This is one of the most common questions I get asked from my coaching clients. They've been hurt before and do not want to go there again! It's actually a really good question. The whole, "We'll just know!" thing does not work. If that was the plan for your last marriage, you're actually familiar with how bad that plan is.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment and the decision to enter into it should be taken very seriously. The last thing you want to do is purely on emotions only.
There are 3 main criteria areas I usually go over with my clients when we reach this question. Let's look at these together today.
1. How do your children feel about the possibility of you remarrying? A wise saying to remember is "First marriages usually stay together for the sake of the children. If you've rushed too quickly into a relationship, your kids may still be reeling from the divorce.
I'm not saying that if your kids are not absolutely in love with your partner that you can not marry. But what I am saying is that the kids are a part of this new marriage too. They will have an incredibly effective way of damaging this marriage if you do not work to develop that relationship between your children and new partner BEFORE the wedding.
2. How much have you learned about step family dynamics? Step families are not the same as other families. The honest truth is that they are a lot harder! Trying to make a step family function like your previous nuclear family will feel like putting a square peg into a round hole. It just will not fit and everyone will get frustrated.
3. How well have I deal with the ending of my previous marriage? A lot of people are really uncomfortable with the idea of being alone. You tag the label "divorced" on there and the discomfort shoots through the roof. In an attempt to wiggle out of that discomfort, many people rush into the first relationship that presents itself. BIG MISTAKE!
You need some time to be alone. You need to be comfortable with it and you need to create a life as a single person. Then and only then are you able to make a choice about a new partner rather than a leap into someone's (anyone's) arms.
In case you missed it, the common thread through all 3 of these questions is TIME . You can not honestly expect to accomplish any of these tasks if enough time has not passed. There needs to have been time in between the divorce and this new relationship and then more time between the creation of this relationship and the wedding. If you find yourself or your partner rushing the "I Do's", you need to question why that is.