to tell, sixteen and a half.

Patricia: Okay.

Frank: Okay, the first time you were sixteen.

Patricia: And a half.

Dr. Gayl: And a half.

Frank: Excuse me–

Dr. Gayl: The half is very important.

Frank: No sooner than you say it, I omit it. I’m sorry.

Patricia: Yeah. Okay. That’s alright. I feel bad. For once I want my age exact on that. Don’t even go there now.

Frank: Yes ma’am.

Patricia: But then it was very important that people didn’t perceive me as young. My dad was in the service and I was the eldest child. We moved a lot. I think military kids oftentimes do grow up quicker. I really do. People were counting their fingers and it didn’t happen.

Dr. Gayl: How long did you stay married the first time?

Patricia: Fifteen years.

Dr. Gayle: Oh wow, okay.

Patricia: Yeah. We were separated two of those, but legally on paper 15 years. And I did not want to leave that marriage. I felt like “You married for life.” My parents had. We were very religious people and I just would never have thought early on that, that would end.

Frank: And why did it end?

Patricia: He had a job that took him away most of the time. He would be gone maybe a couple of weeks at a time and no wife really likes being left alone with children.

Frank: But you were a military brat, it would seem like you–

Patricia: Yeah I was. And my dad would be gone. I think I dealt with it better than he did. But as I said, we were very young. He was 20 when we married, 20 and a half. Those halves count.

Frank: Yes.

Dr. Gayl: They matter.

Frank When does the half not matter after you turn 21? How does that work?

Dr. Gayl: I think it’s after 30.

Patricia: When you start getting in your 40’s. Then you drop it.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: Thirds and fourths and all of that. But I think we were apart a lot. I think for him, he really began to not want the responsibility of a wife, children, house payments, car payments. And fortunately, I had started taking college classes, because I wasn’t a coffee clutch or I wasn’t a bowler, so I took night classes.

Dr. Gayl: Do you think that intimidated him?

Patricia: It may have. I didn’t realize it at that time, but I think it may have. I really do, because it changed who I was. I was getting more self-assurance and accomplishing getting that degree. And when I received my divorce degree, I also–

Dr. Gayl: Your divorce degree.

Patricia: My college diploma.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Frank: How did he turn out to be as a co-parent, once you all were divorced?

Patricia: He was uninvolved.

Frank: Oh, really.

Patricia: Totally, yeah. He had begun living in California.

Frank: And you were in St. Louis?

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: As a matter of fact, before we divorced, this was his choice.

Frank: Dr. Gayl, you do know, St. Louis is pretty far from California?

Dr. Gayl: Stop. Stop.

Fraser: It’s like the other side.

Patricia: Yes it is. Yeah, 1800 miles far. Yes. But he chose not to see his three daughters for a year and a half and that was his choice. It wasn’t mine. I repeatedly said, “You need to see your children and explain to them what’s happening and what is going to happen.” So, when we did go through the divorce process–

Frank: Who filed?

Patricia: That was probably the shock of his life. I did.

Frank: Really, and you didn’t want the divorce?

Patricia: I didn’t want it, but it was a year and a half since I had seen him and I felt like maybe it would give him a jolt there. “I need to be doing something.” I think he would have gone much longer without being divorced, because–man, we’re getting into some real old history.

Dr. Gayl: You know, I was thinking that, Mrs. Pat. This is some old deep history.

Patricia: Do we want to re-shift? Regroup?

Frank: Back to the book.

Dr. Gayl: Right. Let’s re-shift back to the book.

Patricia: This is really some good stuff.

Frank: Yeah, but we don’t want you breaking down and having a tough to talk.

Patricia: That won’t happen.

Frank: Okay, alright.

Patricia: You don’t have to worry about that.

Dr. Gayl: Okay. You’re a tough cookie.

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: Were the nine couples featured in the book aware of the high divorce rate and second marriages prior to your interview?

