But What Will People Say?!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

This last “objection” was a doozie, and it all comes down to the social stigma attached to someone who’s had multiple marriages. It’s a lot to get past, the one that is more external than internal, and the one that has the greatest chance to repeatedly raise it’s head in public forums.

word art of a "broken" society

image via stock.xchng | photography by eliteds3

Some people? Are judgmental, narrow-minded busybodies who get off telling other people how to think and live.

I generally don’t like those people, but they happen to be the people that come up with “rules” like:

  • Brides can only wear white if it’s their first wedding.
  • A second marriage doesn’t deserve all the fanfare of the first.
  • Divorce is a “four letter word.”

And so on and so forth.

While I acknowledge that everyone has a right to their own opinions and beliefs, I disagree with their opinions/beliefs taking away (legally or societally) my right to choose what is best for me in my situation. Walk a while in my 4″ heels, please, before you pass judgement, okay?

For those of us who’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to learn to be more open-minded (because it is a learning process, and sometimes a painful one), we realize that a bride can wear whatever color she wants to regardless of the number of weddings she has or hasn’t had before. That divorce is a fact of life these days and, yes, sometimes even a necessary “evil.” And that any marriage, whether the first or the fourth, deserves any type of celebration the couple wants.

I’d even go so far as to theorize that when we, as a society, expect or suggest that a second, etc. wedding should be down-played and not celebrated starts that marriage  under a dark cloud, and that’s never a good thing!


Ultimately, the only opinion that really counts is yours and his, but those negative opinions are still out there, and sometimes you do come face to keyboard with them. And your confidence in humanity plummets.

What it really comes down to is that people make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them. While I’m not 100% sure that “if, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” is the best credo to follow in this situation, it’s not all wrong, either. You take something away from every relationship, good or not-so-good, and you apply that education to the next one. And we keep trying to find the one that fits because we all want the same thing: to be happy. We deserve it, if we’re lucky enough to find it.

After a failed marriage or two, though,we’re not able to be starry-eyed in love and think that marriage automatically means forever. We know how things can change, how they can go downhill and you just need to get out. So facing that prospect, once again, is terrifying. But they say, bravery is being afraid and doing it anyway, so we’re going to choose to be brave in the face of marriages crumbling (and the statistics stacked against us) and hope for the best possible scenario for the rest of our time together.

Did you ever come up against a social stigma you knew was unjust,
wedding-related or not? How did you handle it? 

Just a Piece of Paper, Or Is It?

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Another objection I had to overcome had to do with the legal side of things. It’s a product of being jaded by the past, I fully admit, but it needed to be addressed in order to move forward.

Contract application and pen

image via stock.xchng | photography by EyeLens

“It’s just a piece of paper, what will it change?”

Well, if you read my earlier experiences, it changed a lot (and not in a good way). But even if we’re not talking Stepford-switch-level of change, things are going to change once we’re officially man and wife.

For one thing, we won’t have to correct people who assume that we’re married. After all, we’re in our 30s and 40s, are happy together, considerate of one another and share a home. We’re married, right? Soon we’ll be able to say “of course!”

It also makes things easier from a legal standpoint. A very non-romantic reality is that not all states recognize long-term relationships that aren’t legally sanctioned. This can prove troublesome if something happens to one person and decisions need to made or you just want to visit them in the hospital! Billing issues on the utilities? A spouse has more pull than a roommate or just plain girlfriend. It’s boring, and annoying, but it’s true.

Another thing I was fond of saying for all those years I was convinced I’d never remarry (never say never, right?) was that marriage represented a legal contract that obligated me to be in a relationship. It was far more special that I chose to be there every day, right? Yes and no. There’s something to be said about a sense of security, and that’s–I suppose–is the main thing that the marriage certificate represents.

Also, a marriage certificate represents expectations, and expectations are dangerous things in relationships (or can be). Expectations had gotten me into trouble in the past: painting a rosy future and then being disappointed when it didn’t come true. Thing is, we expect our partners to just know what we want. And while I do actually believe in metal telepathy (but not that everyone who claims to have it really does–I’m not that gullible), most of us aren’t marrying mind readers.

Having finally grokked this concept, I approached the relationship with Mr. Trip on a very one day at a time basis. I did my darnedest not to look ahead beyond the next weekend together or the next phone call. And because I didn’t spend my free time dreaming up “one day” scenarios, I think we’ve been much happier for it and I really do think that’s why this relationship was different from all the rest. I placed no expectations on him from one moment to the next so he never had the opportunity to disappoint me. Over time, though, we’ve had to start expecting things (like we each pay our bills, now that we’re living together, that sort of thing) but they are all stated expectations that both parties agree upon, which also lessens the potential for disappointment.

