The interviewer then asked both Alice and Fred why they are still together — what kept them together during this difficult remarriage process. Fred indicated that after their second child, Alice threatened him with divorce. Fred responded by telling her that “she didn’t know how much this marriage meant to me. “And,” according to Alice, “I started to feel that way too.” She went on to conclude that “we both have a commitment, a dedication to the marriage itself, even during those times when we don’t have that much dedication to each other personally.”
The distinction between the two partners in a relationship and the couple itself is critical in this instance (as well as in many other remarriages). Alice and Fred didn’t like each other very much during this period of stress and felt very little commitment to each; however, they both felt a strong commitment to the third entity—the relationship—and stayed together during the remarriage in order to keep this third entity intact. When threatened with the possibility of divorce, Alice and Fred looked toward their commitment to the marriage even
more than toward their commitment to each other.
Alice believes that:
. . trust is what’s holding us together right now and will help us bring this marriage back from the brink. Neither of us would cheat on the other. Neither of us would purposefully hurt one another. Equally important is the freedom that we have that comes from being tolerant of one another. Also, the fact that we allow and encourage each other to grow.
Fred went on to indicate that their relationship “is the first sign of stability I’ve ever had in my life. It brings continuity to my life. It’s an opportunity to experience family. An opportunity to create something bigger than ourselves.”
Private and Public Remarriages
Many of the couples we interviewed have gone through fairly difficult times. However, their difficulties are often only fully known to their close friends or therapist. Other people in their lives are often less cognizant of their difficulties. They may only sense that everything isn’t
“quite right” with this couple.
In other instances, the remarriage is quite apparent to everyone. For instance, Dora and Jim clearly went through a profound remarriage that was known to everyone in their lives. Literally everything was up for grabs. Everyone was aware that they were going through difficult times. Their remarriage was particularly visible because it centered initially around Dora’s pregnancy. Jim and Dora weren’t married at the time, having chosen to live together rather than make a long-term, formal commitment. When they announced that Dora was pregnant, all of their friends and family were outraged. Dora had already had two abortions and neither of them had either a job or money.
When Dora found out that she was pregnant, everything began to fall apart:
The night I got pregnant, I looked into the mirror and I saw a purple ball handing over my left shoulder. There was an intensity to the situation. I felt this energy inside of me so I couldn’t do it (have an abortion) this time. Our friends thought we were insane . . . Our friends and families abandoned us. They thought we were crazy. . . . It was a nightmare for three years. I broke part of my pelvis during delivery, so I couldn’t walk, even to get to the bathroom. We moved to a bad area of [the large city where they were living], because we wanted to get away from the anger of those around us.
Yet, these hellish times were viewed much more positively by Jim:Download Article 1K Club