Multiple Marriages with the Same Person

Lisa May Executive Director, Live the Life South Florida

Marriage relationships expand, contract, ebb, and flow with seasons of joy and pain. It brings out the best and worst in us. It exposes our weaknesses and our strengths. It matures and refines us. As we age and transition within the stages of life, our marriages evolve. The person we married in our younger years may not have the same carefree and adventurous spirit after children, but they may have grown in kindness and patience. Let’s look at some of the stages of marriage. Some scholars say there are many more stages than I’ve mentioned, but I consider these primary. 


Marriage #1 Just US

marriagesIf a couple hasn’t lived together and waited for sex, Marriage #1 is the mountaintop full of passion and promise about the future. Everything is new. We’ve gone from yours and mine to ours. We’re defined differently, no longer boyfriend, girlfriend or fiancé. We’re now husband, wife, Mr. & Mrs. We dream. We take adventures. We are thoughtful, kind, generous and forgiving. We’re building memory banks of happiness and excitement about the future. The challenge of the first couple of years is our good, bad and ugly are exposed. Toothpaste and towels are often annoyances, video games and dirty dishes are becoming triggers, and the realization sets in that we can’t maintain the lifestyle our parents provided. This stage is full of wonder and reality, prepares us for ups and downs, and is critical in allowing us to move to the second stage, which is much more challenging.


Marriage #2 And There Were Three

When couples move from two to three to four and five or more, marriage becomes full and very challenging; the demands of life and parenting invade the relationship. Very often, husbands will say they feel like the child has taken over their home, time, finances and marriage. Mothers are experiencing the difference between fatigue and exhaustion and having to plan when they will take a bath. Because both fathers and mothers love and are devoted to the family’s new member(s), they tend to sacrifice their marriage relationship on the altar of the changing table. Time is precious, and fatigue is real. Compounded with additional children, this is when we typically begin to hear that they have changed, and fractures in the marriage begin to appear. 


Marriage # 3 Mid-Life

This encompasses the primary school years through college with children in different stages. Generally, couples have been married for about 15 years. Careers are growing, and they’ve made friends with the parents of the children’s friends. They’ve mastered the homework schedule, after school activities and have a comfortable home. Despite accomplishments and growth, there are upheavals, job changes, relocations, illness, etc. Hopefully, they’ve adjusted to the rigor of family life without sacrificing the marriage, but this is often the most challenging stage of a marriage. The relationship experienced in the earlier years of marriage doesn’t fit the mid-life stage. Many spouses struggle with individual fulfillment, and the struggle for control is standard. Interest has changed, bodies have changed, and sex is less often. It’s not unusual for couples to say they haven’t had sex in months, and they’ve grown apart. The relationship has become routine and stale, and divorce is a consideration. For others, it’s a time of happiness as you experience the joy you’ve achieved as a couple.


Marriage #4 Empty Nest

This is a significant transition, and some couples that stay together for the children choose to divorce. Some struggle at this stage for other reasons. Retirement comes, and this is an adjustment on many levels. For some, it’s an identity crisis, a loss of purpose and place, a change in disposable income. It’s also a time when couples are together all day, and they’ve never experienced that as a routine. For others, it’s a sense of freedom and wonderfully deep and rich.

The multiple stages of marriages

These stages require us to create multiple marriages with the same person that’s changing along the way. So, what do we do?


Marriage #1 Just US

  • Keep Jesus first. The marital journey and our faith journey need to be in lockstep. The Scripture tells us not to forsake coming together. Find a church and a small group so you don’t isolate yourself as a couple. We all need accountability and support. 
  • Give yourself some time before you have children.
  • Have an agreed-upon financial plan.
  • Plan for the Realities of Marriage #2.
  • PRAY TOGETHER EVERY DAY! It’s the super glue of marriage.
  • Enroll in a marriage class.

Marriage #2 And There Were Three

  • Keep Jesus first.
  • Remember the COMMITMENT of your vows. Commitment is the number one predictor of marital happiness. Everyone has days that they stay married because they said they would. 
  • Follow the advice of the airline stewards. When trouble comes, we pull down the oxygen mask and take a few deep breaths before sharing it with the children. The marriage comes first and the children second. 
  • Practice kindness and patience. Remember to express appreciation and Thank You. Thriving is related to how we treat others rather than how we’re treated.
  • Remove people from your circle that detract from your marriage.
  • Commit to a marriage retreat annually.


Marriage #3 Mid-Life

  • Keep Jesus first.
  • Make time to COMMUNE, to share and exchange intimate thoughts and feelings on a profound mental and spiritual level. 
  • Treat your marriage as you would your best customer or client. You engage with them. You’re not late for appointments. You certainly wouldn’t cancel. You always take their call. You go out of your way to accommodate their request. You advocate for them. You negotiate with them, and you provide a haven of emotional security and trust. 
  • Surround yourself with people that are in support of your marriage.
  • Attend marriage and family workshops.


Marriage #4 Empty Nest

  • Keep Jesus first.
  • Engage with your COMMUNITY.
  • Enjoy that every day can be a holiday.
  • This is a time you can serve others or an organization together. 
  • Find a hobby you can enjoy together.
  • Continue attending marriage conferences.


“Couples are challenged to grow in holiness as they live through the stages of marriage. A married person’s path to holiness goes directly through, not around, spouse and family. Holiness is not superimposed upon the couple but arises from within the marriage. Couples become holy together.” – Shiela Garcia

If we allow Him, God will work through the highs and lows in our marriages to make us one. 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).


Live the Life South Florida exists to strengthen marriages and families through healthy relationship education, beginning in middle school through senior adults. We are educators, coaches, and pastoral counselors. If you’re looking for a clinical counselor or therapist, we are blessed to have many in the South Florida community.  We’d be honored to provide you a list of highly qualified and reputable individuals. Visit

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