The history of second, third and even fourth marriages is not that encouraging. Broadly speaking the likelihood of divorce increases with the number of times you have been married.
This would suggest that instead of going up the learning curve couples are moving rather rapidly down it. Why would this be?
In the majority of first marriages, there are no children, both spouses are young and starting out in life. There is a sense of a joint adventure and a lifetime of love and companionship before you. Neither has much in the way of assets or debts (apart from student loans!) and the baggage is more cabin baggage than a steamer trunk full of past successes, failures and memories.
Second and third marriages
Clearly a second marriage or third will involve older people but given the divorce statistics often no wiser. Curiously people tend to marry the same type of person again and again. Their physical characteristics may be different but the second spouse is very often of a similar psychological makeup to the first.
This is a recipe for a second divorce if the fist marriage was affected by issues around drugs, alcohol or domestic violence. The best advice is to seek some counselling or professional advice to help prevent repeating the mistakes of the past.
Children and second marriages
Children can often be a significant contributors to the failure of a second marriage. They do not want you to marry anyone and often hang onto the belief that their parents will get back together.
A new step-parent, to most children, is close to the last thing they want in their lives. Blending families can often work well but the need to fight over turf and attention can often make the blend less than smooth and often decidedly lumpy.
Step parents should never attempt to usurp the role of the biological parent. This is probably the biggest single family based cause of second marriage failure. Making a new life after the second divorce is not going to be any easier than it was the first time round.
The sheer logistics of managing a new relationship with his and her children can throw domestic routines into turmoil. When there are children born of a new marriage, and there are already step-children, this complicates things further. Some sacrifices may have to be made by you and everybody's children as you cannot do everything for everybody all the time. Careful and sympathetic planning should be able to resolve these difficulties.
Money can cause mayhem
Money, so often a source of stress and disagreement in the first marriage can be equally disruptive in the second, although in a different way. The partners in a second marriage are more likely to bring unequal financial assets to the marriage especially if a divorced man marries a widowed woman. This can be very difficult as the woman may well be very well off and the man be suffering from a very disadvantageous divorce settlement or indeed the other way round. Best advice is to get some solid financial advice.
Bringing in debts can cause resentment in a second or third marriage, especially if they were not discussed beforehand. The best advice here is to discuss individual finances in great detail before the marriage. Love may conquer many things but an undisclosed debt is not one of them.
Pre nuptial agreements
Pre nups as now very likely to be upheld in law provided they are honestly entered into and fair to both parties. It's wise to have one of these so that both parties know exactly where they stand all the way down to who gets the grandfather clock at the next divorce.
Maybe one of the reasons that there are so many second and third divorces is that once you've done one it's that much easier to do another. Now there's an interesting learning curve.