Patricia: That’s funny that you–no it’s not funny. It’s a good question. But it’s funny in that I would tell them that supposedly it’s over 60 percent in second marriages and they would say, “Oh, really.” No one seemed to be aware of that. And when I did tell them, it didn’t seem to be a concern either.

Dr. Gayl: This is my question though Mrs. Pat, do I call them normal people now–

Frank: That’s me. I know you feel that way about me.

Dr. Gayl: I often have these conversations with my colleagues and my friends that are in our field, and then I wonder, do normal people think to look at statistics about these life situations and things that happen day-to-day? Do they think to look at statistics about divorce of whatever they’re interning the next stage of life type of things? Do they do that?

Patricia: I don’t think they do, because those statistics fit somebody else, not them. They don’t see is as a personal relevancy. That’s what I think and that’s what I’ve observed and what I know.

One lady in this book though, a really interesting person, she may not have known the numbers, what that percentage was, but she did know that it could be difficult and she was one who really was an advocate of counseling.

Frank: Tell us about her. Tell us about that story.

Patricia: This story, this is Paula, Paula and Steve. And she said in her marriage–her first marriage, it was an open marriage.

Dr. Gayl: What does that mean to them? Because last week we learned that open marriages mean different things to different people. So, what did their open marriage mean?

Patricia: I think it meant that they could be with other people.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: They could go out with other people. She didn’t really give the details of it, but that was what I took from it.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: Is that if I want to go out with someone or whatever, that’s fine. And it was more her husband’s choice in the marriage than hers, but she said, “I went along with it.” That was her words. “I went along with it.” And finally, the marriage did end and she didn’t give details from that either. But when she did become divorced, she really dated a lot. She went out. As Steve said, she was pretty active out there. And she said she realized that she wanted this next time to be a good marriage and to last.

So, before she and Steve even married she joined an organization that was called, Acme. Now it is called, Better Marriages.

And she said, “I knew that I wanted this to be lasting. I knew people that belonged to this organization and they had good communication skills. It was a healthy relationship.” And she said, “I wanted us to have this in our lives to be supportive.” She really worked to make that marriage last, and you know what? Sadly, he became ill, probably about six years after they were married–

Dr. Gayl: Oh no.

Patricia: And he died. But I see her now and she–

Dr. Gayl: But he was open to her, I guess, feedback from what she had learned?

Patricia: Yeah. And see the organization, it’s about couples communicating and they do groups where they dialogue and practice good communication skills, very active organization, social as well as the support to better marriages.

Frank: Were any of the couples you interviewed reluctant to marry the second time?

Patricia: I don’t know that reluctant would be the word, maybe it is. They took time out. They decided they really needed to know themselves better, that they needed to process what had happened and why.

I’m going to jump to the last question you had on my sheet, “What is your take away message for the audience?” Number one read my book, first and foremost.

Dr. Gayl: Right, right.

Patricia: But the thing that I saw that impressed me so much was that these people had really taken time to think about what had gone wrong, what they had contributed to that failure and to know themselves better.

Dr. Gayl: Now the nine couples, how long had they been in successful second marriages? Did the time vary?

Patricia: First let me answer that, Dr. Gayl with a criteria that–

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: I used for determining who I wanted to talk to. One of the things was that they had been divorced.

Dr. Gayl: Both persons had been divorced?

Patricia: Yes.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: The second thing was they’d been married over seven years.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: You know, that seven year itch thing.

Dr. Gayl: So the second–

Patricia: You guys may be too young for that. Somebody told me that’s going to four years, but I don’t know.

Dr. Gayl: In our popcorn society, right?

Patricia: Yeah. I figured if they had made it seven years and we’re holding, the chances were pretty good it was going to make it.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia: But, who knows. Because by that time–I thought about this just recently, that I didn’t have couples like in their 30’s or even in their 40’s. People at that stage may not have been divorced and remarried again for seven years.

