Getting Married Twice

Sylvia Clare

Oh so many people had theri opinions about our decision

'Why do it again?'

'Can’t you wait?'

'How can you be so sure this time?'

One friend even stopped talking to me as it was clear she thought I had betrayed my feminist principles. I hadn’t, haven’t. I had just met ‘the one’. And I was in my early forties so not prepared to waste any more time.

At first I felt sad that so many friends seemed to doubt my ability to make good decisions in my life.

Depending on how you look at it I guess, I felt that I had about an even record of good and bad decisions and after all you can never tell, until you get past the decision making time and actually live it, how it will actually work out. Life is learned by makingmistakes and moving on after all. Better that than fear driven recalcitrance.

A good decision can still be a good decision, even if it has a limited shelf life after all. It was just right at the time. Actually I’d had some pretty good outcomes too, like giving up my secure teaching job and landing a publishing contract two months later, just as my money all ran out. Never earned as much from it but it meant the world to me.

I have always put myself heart and soul into life, always have, not sure I know how to vary the throttle on myself emotionally, that being a clear outcome of my own ADHD symptoms. Not that I knew about ADHD back then. I just knew this was as right as it would ever get and if it didn’t last forever, I was going to give it my best shot anyway. As I had before. For as long as I could. Never one to do things by half measures.

Not that I hadn’t tried heart and soul before. I had, but had not been met with equal commitment to keep it fresh and alive and loving in the longer term. It was usually me who called it time though too. After all you know when you are carrying emotional dead weight, it is exhausting and eventually you burn out. To others that same person is a joy awaiting to happen, just for you it is over.That had happened enough times for me to know the risks but nothing ventured nothing gained in this life.

So many people doubted my ability to make a go of my life. They just counted the messes and never looked at how much I grew through them all, how much I gained in confidence and depth of insight into how life works. Not one of those friends bought my first officially published book. In fact they put it down. A couple bought my second book though, but many didn’t. I don’t think they liked how I was changing, growing, learning. I think I left them behind; I didn’t jump to their commands any more, I said no to things , I stood my ground etc.

The new man in my life and I had been together three years by the time we actually married and a few of those friends came to our wedding, some married themselves, some single then and still so. We were absolutely certain about each other by then, and wanted to waste no more precious life being apart and being cautious, even though we had both been very badly hurt before.

We had both learned to be independent and self sufficient. We had both learned to be the chief in our own lives. We had to learn to take turns over that one, two chiefs and no subordinates. It could have been a problem but it never was.

We were such different characters, challenging each other to grow and yet supporting each other in that process. Marking the changes and celebrating them. We grew together exponentially through our shared love of all things dharma and spiritual psychology. We utterly complemented each other and completed each other. At the heart was our equal commitment to meditation and mindfulness practice.

That sense of being completed by another is amazing when it is not born from dependency but from growth and development, a process of allowing other to become all they are capable of. Completing by enabling, not controlling or thwarting or undermining.

Neither of us wanted to be lonely into old age but we were and are quite capable of being alone. They are very different things.

The companionship of a soulmate brings everything to life in unexpected ways. I would never want to be without him if possible, nor he me, though if it happened we know we could both cope. It is just such fun living together into our seventh decade, like two kids who finally got the jackpot. Serendipity. We were both prepared to put the effort in to it in order to reap the rewards.

I had never met anyone on any level who was so equal to me, who treated me with such respectful equality, and about whom I felt the same thing. I was prepared to put everything, and I mean everything I had into this relationship. It was so worth any effort it took to keep things together since almost all potential divisions came externally. We learned to prioritise each other and the ‘us’ we were co-creating, as the most beautiful outcome for both of us.

Expectations can be a killer in relationships, especially unspoken ones, and we discussed that up front. No expectations we agreed. Yet we did have expectations which we shared and worked on together. They were positive expectations that gave us goals to challenge ourselves with and adventures to share.

I read so many posts here on Medium that suggest you need to have things sorted out in order to have a good relationship. We both had some stuff sorted but so much more came into view as the years passed us by. You realise in time that this journey is never finished but being on the journey together is what matters, not getting to any destination.

Relationships are a voyage of discovery- being open to what you find is part of the joy, and finding that the other needs you too is actually very re-assuring. I speak from a second marriage that is more delicious than the first few months of meeting were and is coming of age this year with 21 years together. I speak and write from this marriage that was suggested to me as a mistake — too rushed too….. tooo what exactly.

If not then, when??????

I think we both enjoyed finding the vulnerable in each other and taking care of it — of finding out the unexplored darker places and allowing each other to open up in time and gradually. If you have done all the work ever then you are certainly deluding yourself firstly, but also leave nothing to become intimate with other than sex lol.

For our actual wedding we went informal and alternative. We asked for an orchard of fruit trees for presents as we had so much furniture already. We did a formal legal ceremony then did our own one at home in the garden, based on a hand-fasting with Buddhist touches added. We dressed as casual gangsters, me in purple velvet twenties style dress and he in black shirt and cream chinos, both wearing shades. The evening do was a huge bonfire about 15 feet high from all the woodworm and rotten timber from our house which was also covered with scaffolding at the time, having the roof replaced. We sat on all the old carpets scattered around the garden. Twenty eight people stayed the night that weekend end, many of them also making do, as we did, on floorboards to sleep, as our older guests all had the mattressed beds. None of that mattered. It was a glorious and distinctly idiosyncratic way to start what has been a glorious and extremely idiosyncratic marriage of heart, mind, body and soul.

Good luck in your second marriage too, if that is why you are reading this, — I hope you have enough unresolved issues to grow together with. I have never regretted a single second of mine and look forward to as many years to come that we can squeeze out of our aging bodies lol.

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I write about my lived experiences of relationships, mindfulness, spiritual experiences and aging as a feminist, woman and someone with mental health issues. Happiness in life matters more than anything but how we find happiness is often one of our greatest struggles in life. I have degrees in psychology and prefer to base my writing in verifiable data whenever possible.


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