It’s not that we’re finally starting our lives together–nope, we’ve been there for a few years, now–it’s that we’re taking the next step. The step where it’s no longer a weird if-you-want-to-then-so-do-I sort of feeling when it’s time to renew the lease or sign a contract or make plans for a year or more down the road.  It’s how we relate to each other a little differently, it’s a tangible sign, a public declaration, that we’re in this together, not just for now.

What does the marriage certificate represent to you?

Money Matters When Considering Matrimony

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Continuing on in the quest to quell my initial objections to a third marriage, our respective financial status was another facet I had to come to terms with before I agreed to become Mrs from Ms.

Dollar sign casting a long shadow

image via stock.xchng | illustration by rigor789

Ages ago I heard that sex and money were the two main reasons for arguments in relationships.

For the average couple of a first-wedding age in their early-to-mid 20s, both halves of the whole are either in college, just out of or just starting those entry-level jobs. Money has more to do with making ends meet than anything else.

Fast forward to the second or third-time bride and the picture might look a little different:

  • you’ve probably been in your career for several years, maybe even gotten a promotion or three;
  • you may have some savings, a retirement plan or investments;
  • you may also have a certain amount of debt either in credit cards, a mortgage, business loans or some combination thereof.

Remarriages also mean there’s a past to be considered. Does one partner have children from a previous marriage? Aside from the step-parent duties the other may be taking on, there might be child support or alimony to figure into your future budgets.

My financial past is has a couple of significant hills and valleys. I’ve been so upside down while finishing my degree that I couldn’t pay my rent and car payment in the same month (and only a bail out from a friend kept said car from being repossessed). And I’ve also paid off all the debt I was left with after my first divorce and lived credit card-free for a few years.

I may not have completely learned my lesson last time as now I’ve got a wallet full of store and major credit cards that I was not as wise as I meant to be with. Add to that a hefty student loan and my financial picture isn’t as bright as I want it to be. I’ve put a strategy in place for paying each off, in turn and over time, but it won’t be complete before we’re married. And that bugged me since Mr. Road Trip has recently paid off all of his major debts. I really was worried that I’d be burdening him, credit-wise, were we to marry before I took care of all of that pesky consumer debt.

Things like personal credit cards generally aren’t affected by one’s marital state, I learned (unless you add your partner onto the account, that is). Student loans, however, especially if you’ve petitioned for a reduced payment based on income or hardship, do take a spouse’s income into account to some degree, but they still belong to the person who accrued the debt, not to the marriage that came after.

For this reason, and to avoid any shocking revelations in the future, it’s a good idea to sit down and have a heart-to-heart (or, should I say, checkbook-to-checkbook) discussion with your intended, just to make sure you both know what you’re getting into. This is a good time to discuss things like combining checking accounts versus keeping them separate, future big purchases and the realities thereof and how you’ll handle the household bills (and which ones could be combined) once you’re married.

Because we were already living together–and Mr. Road Trip actually had a couple periods of unemployment after he moved to Florida courtesy of those wonderful economic dips a while back–we were pretty aware of where we both stood. Still, it was worth a discussion on our part just to make sure–we all know what assuming does, right?

On the upside–two people mean two incomes (usually) and that means a better combined buying power if you do want to make a significant purchase in the future.

Was debt something that crossed your mind before saying ‘yes’?
How did you make peace with the money monster?

The Only Thing Constant is Change

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Continuing to examine the reasons I was hesitant to take the matrimonial plunge again, we come to the “don’t screw things up” argument:

Heart-shaped leaf on wooden slats

image via stock.xchng | photography by eglanvil

Things are fine the way they are, why rock the boat?

This is, possibly, one of my greatest fears about taking the marriage plunge for a third time. Mainly because of the changes that occurred the first two times around.

~~~Story Time~~~

For most of my childhood, Mom was a single mom. She has a strong, dominant personality–a force to be reckoned with–and she raised my brothers and I to be responsible, independent individuals.

Being the rebellious teen, I did the exact opposite. I didn’t want to be a strong, independent individual! I wanted the picture of family I saw at church: strong husband, demur wife, kids and family abounding.

So that’s what I asked for, and that’s what I got. Sort of. Kinda? Okay, not even close, but there’s more to that story than is pertinent to today’s discussion.

The second time around I thought I’d learned quite a bit more about myself and what I wanted out of life. After being on my own for three or so years I had learned a certain amount of independence but, oh, I longed for the picture that had been painted for me all those years ago about the “perfect” marriage and family. I was a bit saucy, a bit daring, willing to try new things and go after what I wanted.

Until I signed that marriage certificate.

It’s like a switch flipped and I was back to being (trying to be, that is) the demur little wife.

If he considered my disagreeing with or correcting him a sign of disrespect, regardless of if he was wrong or not? Okay, I’d keep my thoughts to myself. Those who know me, now, wonder how I managed to do that. But I did. For close to three years.

