When John asked me to marry him, the first word out of my mouth was “No.” The look of surprise on his face made me want to take it back. The poor guy was standing on a big boulder holding my hands and asking me a question he thought he would never ask anyone again.
But I had made a promise to myself that John didn’t know about.
I was just a few months shy of 54, and life had thrown me some curveballs when it came to romance and especially marriage. If you have been reading my blog, you know this was not my first proposal…or even second.
I got married at 16, 21, 44 and 49; but the only one I counted was the one at 21. That marriage lasted 18 years and gave me my two sons. To me, it was my only true marriage; but legally that wasn’t the case.
From the moment I arrived in Oregon, I had hidden the fact that I was married at 16 from just about everyone; and by the time I was remarried and had kids I figured no one need ever bring it up again.
But then one day at a party at a friend’s house the truth came out. My friend blurted out one of those digs that come with a laugh so as not to sound bitchy. I don’t recall the exact words but they were, in effect, lambasting me for being married at 16 and she said it right in front of my boys. I was mortified.
That was the beginning of a long line of judgment, and getting married again didn’t help matters.
I have been accused, more times than I can count, of being desperate. Several women have taken it upon themselves to offer free counseling and suggested I was afraid of being alone. I’ve been torn down and ridiculed and shamed for being married several times, and I let those indictments absorb into me like water to a sponge.
So I made a promise after my last divorce to say no if I was ever asked again.
I also spent over a year entirely alone after that divorce….a
There is a beautiful movie that illustrates this called, “Into the Wild.” It is a true story, and every time I watch it I cry. In the story, a young man sets off to find solitude. In the end, he discovers he doesn’t want to be alone because sharing experiences with someone is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, he realizes this too late.
I have always wanted to share my life with someone. From the time I can recall, I have been surrounded by family and people who love me, and I relish each of those moments together.
When I walk along the beach or ride my bike or just look up at the night sky, I want to share that experience with someone I love. And I don’t want to be a girlfriend. I’ve always wanted to be married to a wonderful man who loves me and treats me like a cherished friend.
So I decided to let go of what anyone else may think of me and looked into his loving, green eyes and said, “Yes. I will marry you, John.”