The Marrying Kind

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….and I mean really alone. I had no friends and no family nearby and worked by myself. What I learned from that experience is I’m not afraid to be alone at all. Fear has nothing to do with my desire to share experiences with someone else.

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.”

February 13, 2013 – Will you marry me?

Reader Comments

  1. Christine

    My mom was married 4 times, twice to my father. She’s also been divorced 4 times. My great grandmother was married 6 times. I’ve been married and divorced once…. and I’ve been with my “spouse” (boyfriend? I hate that word) for 21 years now (come the end of this month). People will judge you because they fear being judged themselves. Not because you’re doing anything wrong. I’m loving this story! Thank you for sharing!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Christine, thank you so much for that. I have held onto this fear of being judged for far too long. It helps to hear about your Mom and Grandmom. And, right, don’t you hate the term “boyfriend”?

    • Wendy Allott

      I don’t know about other parts of the world but in Australia, once a couple are living together or it’s otherwise clear they’re in a de facto marriage, then we refer to them as partners, which I think is nicer than boyfriend or girlfriend (which reminds me of high school). A couple should be partners in life, I think.

  2. Stephanie Skelly

    Wow.. No judgement from here. I just respect and appreciate you all the more for sharing your heart and being real. What a risky, scary thing to share in so many ways. I haven’t read all your other stories, so I’ll get back to those. I’m sorry for the judgement and criticism you got, but I’m glad for you that you had already known some of what love and healthy relationships looked like so you could discern when you needed to leave a bad situation and when you had found a good one.

    And I’m really glad you were able to change your no…. and not leave John hanging. <3

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Stephanie. It is not easy admitting I’ve been married so many times…even to this day. It’s such a stigma in our society. But my sister, Linda said to me once; “Honey, you should write a book because you never gave up on love.” And here I am…

  3. Tina

    Wow, incredible story. Life is a journey and for whatever reason, those decisions seemed right at the time. The important thing is that you learned from it. So wrong of others to make judgments.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Tina. I think most of us judge others because of fear or maybe lack of understanding of the situation. I know I have done that too.

      I’m so glad I didn’t stop looking for love. I wouldn’t have what I do now, if not!

  4. Molly Jarrett

    I have so many frirnds that have been married 4 or more times that we started the 4+ Club! I was embarrassed and never liked to admit to marriage #3 that only lasted 6 months. Marriage #4 is going strong and we will celebrate our 31st anniversary in July! Im so happy that you gave marriage another chance!

  5. Cindy Scurry

    Honestly, I know it’s hard to not care what people think, but the older I get the more I really don’t care. I didn’t budge a bit when you told me you were married 4 times. Ya know…we live and learn. I’m just glad you didn’t stay in the wrong marriage! I’m so glad you found your perfect match! Thankfully, you thought thru that NO and made it a YES! yay! I don’t know John, but now I love him too! 😉

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Cindy. Whew…what a story!
      It has taken me a long time to first admit that I cared what others think, and then secondly, let it go. Not always easy.

      John is a great guy. I’m so glad I never stayed in a marriage or relationship that wasn’t good for me in the long run. I wouldn’t have found John if I had.

      Much love to you, my friend! Xx

  6. Wendy Allott

    One of the gifts of getting older is learning that other peoples’ judgment says more about them than it does about you. But at the time, it still stings. Thank goodness you made the right decision for you…and John 😉

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Very true, Wendy. We live in a society, not a bubble, so it makes sense that the world around us affects us so. But if I worried about what other people thought, I may have missed out on what I have now. Xx

  7. Anonymous

    All I can say is that you’ve got to be one heck of a woman to attract them in the first place.This coming from me ,who could barely muster one proposal ( which was hard in coming). I always wondered if it didn’t work out if anyone else would’ve cared to ask.(I hardly think so). See , we all have our insecurities whether married once or twenty times. Kudos to Jon who finally had the right formulae to keep you. Fact is you’re a hot man-magnet.😁

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Ha! That last line!

      But, yes you are right…we do all have our insecurities. And really, if I let other people’s judgment hold me back, it’s my fault if I’m not happy. Life is sweet and I am so glad I never gave up on love. Thanks for reading!!

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