~~~Back to Reality~~~

I wasn’t me when I was married.

More to the point, I was trying to be something completely different from how I’d been raised because I was caught up in what I thought a wife should be. And I really didn’t like it.

In fact, when Mr. Road Trip and I made the decision to move in together, I was scared that switch would flip again. What if I don’t want to cook dinner one night? What if I don’t clean up as much as he wanted me to? What if? What if? What if?

I knew how to have roommates and I knew (more or less) how to have a husband–I didn’t know any in-betweens.

But we’ve worked it out. We take turns cooking dinners and if one of us feels like bailing one night, we deal with it. It just so happens that we really like sitting down to dinner, together, every night so the fend-for-yourself nights are few and far between. Neither of us are neat freaks, we each do our own laundry and keep our own checking accounts and clean when necessary and don’t rag the other about something left undone.

Still, marriage changes you–even if you’ve been living together as good as married for years (which, we recently found out, is still technically illegal in the State of Florida–the hell?!), that piece of paper, the change in Facebook status, whatever, is going to change the way you see yourself, your partner and your life. I’m still a little scared of flipping that switch again, with the introduction of a marriage license. I’m hopeful, though, that the foundation we’ve built together will serve us pretty well so that after the party we’ll continue as we were but with more: more love, more days together, more fun to be had.

After making a new life for yourself, it’s hard to let someone in–truly in–to your life again. When it’s houses and leases and contracts it’s even harder. Suddenly you go from being the only decision maker back to decision by committee. That’s why Mom never remarried, or even dated, after Dad was out of the picture. Change was just too much of a chance.

But, you know, change isn’t always a bad thing, is it?

Did you ever experience a “Stepford-wife” syndrome?
What steps did you take (or have you taken)
to keep from having a repeat experience?

What’s In a Name?

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
Signing a name

image via stock.xchng | photography by wagg66

I had a lot of objections and misgivings that I had to work through before putting the marriage discussion on the table with Mr. Road Trip. The idea of changing my name was one I contemplated early on.

Looking back, I’m not surprised that my heroine-of-choice during my pre-teen and beyond years was Scarlett O’Hara (Hamilton Kennedy Butler).

I used to think it was the whole star-crossed love story between her and Ashley (which I now realize to be a ludicrous thing to want) but now I know that her penchant for collecting last names that was foreshadowing my own future.

Still, she did end up with the right man on her third time around…

Taking my first husband’s name was a no-brainer. It was, after all, what was done. After having my maiden name picked on in school (it happens to be a fairly well-known name but, unfortunately, we weren’t related to any of the famous ones) I was glad to be rid of it and, hey, I moved from the middle of the alphabet all the way to the very front. Bonus!

Of course, even though we thought it was fairly straight forward, spelling-wise, it was frequently butchered with extra d’s, t’s, e’s and I forget what else. So, when I got married the second time I welcomed a very normal last name that just about anyone could figure out how to spell.

Sure, it might as well be Jane Doe as far as plainness goes, but, again, it just made sense to change it. I certainly had no desire to keep my first husband’s name.

All of this, you understand, was before the Internet really took off. Oh, sure, it was around (I met my second ex online, after all) but things were, honestly, different back in 2002. While I did buy my first domain in 2003, it wasn’t tied to my legal name other than on the registration. There was MySpace around that time, but Facebook hadn’t taken off. Screennames were de rigueur.

But now  is a different story. There’s all the accounts I now have open in my 2nd official alias (did you know that when you apply for a passport you list your maiden and any other names under aliases?): credit cards, taxes, registrations and all sorts of things. And, yes, I own [mynameonline].com.

I live my life 80% online, at least it feels that way. Between online banking, shopping, websites–my own and others that I interact on–I couldn’t even tell you how many places I’d have to go to update my identity.

And, yet, I’m thinking about it. Thinking very much that I will.

Because, at the end of the day, I don’t want my ex’s name hanging around after making that commitment to Mr. Road Trip. I opted to keep my new name after the divorce because it was easier. All my current friends knew me by it and it was just simpler not to have to get used to another identity. Plus, I didn’t feel like the girl I was before I married so going back to my maiden name almost seemed like regressing.

While changing your name may or may not be an issue for your situation is something only you can decide. After thinking about it, though, I think it was just an excuse. Especially now that I know about sites like MissNowMrs.com that exist to aid (and speed up) the change-the-name-game process that was part of my objection.

Now I’m just debating which name/initial to keep for my middle!

Was changing your name (again) a major issue for you
or was it an easy decision?