Kathleen’s Story

Kathleen married for the third time in her late fifties. She had been married for eighteen years the second time when it ended with a difficult divorce. Now in her mid fifties, starting over in a small apartment with very few belongings and little emotional support from her family, her situation was both difficult and daring. She was cautious yet optimistic about life and men. Enjoying her independence and creating a home that truly reflected who she was as a person, she was happy.

Her fiancé had never been married and was nine years her junior. Like many men he was okay being alone. He had dated but not found the woman he wanted to marry.  Then he met my Kathleen. Love found them both and happiness enveloped them. They had lived together for a couple of years when he finally popped the question.

Kathleen was excited but nervous. Feeling as though she had failed at two previous marriages, she was concerned about getting married again. She also enjoyed certain aspects of her independence. Even though she and her fiancé lived together, how they handled their finances, commitments and personal lives had specific boundaries in place that offered her comfort and a sense of control she had not experienced in her marriages. She was anxious about changing the status of their relationship and yet knew no matter what, change was inevitable.

She openly discussed her concerns and fears with her fiancé. He listened and gave her time to get used to the idea of marriage again. They worked on some compromises and plans that eventually set her mind at ease.

They kept their wedding plans quiet and simple. Their budget was very limited and so was their time. They were both working full time and he had recently gone back to school to get a new degree. In addition, her four adult children had different levels of acceptance of her “new” relationship and their uneasiness didn’t make for the most celebratory of gatherings. Her fiancé had been estranged from his family for years.  Considering all of this, they did not want to put family and friends in an awkward setting or situation and it was important that the bride and groom enjoy their wedding day.

Their choice was a civil ceremony at the courthouse in San Francisco with just the two of them in attendance.  He wore a suit and she wore a pretty floral dress and carried a handmade bouquet. It was appropriate, perfect and worked for them. They enjoyed their romantic get away and spent their limited budget on their honeymoon driving down the California coast.

Kathleen had previously had two big church weddings, wore formal gowns and enjoyed all the planning and festivities.  At this point in her life she was very happy with a quiet civil ceremony shared romantically with her husband. I believe that even had her family scenario and budget allowed for a larger ceremony, she still would have chosen an intimate court house wedding.