I married Paul in September 1999 when I was thirty-six years old, and although this was my second marriage, it felt more real than my first, and this time, I really wanted to get married.
It wasn’t something I just went along with or drifted into because it seemed like the right thing to do, I knew this was it; it really would be ‘til death us do part.’
My feelings for my husband go way beyond anything I’ve ever felt for anyone else. We have a special relationship, which I know will last us for our lifetime and beyond.
First time around I certainly didn’t think seriously about what we were entering into. We married when I was just twenty-two, without even thinking about our long-term future, but it lasted for thirteen years and we divorced by mutual consent in 1998.
Looking back, I know I was far too young and immature to have made such a commitment - neither of us thought about it properly. But I don’t think youngsters do consider things long-term. How can we expect them to? They live in the here and now; they don’t think as far ahead as forty years.
We change as we get older though; our tastes change and we want different things. In a marriage, one or both of you may change; hopefully you will survive it and grow together, but quite often, people grow apart.
In a way, today’s society has made it easy. It’s taught us that we don’t have to put up with something that makes us miserable, and we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to. So, if someone enters a marriage only to discover it wasn’t what they thought it would be, rather than try to make it work like our grandparents would have, they find a solicitor and start divorce proceedings.
You can get a divorce within three months if you both agree and have no particular issues to sort out, like access to children, financial matters or who’s going to keep the dog!
But years ago, people didn’t give up so easily. They married young – at eighteen, nineteen and twenty, but their relationships lasted. Was that because they were more mature than today’s adolescents, or because they had a different attitude? They worked at things, even though life was a lot harder for them. They lived through world wars with rationing, but they still stayed together.
Did they take their vows more seriously than people do today? Or, did they feel that they’d made their bed, all they could do was lie in it?
Maybe they weren’t brave enough to leave an unhappy marriage; perhaps it wasn’t as easy for them to do as it is today. I think there’s also something to be said for living your life a bit before settling down. How many people marry young, become tied down with kids and money worries then moan about not having had any life? Whereas if they’d ‘got it out of their system’ when they were young, maybe they wouldn’t have felt so resentful.
Paul bought a house next door!
I feel lucky that I met Paul and had a second chance
He was also previously married, so we’ve both got it right the second time. Some people seem to be serial marryers – yes that’s not a real word, but you know what I mean - and are on their fifth or sixth marriages. Maybe they’re addicted to the whole wedding day shebang - the party and the attention etc - but it’s not the big fancy wedding with hundreds of guests and a meringue of a dress that’s important, that’s just one day.
What about the rest of your lives?
What really matters is promising to love your partner forever, and to stand by them through the good times and the bad. Apparently, statistics say that second marriages are less likely to fail than first, and they put it down to age.
We are older and wiser, and once past a certain age we know our minds better, we don’t let that first flush of excitement at falling in love blind us. We are more used to cohabiting, have probably already had children so there’s no pressure there, and there’s often fewer financial worries.
Paul and I
I’m not sure if any of that’s true
I believe in fate, that things are meant to be, and the circumstances in which Paul and I met were more than just coincidence. It was as if destiny put us both in the right place at the right time – that’s a story for another day – I knew as soon as we met that he was the one I should be with, so I’m very happy to be a second timer.