“Happy Birthday!” my partner kissed me on the cheek and handed me a coffee. He opened the curtains and we were greeted with a stunning view of the city.
“Wow, this apartment was the perfect choice,” I said, taking in the unfamiliar busy streets and crowded skyline — so different to our small hometown.
The plan for my birthday was walking up a famous hill nearby and enjoy the warm weather.
My partner served up a special brunch and I checked my phone. It was oddly silent. Normally my parents and siblings would have rung by now or at least left a message wishing me a happy birthday. I decided it was probably just too early and, pushing my disappointment aside, got ready for our walk.
A Birthday Surprise
“Look at this place!” my partner announced at the top of the hill. It was gorgeous. A small grass-covered crater was surrounded by trees and gentle slopes.
We walked around to take in the scenery and then found a shady spot to sit under some trees on the edge of the crater.
My partner pulled a picnic from his backpack and handed me a tiny bag. “Here’s a little present for you,” he said. The gift was a sparkly handmade soap. That’s a strange gift, I thought wondering for the second time that day what he was up to. I turned it over and saw a jewelry-store card attached. Had he got me earrings for my birthday?
I wondered for a second if he’d bought me a ring, but I pushed that thought down — he'd told me that was next year's plan.
“Here’s the real present though,” he said holding out a black-and-gold box. The pieces all fell together and my heart started to race.
His voice dropped to a whisper, “Kelly, will you marry me?”
Are Second Marriages Scary?
This would be my second marriage and I had my worries about that, but I was sure about my answer. I nodded. “Of course I will” I whispered back.
After our picnic, we walked down the hill and into a busy shopping area nearby. It was getting close to evening and people were filling up the local restaurants and takeaways.
We walked through the gardens and noticed that more and more of the groups passing us on the street were in costume: a woman in a gory blood-streaked dress, a group of matching cartoon characters on skateboards, a skeleton holding hands with a witch.
“There must be an event on?” I wondered aloud. It was my birthday — wasn’t it? The day after Halloween?
We grabbed some dinner and headed back to our apartment where, still not having heard from my family, I decided to ring my mum and share our engagement news.
“That’s so exciting!” she said, “but you know it’s not your birthday today. It’s tomorrow.” I laughed: that explained the lack of calls and the odd costumes! How did I skip an entire day?
We didn’t mean to get engaged at Halloween; is it bad luck?
I have no idea and I wouldn’t believe in it anyway. Second marriage is a little scary, so perhaps it’s perfect.
You’ve probably seen the terrible stats, like I have, about divorce for second-timers. There’s a lot more baggage to deal with, and a ton of healing and learning to do.
No one can predict the future and I think most of us worry about choosing the right person to marry. No-one wants to face the difficulties of divorce and picking a partner is one of the biggest life-impacting decisions we make.
How do you know they’re the right one?
You can’t 100% know. There are no guarantees. All you can do is judge a relationship on the reality of it as it is now.
If you’ve known your partner for a couple of years, you’ve seen enough behavior and character to make smart judgments about your relationship: past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
All you can do is put in the time and do the work to give second marriage the best chance possible. It doesn't have to be scary.