Most anyone who has applied for a job has heard the question, “How much experience do you have?” Yet, when it comes to second marriages, we often forget to ask this very important question to the soon-to-be-second spouse. Yet, this question is more important than ever when it comes to considering re-marriage. When a couple marries for the first time, as they are saying their vows, a new entity is born: a marriage. Most people know this, which is evident by the way they talk about their marriage as a separate entity, as if it were a child: “My marriage isn’t going so well,” or “My marriage is great.” As this marriage grows the couple grows and matures as well. If you go to the store and purchase a book on the stages of raising a child, you might notice a marriage goes through the very same stages. For example, the same challenges faced by a couple who has been married five years will parallel closely to what a couple will experience with a five year child, etc. Couples married for 10, 16, 20 years will face the same challenges kids and teenagers face at these same ages. Marriage is like a child and it simply has to grow and mature like any flesh and blood child. I believe everyone has two ages, the age they are physically and their marital age. It really doesn’t matter how old you are physically, when it comes to your marital age. A 65 year old woman can be five years old in marital years as easily as a 25 year old. What is important is you know your marital age, especially when it comes to dealing with problems, what you are looking for in a second spouse, what you expect, etc. For example, a young woman in a club that I attend has only been married a year, and she often talks about some of the challenges she has with her young husband. Last week, she continued to gripe about his not taking out the trash, which indicated to her that he does not care about their home or her. A woman sitting at our table who has been married 32 years said, “Honey, if he takes out the trash or not it doesn’t matter. After being married three decades, and growing and moving through raising three kids, having enough money to pay the mortgage, getting the kids through college, etc. I can tell you what really matters is that we are still together, that is what matters now.” So what do you think it would be like if a man who had been married 20 years, divorced and married a woman who had only been married a year or two before she divorced? This couple, in their second marriage, would each be looking for different things. One has already gone through many of the phases of marriage; the other has hardly begun to grow. Remember, one of the many things to consider when looking to re-marry is the marital age, for in the long run, it will make a difference in the degree of adjustment and the ability to make the other happy. The thing is, that even if prior to a first marriage a groom has had a couple of long term relationships and the bride has had a couple of short-term relationships, this does not influence the marriage, because there is nothing like making a commitment, saying vows, and becoming legally and bindingly husband and wife. What matters is your marital age, not your relationship experience prior to actually being married, even though many think so. I will note that prior relationship history though may bring baggage into a marriage, but not as much as a marriage. I’m not saying that a couple with different marital ages can not have a happy marriage, I’m just saying it would be easier if both are close to the same marital age. However, if a couple understands the differences in their marital age and are willing to work with these differences and show understanding and adapt, then the couple will be able to move into the future hand-in-hand.