The top 12 remarriage stumbling blocks

In 2010 David Olson, Amy Olson-Sigg & Peter Larson carried out a study in the US using >50 thousand premarital couples (both partners), whose marriages were about to create a stepfamily. The survey identified the top twelve Remarriage Stumbling Blocks.

Out of the 12 items, 4 deal with stepfamily concerns. The other items deal with money issues, fear of relationship failure, and resolving damages from the past. Seven of the 12 items deal with specific issues relating to the resolution of their past or the complexity of their present stepfamily.

The top twelve specific issues for married couples come from six general relationship categories:

  • marriage expectations and concerns;
  • children, parenting and step parenting;
  • finances and debt;
  • personality issues;
  • conflict resolution; and
  • communication

Remarriage Stumbling Blocks (in rank order):

  1. They expect difficulty dealing with complex stepfamily issues (88%)
  2. They believe having children from previous relationships will put an additional strain on their marriage (86%)
  3. Creating a stepfamily puts more stress on their relationship (85%)
  4. Having different patterns of childrearing in their birth family can be problematic (82%)
  5. They expect stepfamily adjustment to be difficult (78%)
  6. They don’t have a specific plan for money management (73%)
  7. They have concerns over unpaid bills, debts, or settlements (66%)
  8. They feel their partner is too stubborn (65%)
  9. One or both of the partners goes out of their way to avoid conflict with the other (63%)
  10. They have a fear of marital failure (63%)
  11. One or both partners feel responsible for the problems when they argue (61%)
  12. One or both partners have not yet worked through the issues and hurts from previous relationships (58%)

Notice how many of the stumbling blocks pertain to the complexity of marriage in a stepfamily and the couple’s past.

In order to empower couples, it is important to focus on the resources
used by strong marriages. This study of marital strengths is in contrast to most studies of marriage that focus on only marital problems.


  • David H. Olson, Amy Olson-Sigg & Peter J. Larson 2010: National Survey of Remarried Couples

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

Recent Posts


See all