Monday, August 31, 2009

Three Marriages

In response to Vicki Lovine's case for three right marriages in a woman's lifetime one commentator astutely observes :

Young women are desperate to wear the white bridal dress and the groom is often just a prop in the bride's pageant. As far as your theory about people marrying three time in life, again, I think you're spot-on. The ideal has always been to have one spouse for the length of one's lifetime. The problem is that human life spans have nearly tripled in the last hundred years. One spouse per lifetime was great if you only lived to be 30 years old, but now we live much longer than that. You're not the same person at twenty that you will be at fifty. Life changes us as we get older and people drift apart.

The author groups women into two - those that get the formula right the very first time and those that take up to three tries to do so. While her analysis of the rationale that drives marriage at three different stages in a woman's life is spot on, she neglects to mention the baggage that carries over from one marriage to the next making it difficult to parse out what one really does not seek and what one is avoiding out of apprehension.

Even after winnowing the two apart there remains the business of knowing oneself in order to choose a mate well. If the process of self-discovery is done at the time of entering into a marriage, it will be the one that sticks - be it the first or the nth one. Often this exercise is best undertaken in solitude without the noise of short term relationships to disturb the peace. Lucky are those who get it right either by happenstance or by deliberation the first time but lucky are those too who know to exit immediately upon finding out they were wrong. Luckiest however are those who erred at first but got it exactly right afterwards - they are able to appreciate what they have a lot better than those who have never been wrong to begin with.

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