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Second Marriages: 'Bet the Farm'

By Marita Littauer with Chuck Noon, MA, LPCC
Guest Columnist -- Last time we looked at a couple, Joan and John, who had trouble finding time to spend enjoying each other. Specificlly, we addressed how the couple could develop "Creative Time Together." This week we look at another couple who is dealing with the loss of a job. If you missed the last installment or are new to this column, click here.

The Problem

It was the second marriage for both Rich and Pat. If their expectations for their first marriage had been high, now they had bet the farm. They were older, more mature; the children from their first marriages were grown and off on their own. They had promised to love each other's offspring, make them welcome in their new home, and never make their other parent wrong. They were aware that their divorces had forced their children into new, strange, and frightening circumstances.

It would be just the two of them, working on their lives together, going forward with their hopes and dreams. They knew something of their mistakes, were somewhat aware of their shortcomings, and had resolved that nothing would destroy what they had found together. They had moved to a fresh location to rebuild their lives. They left everything behind to start anew. Knowing that they needed something "greater than themselves," they had committed their lives to the Lord and found a church for worship that was ideal. There they had "family," felt nourished, and made friends. It seemed everything was in place—at least for a while.

Both Rich and Pat were professionals. Pat was an editor for a major magazine, and Rich, an insurance executive. Their careers were on track, money was not a problem—they were secure in their future, one another, and the Lord.

Recently, there was a coup in Rich's organization, and he, along with the CEO and other top executives, were thrown out. Rich has a wide range of experience and thought that getting another position would be no problem—even if it took awhile. He hadn't anticipated that his age, now fifty-five, would make it difficult. He hadn't acknowledged that the business world had become a "younger place." In the months since his job loss, no career opportunities have come. Rich has tired of being "over qualified." He is angry and scared from the inside out. Nothing in his life has any of the familiar signposts. The world has become a strange and frightening place.

Rich is beginning to realize that he has always staked his life on his abilities; his career, position, power, and influence defined him, gave him his identity and respectability. He has competed in the corporate marketplace, provided for his family, and seen to it that Pat has never endured what he had witnessed as the fate of his parents—until now. It seems that his abilities no longer count.

While Rich has been struggling, Pat's magazine position suddenly came to an abrupt end. Although she has been a career person, she always thought there would be a husband who would take care of her and see after her needs. After all, hadn't her dad done just that?

With neither of them bringing in any income, they have resorted to selling off property and investments—netting far less than their original value, thus hastening more and more sell off. Now, there is nothing left.

Desperate, Rich has taken a job in a discount warehouse. The pay is a far cry from what he has known and had assumed would always be there.

Rich seems to be unable to talk with Pat about any of their circumstances or his fear and shame over this turn of events in their lives. When Pat tries to talk about what is happening to them, Rich cannot. When Pat insists, Rich becomes angry and shuts her out. Pat feels isolated, confused, and sick at heart about this turn of events in their lives. But more so, that she and Rich don't seem to be partners any longer. She finds she distances herself from her husband and seeks to find her own way in activities that further separate them.

Be sure to read the next installment when we will address “The Prescription” to this problem—starting first with the issue of Security.

If this is the first installment of this column you have read, we encourage you to click here to read previous articles.

Marita LittauerMarita Littauer is the author of 13 books and is President of CLASServices Inc. She can be reached through

Chuck Noon is a licensed professional counselor specializing in marriage. Chuck is married to Marita Littauer.  For more information visit:

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