Suppose you’re a divorced man, and your divorce was a doozy.
“I’m not doing the marriage thing ever again,” you declare firmly.
As time moves on, you start realizing that the women you’re dating aren’t going for that. They hear your spiel about all the reasons marriage is unnecessary, and they pretty much say, “Check, please.”
Or, they hear you, and keep dating you, but they bring the topic up again and again. “Are you sure you’ll never get married again? What if you find someone you really love?”
That’s the way it was for a friend of mine. He’s been dating women who, like him, are divorced and, like him, don’t want more kids.
He asked me, “Why are these women so obsessed with marriage? I learned my lesson: Marriage sucks. Why didn’t they learn that lesson, too?”
Is it because they want a man to sink their teeth into and suck him dry? Do they just want a man for money? That didn’t make sense because his wallet was already bone-dry from the last marriage.
If the women didn’t want him for baby-making or money, why were they so insistent on marriage as a long-term goal for the relationship?
Here, I’ll answer that question, giving you 9 reasons divorced women may want to get married again.
When we’re single, women can spend a lot of time dating. We find a man we like. We learn what makes him tick.
‘What makes you tick’ info is specific to each man, so she has to spend a lot of time and energy learning a new man’s preferences.
Does the guy I’m dating like his broccoli slightly mushy, or was that the way the last guy I dated preferred his?
After a break-up in dating, the time and energy spent learning all that ‘what makes him tick’ info feels wasted.
If I was married, I wouldn’t have to keep learning broccoli preferences all over again.
When married, we don’t constantly have to learn a new person’s inner workings from scratch, over and over.
Some women, those who didn’t voluntarily become divorced, may have felt happier when married than they feel while floating around in the single-verse.
What made me happy when I was married was the coming home part. I felt eager to go home.
I liked collecting tidbits in my head all day, thinking “I can’t wait to tell him about this and see what he has to say about it.” I’d think, “I can’t wait to get home to find out what happened with him today.”
I liked exchanging our tidbits while we fixed and ate meals together.
I miss having someone to come home to.
In marriage, we get to go beyond the initial getting-to-know you stuff.
I can’t get away with telling my same old stories that I use to entertain men during the early days of dating. I have to create new stories to make my husband laugh.
Marriage makes me more creative.
I want to stay with this one person over time, watching him change and watching myself change through his eyes.
I want to study this one person, every niche and corner of him, knowing what he looks like in every angle of lighting, every season.
Marriage is a camera.
When we marry, we’re saying, “This is not a relationship we can easily kick to the curb when we’re not happy.”
We may still kick it to the curb. Fair enough. But when problems arise, we’ll try a little harder before we kick it to the curb because kicking a marriage to the curb won’t be as easy as kicking a long-term-relationship to the curb.
In dating, when problems arise, people can just ghost each other.
Maybe women just want marriage because husbands don’t tend to ghost wives.
Marriage is one of the highest compliments I can ever imagine receiving.
A divorced man gave that compliment to someone else — perhaps a woman he saw as worthy of being the mom of his kids.
I don’t agree that marriage is a privilege reserved for people willing to breed.
It’s a compliment for a man to say, “I will put more effort into this relationship for the sake of us, not just for the sake of kids.”
When I’m 60 years old, my boyfriend can introduce me saying, “This is my girlfriend, Lee,” or my husband can introduce me saying “This is my wife, Lee.”
Being introduced as ‘my wife’ is a pretty big compliment, declaring to everyone that Lee is worth the ring action.
I understand that when men have been burnt by marriage, they’re scared. It takes a lot for them to be willing to overcome that fear to give it a go with me. That willingness is a compliment.
I’m scared too. I’m divorced, so I know that pain is inherent to marriage, yet I will work so hard to create a healthy marriage.
My willingness to marry is my way of complimenting a man, saying “To me, you are worth the pain and effort it will take to stay married to you.”
My ragtag collection of friends care about me, but when you’ve been married, then not married, you know that the marriage kind of caring is different.
Marriage is about caring for each other on a daily basis. When I was married, my husband would ask “How was today?” every day, and he cared about my answer.
Marriage involves the caring-for-each-other-in-old-age kind of caring. I want to accompany my husband to doctor’s office visits because I’m his wife, and that’s part of the job description, and I want that job.
Maybe he’ll joke with me or read to me when I’m infirm.
When I was married, I felt cared for in that undefinable way, and I’d like to feel that way again. It’s not that guys in long-term-relationships don’t care, but it just doesn’t feel the same.
My friends love me, but their spouses and kids and family members come first in their lives, understandably.
In marriage, we are each other’s priority.
I want to be the first person my husband calls when he’s been in a car accident.
Given the high divorce rate of second marriages, two divorced people daring to get married have a chance to be uncommon and extra-ordinary.
The second man I marry will be right for me because he’ll share my goal: to never have a second divorce, even if that means he has to be kind and considerate and caring for the next 50 years of his life.
Like me, he will refuse — REFUSE — to give up in the rough patches.
We did our homework after our divorces, learning what we need to do differently to make sure we have a healthy relationship the second go-around.
If we feel like we’re falling out of love, we’ll figure out how to fall back in love.
On our deathbeds, we get to tell the naysayers, “Screw you. We pulled off the best stunt ever — a happiness-inducing second marriage.”
One day I was backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. With zero warning, thunder cracked, lightning ricocheted all around me, and hail pummeled me. I balled up at the foot of the tree, letting my backpack take the brunt. The sky suddenly turned puke-green. The thunder no longer bothered pausing between claps. Lightning no longer came in the shapes of individual bolts; the air was permanently lit. The branches above me seemed to protect me from the hail, but then the wind ripped them off their trunks and threw them at me like daggers. The winds gathered force, blowing in all directions, playing tug-of-war with my backpack. My fingers were stapled into the tree’s bark, but the wind was lifting my feet off the ground until my body was suspended in the air.
I lived. Obviously. Turns out I was on the fringe of an area where tornados landed. Freakn’ scary.
Ever since then, I feel bothered when I’m in my house alone during a storm.
Marriage is not just about physical presence. Marriage is a husband, checking that I’m ok. Checking that I wasn’t impaled by a tree branch. Checking that I made it home alive after a storm.
I’ve given you 9 reasons that divorced women might want to get married again. (Ok, ok, they’re my reasons, but maybe some other divorced women share them.)
Most of these reasons have to do with a feeling, a feeling you only get from being married. Sure, you can have some of the same feelings in a long-term relationship, or from co-habitation with someone you love, but, to me, some of those feelings can only be felt in a marriage.
Did you notice that not a one of the reasons was “because she can’t wait to rake you over the coals”?
The next time a divorced women expresses interest in getting married again, I hope you’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
She may not be looking for her next prey. She may not be trying to have her way with your wallet.
Be impressed with the woman who hasn’t given up on marriage, who isn’t too scared to try again, who hasn’t let herself become jaded, who still believes you are worth the hassle of marriage.