Dr. Gayl: That’s true, because if you think about it, you get married in your late 20’s and then you divorce in your early 30’s and you have to take time off to live and find yourself or whatever you have to do. And get remarried again in your mid 30’s. You’re right. You aren’t married for seven years after that.

Patricia: Right. I would’ve liked to have a more diverse age group, but that didn’t happen. Really, the premise of the book was what couples had done. It didn’t really matter, the age, I didn’t think. What mattered was, was there tools where how they were working to make this marriage last. That’s what I really wanted to know.

Dr. Gayl: And also Mrs. Pat, if you think about couples. Let’s say they were in their 40’s, they hopefully have had time to process. They’ve matured a lot. They have taken time to reflect on what happened wrong–I don’t want to say wrong or right, but what happened to make them be successful a second time.

Patricia: Exactly.

Dr. Gayl: Good, okay. Was this a study? Was it just interviews? What was it?

Patricia: It was just interviews. I love hearing people’s stories. That probably is my best way of learning, Is through my experiences and those experiences of others. I wanted to hear their personal stories and that was the most enjoyable part of it.

I would usually be there no longer than three hours. I figured no one wanted to go on for more than that and when I would come, we’d find a place in the house that was a comfortable place.

One time it was in the kitchen. Tey were kitchen people and she was baking homemade muffins for us and people love talking about themselves.

Dr. Gayl: They do.

Patricia: We all enjoy that, having a captive audience.

Dr. Gayl: And we all want that ego stroked a little bit.

Patricia: We do. And what was just delightful to watch was as they began telling me their story and how they had met and how it proceeded, you’d see them usually sitting closer together. You’d see them taking the other’s hand and when I would leave, it was just the sweetest thing.

Dr. Gayl: I’m certain it made you feel good, right?

Patricia: Yeah, it did.

Dr. Gayl: You know, yesterday Mrs. Pat, I was walking into the grocery store and I saw an older couple and they were holding hands that just made me feel good. Relationships can be successful later on in life.

Patricia: Right.

Dr. Gayl: What was the thing that caused the couple to choose marriage the second time over just staying single?

Patricia: I think these people, overall, were people who wanted to be with one person. They wanted to have that relationship that was solid and permanent. It was interesting–I’m glad you asked me that. One couple in particular, she had lost a son. He was in his late 20’s and he had died while she dating her–

Dr. Gayl: Second husband?

Patricia: Yeah. And during that time she just really didn’t want to marry. She was grieving for this first child of hers–the eldest child of two–and he wanted to get marry and she said, “But I will be crying everyday.” And he said, “That’s okay. I’ll hold you everyday.”

Dr. Gayl: So, she had that support.

Patricia: Yeah. And they had talked about buying a duplex and each living in one side of it. But I think after he said that to her, “I’m here for you, it doesn’t matter,” I think that’s what turned the tide on that.

Dr. Gayl: Now, speaking–I’m sorry, go ahead, Mrs. Pat.

Patricia: And then the other couple that I use them and maybe it didn’t fit my criteria, but I used them anyway. It’s a couple who–probably the youngest couple out of all of them.

Dr. Gayl: What were their ages?

Patricia: They were probably late 40’s.

Dr. Gayl: Okay.

Patricia; And they had known each other in high school, but they both went separate ways–married other people and whatever. And when they reconnected, she had been diagnosed with MS and they knew they wanted to get married. There had been an attraction when they were in high school, but they just didn’t act on it. They went separate paths. But when they decided to get married, neither one of them were people with highly paid jobs.

High school had been as far as they had gone, but they’d always had jobs. They were productive people, but they weren’t high income people. So, when they started talking marriage, he tried to get insurance that would cover her and couldn’t. He said, “Pat, the medicine for her is $1,000 a month. If we marry, we can’t afford that.” So, a minister friend did a–I don’t know what you would call it–it’s not a civil, but it was a marriage ceremony.

Frank: It was just a union, a non-legal union.

