Is it “3 strikes and you’re out” or “third time’s the charm?”
After decades of working with married couples, I have realized that there’s not much I can do if peoples’ mindsets are focused on being right instead of making their relationship better.
As a result I now focus on partners that are motivated to make their marriage a success and are willing to give up having to be right to do so. Those couples are often the ones where both partners are marrying for the third time or at least one is for the third time (usually the moneyed one) and the other for at least the second.
It doesn’t always hold true, but it seems that a couple in a first marriage often doesn't know what to do when each person grows in a different direction and apart from the other. Rather than accepting this as a reality, they launch full bore into making the other person wrong when in fact they are just different and growing into who they are meant to be.
Then the second marriage is about doing the opposite of the first as a reaction to the other person being wrong. It is not about admitting and actually taking personal responsibility for problems in that first marriage. In other words, the narcissistic part of each person’s personality is alive and well and entitled. If they haven’t taken that personal responsibility for problems, they are often just as likely to run into problems –maybe different ones, but problems nevertheless – the second time around.
The third time may be the charm because after being a two time loser, it becomes more difficult to keep blaming the other person entirely. What’s the saying? “Have a failed marriage once, shame on them; have a failed marriage twice, shame on you.” And when you get older, just not wanting to fight is a legitimate resolution to arguments, whereas when you are younger that would seem to be too avoidant and there is often an obsessive need to deal with and resolve all the issues. Also by the time you're on a third marriage, you've gone from believing you're invincible to wanting to make it to the finish line of life with peace of mind.
Now there are many who will not remarry a third time. For the ones that do, there are usually habits they have learned that will help their third marriage to succeed (and ones that first and second marriages would do well to learn as well).
12 Habits of Healthy and Happy Third Marriages