My morning ritual has altered. My eyelids open to a moment of peace, then, stretching, I see my new-ring-on-it finger. Reality sinks in, followed by panic. I’m married. Again. What was I thinking?
Marriage is not new to me. I’ve been in wedded bliss before… divorced, single mother, have the now-grown daughters to prove it. That was followed by a ‘fiancé’ of 10 years, then by three years with a love-of-my-life-gone-wrong. After that, I gave up and went solo. Alone was easy. After all, every life-risk in the name of romance had failed me. So why get married again? And to a man who is more than 10 years younger?
Was it because, at 50-something, my ‘you-go-girl’ feminism was losing its chutzpah? Last week, at the cinema, a woman sitting next to us handed her water bottle to her husband. ‘I can’t open this,’ she said. Her right thumb ached. So does mine.
Yet it’s not the aches and pains that consume my doubting mind; it’s my soul that struggles. I’m old-fashioned at heart. I believe society applies judgements to titles. ‘Mrs’ sounds serious. At a certain age ‘girlfriend’ sounds juvenile, ‘partner’ sounds like an excuse for a title you couldn’t come up with. For 10 years, I’d lived with a ‘fiancé’ who wouldn’t step up. He was going through a long-term, war-of-the-roses-divorce and saw my need for marriage as a flaw. For him, it was a step towards succumbing to age and time.
At a certain age, we have to start believing this is a friendly universe and just surrender to what is. Not to get all esoteric, but my husband is a good man, a good soul, and he nurtures me. I’d never been adored before. My friends say I want security. Don’t we all? I’m quite certain there isn’t a happily-ever-after. But there is resolution.
To do this now, I had to let go of my narrative of an epic love story. I’m a writer and have always fallen for crazy writer men. But my husband is a tech geek. He knows how to solve problems instead of creating them.
I’m certain I’m not settling. Stable doesn’t equal dull; predictable doesn’t equal stale. A silent part of me wanted to prove to myself that I could fall in love with a man who wasn’t a narcissist, as I have so many times before… a man who wasn’t more in love with himself than another human being.
As I roll out of bed, snap up the shade and the rain trickles melancholy on the window pane, I’m certain of one answer to my marriage quest, and that’s this: the quality of my husband’s love makes me want to be the best wife I can be.