Patricia: Yeah, thank you. It was beautiful. It was absolutely beautiful. They are one of the dearest couples. But for them they didn’t want to stay single. They wanted people to see them as a married couple. That was important to them.

Frank: That’s interesting, because I’ve got a way of looking at marriage, where I think marriage is one of three things. It’s either a legal union. It’s either where two people just simply say, “We’re married to each other,” or it’s when someone in the clergy joins you or marries you or something of that nature.

Frank: I see any of those as being married.

Patricia: You know Frank, there is something that I find very interesting–of course like I said previously, statistics–it’s however you want to view them, but I have heard recently that couples that live together and then decide to marry that those marriages frequently end in divorce.

Dr. Gayl: Yeah, I’ve heard that too. What do you think the reason for that is, Mrs. Pat?

Patricia: That is a ponderous for me. I’m not sure. Maybe it is while you’re living together you still feel that, “I can always leave.” There’s not going to be–

Dr. Gayl: You always have that out.

Patricia: That financial. Yeah, you always have that loophole. And then, when you make a legal thing, it’s like, “Oh no, now I am in this.” I don’t know. I don’t know. But Cameron Diaz, who I’m sure is an expert on the topic says, “Marriage is becoming obsolete.”

Dr. Gayl: And you know marriage is becoming obsolete, especially within African Americans like women, especially just aren’t getting married. You know?

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Patricia Bubash, a licensed professional counselor and author of, Successful Second Marriages. She brings a fresh uplifting and supporting prospective to those contemplating second marriages and those in second marriages. Again, please tell our listeners how they can find out more about your work.

Patricia: You can go to successfulsecondmarriages.com. Read about me on my website, read my blog. And then, the book can be purchased on Amazon.com. Soft-cover or eBook. And believe me, you want to buy that cheaper book. I have yet to figure out how to get that original price off of there. So folks go to the cheap book.

Dr. Gayl: Mrs. Pat promotes the cheap book.

Patricia: Yes I do. We all want to keep as much as we can in our own pockets.

Dr. Gayl: Right.

Frank: The comment you made about, I’ll hold you every day, kind of reminds me of a scenario that I often hear about, where someone says, they’re in a relationship but they’re not ready to get married. And I always look at that kind of strangely, because I think anyone can be married if their partner is willing to accept them, whatever it is they’re doing or whatever is typically outside of the norm of “marriage.” So, when I hear someone saying, “I’m not ready to marry,” I hear them saying, they don’t feel like their partner would accept them as they are.

Dr. Gayl: That’s interesting–an interesting perspective.

Frank: I try to be interesting every once in awhile.

Dr. Gayl: Every now and then.

Patricia: I think that applies in some cases. I think the other scenario is that, that person just doesn’t want to commit themselves. It’s like going back to what we said about living together verses, then you marry.

It’s like, “Well, I really love this person. I really want to be with them, but that is really being serious and that’s permanent. Right now, I still feel some freedom, but that won’t be, that maybe like the noose around my neck.”

Dr. Gayl: And I also think you can look at it two ways. One, you may be projecting your feelings onto your partner, which may or may not be true for them and–

Dr. Gayl: Two, you attract what you are. And again, maybe this is the same thing as the first scenario I stated, but maybe you aren’t ready and you’re attracting people to you or you’re attracting your partner to you that may not be ready to take it to the next level or get married.

Frank: If you want freedom in your relationship or if you think you would want “freedom” in a marriage, you could certainly negotiate that. You mentioned open marriages earlier, that’s certainly a way to negotiate it or you don’t even have to live together and be married. If that’s what you guys come up with, it’s still the opportunity to be married, if you want to be married. I’m not advocating one way or the other.

Patricia: Right, right. And you know what? That’s the way I see it, is just what you said. I’m not advocating it either way. I think what works for couples and they’re willing to accept, that’s for them to do.

