But second love requires some common sense. That’s what I found out when I went to a birthday party and a wedding broke out! Perhaps I should explain? We have some long-time friends we’ve traveled with for 20 years. They have been a couple for as long as we have known them, and then some: twenty-four years. She was divorced; he, widowed. So they “hooked up” in modern parlance and have grown in love over the years as they’ve traveled the world together.
Last weekend, we were invited to an all weekend bash to celebrate her 70th birthday. We had a pre-party Friday evening, the big birthday bash Saturday evening, and wrapped it up with a Sunday brunch. It was all very festive and we reconnected with many friends.
Friday was wonderful. Saturday evening came, and when we reconvened for a lovely dinner, her beau who was hosting it, stood up, invited her to join him at the front, and said he had three questions for her: How many countries has she been to? (277) What was her favorite one? (The next one) And then he got down on his knee and asked: Will you marry me? After a communal gasp, she said yes, and explained that in Colorado you don’t need to be married BY someone; you can just marry each other, as long as you have the proper paperwork and the required witnesses. And that is what they proceeded to do! None of their closest friends knew this was coming. They repeated their vows to each other. He slipped a gorgeous ring, purchased in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, of course, on her finger and they were married! Lots of laughter and tears as we celebrated their joy.
Back to the point: not only did they NOT rush into marriage (24 years-seriously??), but they checked out all the legal and financial ramifications before they did: things like divorce settlement and pension issues. Neither had children, which made it simpler. When I talked to her later, she explained that there was no downside to it. Our country is pretty pro-marriage. So Mazel tov all around!
For many couples, that’s not the case. Besides children worried about losing their inheritance, many couples could lose necessary retirement income from survivor benefits and others by getting married. Because of that, to stay solvent, they live together outside marriage. So I guess it pays to look before you leap. Our friends did and were able to leap with abandon. Me? I’m going to keep my original model, going on 45 years now. What’s his is mine and vice versa. That works for us.