I really do feel that way about it. I’m glad my daughters chose to be married, but my youngest daughter went a long, long time. I decided that may be she was only going to be married to her career and that was fine. If that’s was contentment for her–and she dated and she dated some people a long time, but it never was something that bothered me that she wasn’t married.

Dr. Gayl: Were you concerned Mrs. Pat, that due to your–I’m going to say this–failed marriage, I don’t know how you feel about it, but–

Patricia: That’s okay.

Dr. Gayl: Due to your failed marriages is that your daughters were going to be affected by that?

Patricia: You do. You do think about that. But I think what I’ve noted is that many children of divorce, such as my daughters were and that was–let me backtrack a little bit. That was interesting too.

I taught in the school district where my daughters went to school and we lived in a neighborhood that I was the first person to be divorced. I was the token divorcee.

Frank: The woman next door that you don’t want your husband around.

Patricia: Yes. There you go.

Dr. Gayl: And you don’t want your kids playing at their house.

Patricia: Yeah, yeah. Fortunately for me that wasn’t the way it was, because I had a good standing and my daughters were well thought of. But those girls did not tell anybody for a year. No one even knew, because they didn’t want to talk about it, because we were the only ones. I thought that might be a later reflection for them that, “Our mom was an outcast in a sense, socially.” And I do think that they’ve thought about that, the seriousness of when they married.

My eldest daughter did get divorced after about two years of marriage. And now, she and her husband has been married more than two decades. It’s not going anywhere.

Dr. Gayl: So, she’s a successful second marriage?

Patricia; Yeah and he hadn’t been married before. That’s that story. My daughter that lives in St. Louis, she married Irish Catholic and he told her the day they married, he said, “There will be no divorce,” and they have a very strong marriage. I think they are good friends.

Frank: Okay, she–

Patricia: As well as being a married couple.

Frank: He’s Irish Catholic. What are you guys? Or what is your daughter?

Patricia: I will give her kudos for this. She did not fall under the pressure of his family to convert. As children growing up, we were people that went to church three times a week. We were very fundamentalist Christian.

Frank: Okay.

Patricia: That was another reason why divorce was so difficult for me. You just didn’t do that.

Dr. Gayl: Right.

Patricia: I was the token in my church too. God, all of these things that I did ahead of the time.

Frank: You’ve got a lot of tokens.

Patricia: Yeah, I was tokening in the lot.

Frank: Trailblazer.

Patricia: Trailblazer.

Frank: Why do people say that marriage is hard work?

Patricia: Yeah. It is.

Frank: I’ve heard that over the years. Let’s hear your thoughts on that.

Patricia: I have heard that from my mother many times. She says you’ve got hills and valleys and the valleys can be the toughest. And she should know. They’ve been married 70 years.

Frank: Wow.

Patricia: Yeah. I heard an analogy one time that being married is likened to being a Christian: that you need to learn forgiveness, you need to learn to compromise, you need to learn to even being a caregiver. All of the things that reflect Christianity can be reflected in a marriage.

Frank: And speaking of Christianity, what are the six “c’s?”

Patricia: My six “c’s” came about from a story or stories of couples that have been married more than 50 years. And those six “c’s” are things that out of their stories, I saw what we need in a marriage to make it work, and that’s companionship, it’s caring, it’s closeness. And in closeness I mean, having somebody you can celebrate the bad day with when you go to work and it’s not celebrate it, but bitch about it. And then the days that are so good and you can come home and you can just celebrate how great it was. That’s closeness. That’s your best friend.

That’s your best friend. An then to have comfort. I know I’m going to need Jim desperately when my parents depart this world. And I hope that I was there for him when he went through that. And it’s like my friend’s who’s soon-to-be husband at that time said, “I’ll hold you every day.” That’s, that comfort.

The commitment–and that commitment is when I heard in every one of these couples stories. “This marriage is the last. There’s no exiting this marriage. We’re committed to this working.”

And the other one is communication. Communication can be very different in every marriage. I am sure that the professional relationship people would view my and my husband’s communication as needing help. I’m sure they would. We would be the not.

Frank: Don’t do this.

Patricia: It works.

Frank: Right. It works for you.

Dr. Gayl: It works for you.

Patricia: At least I think it is.

Dr. Gayl: Right. It works for you.

Frank: I mean, you only know that.

Patricia: He hasn’t walked out.

Dr. Gayl: How long have you guys been married?

Patricia: We will be married 25 years in November.

Dr. Gayl: Congratulations.

Patricia: Yeah.

Dr. Gayl: You celebrate that.

Patricia: Yeah we will. We will.

Frank: Would you say that people who’ve been married for a long time, even 50 years, are they experts at marriage or have they just been married for 50 years?

Patricia: Gosh, that’s good.

Dr. Gayl: That was a great question, Frank.

Patricia: It is a great question.

Frank: I’m just getting lots of kudos from Dr. Gayl today.

Patricia: You’re really on a roll here.

Frank: I have a problem with this. I mean, she’s got these rotten tomatoes and she’s not using them. I’m thinking she’s going to bring them next week.

Patricia: I hope she doesn’t. I hope she keeps in that bag–in that brown bag.

That’s a deep subject. I look at my parents and I admire them. I have a great deal of respect for them, because they have really rode the tide of difficulty and whatever with him being the navy when they were very young and through the years. But I wrote one article on my blog, Not My Parents Marriage.

Frank: That’s real right there.

Patricia: Yeah. I think we’re looking at a generation that definitely did not divorce. You just stayed the course no matter–

Dr. Gayl: No matter what.

Patricia: Yeah. And when I was divorced in the 80’s, that’s when it was almost hip to be divorced. The singles dances, the singles clubs. You were given permission. It was okay. And so there were a lot of divorced people in that timeframe. But for my parents, somebody divorced, that was almost like they were just what the word, social pariah, I guess.

As far as experts, I certainly think they can teach us a lot, but Not My Parent’s Marriage.

Dr. Gayl: That speaks volumes, yeah.

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: A few months ago, we had the pleasure of having Nana Kwenaba Brown as a guest on this show. His organization in Nyama Healing Services is inviting you to his Saturday October 19th couples relationship enhancement workshop in Silver Spring, Maryland. This workshop has helped hundreds of people over the last 10 years and many couples have returned for a second and third session.

It’s for the young and old and it’s excellent for young couples moving towards commitment and marriage or older couples in need of a tune-up. Those who come will receive effective communications skills, techniques and strategies for conflict resolution and decision-making, recommendations for identifying, establishing and conducting the three important couples meetings, comprehension and techniques for forgiveness and apologies, wonderful exercises for renewal of scared sensuality and much more.

For more information go to nyamahealingservices.eventbright.com or contact Nana Kwenaba Brown at 202-294-4471.

You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with Patricia Bubash, a licensed professional counselor and author of Successful Second Marriages.

She’s brought a fresh uplifting and supportive prospective to those contemplating second marriages and those in second marriages. One more time, please tell our listeners how they can find you and your work.

Patricia: Go to successfulsecondmarriages.com. That’s my website. Love for you to visit it and make a comment, read some of the articles and the book is at Amazon.com. Buy the cheap book, soft-back or go to the eBooks. I’m technically inept and I have yet to be able to get that big price off of there.

Frank: You sound like me.

Patricia: Yeah.

Frank: Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed the six “c’s,” second marriage statistics and the book, Successful Second Marriages.

I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had at discussing what it takes to have a successful second marriage. Join us next week as we will be discussing Strategic Planning, examining goals and developing solutions for your family, relationships and your business, with Gaea Honeycutt, owner of GL Honeycutt Consulting.

As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that’ll help you create a relationship that’s as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. On behalf of my producer, Phileta Legette and my assistant producer, Anayza Stewart, This is Frank Love, keep rising.

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