Girl Gone Authentic: Here Comes the Bride (AGAIN)

Warning: vulgar language/curse words in this blog post.

I’ve been with David for a long time now, over 8 years. He has discussed marriage several times over the years, but I’ve always been hesitant. Know this: it’s not because I had doubts about loving him or wanting to be with him for the rest of my life. Part of the hesitation was because I was too afraid to finalize my divorce, which would force me to face my ex-husband (see previous blog posts about that whole mess). Part of the hesitation was because of his ex-wife (see previous blogs about who I call the PES); she is the type of woman who is so petty and vengeful that she’d try to sabotage things.

Those aren’t the only two reasons why I was hesitant to get married for a second time. A part of my fear was financial – as long as I stayed legally married to my ex-husband, he had to keep me on his health insurance. If I finalized the divorce, I would have to pay for my own health insurance. I looked into the cost, and it would be approximately $400 a month to get my own health insurance through my employer. That’s a lot of money! David’s health coverage through his job (at the time) was mediocre and it would have been a bit pricey to add me if we got married.

The final reason I hesitated to get remarried was me. I had already failed at marriage once, and I don’t like to fail at anything. Even though my ex-husband put me through hell, I still blamed myself for everything that happened. Maybe if I’d been a better person, my ex-husband would have been nicer to me and I wouldn’t be divorced. I figured that even though David loved me and I loved him, maybe I’d fuck it up if we got married.

Each time David would talk about getting married, I’d give a different response. “I’m not divorced so I can’t get married.” “I don’t have enough money left over each month to get my own health insurance.” “Your ex-wife would just try to get money out of you since I make a good living.” “Why do we need to get married because we aren’t having any kids together?” “You don’t really want to marry me anyway; you’re just saying this because you feel like you HAVE to marry me.” Sometimes, I would even get drunk and feel sorry for myself, which is out of character for me because I rarely drink, and I get drunk even more infrequently than that.

I think what it came down to for me was my own self-worth. Why would this man really want to marry me? My own ex-husband, the father of two of my kids, didn’t really want to marry me. We got married because we had two kids together. We didn’t get married for love. We got married out of obligation, though I didn’t see it that way at the time.

I didn’t believe that anyone would ever want to marry me because they loved me. It had to be because David wanted something from me – financial security, a decent mother for his daughter – not because he actually loved me and wanted to be with me. Sometimes, I would tell him these things, and I could see the hurt in his eyes. It didn’t stop me, though, because I didn’t have a strong sense of self-worth when it came to my romantic life. I didn’t think I really deserved to be happy.

This went on for years. David was so patient with me. If I’d been him, I don’t know if I would have waited for me to “shit or get off the pot.” Not to say that he never got frustrated with me because I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t bother him that I wouldn’t marry him. At no point, though, did he ever suggest that maybe our feelings for each other weren’t strong enough for marriage. I was grateful for this because I love this man more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone in a romantic sense.

The years went on, and a few things happened to make me start to rethink my stance on not getting married again.

The first event took place in November 2018. My middle son got married. David and I went to the wedding (of course!), and my son had David serve in a “father of the groom” capacity (he gave the “dad” speech at the rehearsal dinner). My ex-husband was also there (of course), but he seemed like an outsider at our son’s wedding. David took me aside and told me that it felt like OUR son was getting married (not just “my” son). That was very touching to me. At the reception, he drank with the groomsmen and was quite “romantic” with me on the dance floor (not in a vulgar way LOL). He asked my sons and his daughter if they thought he should marry me. I walked away quickly, but I started to think about it in a more serious way.

The second event took place in March 2019. My youngest sister got married out of town. David and I (along with my older daughter) went to the wedding. My oldest son and his wife also attended the wedding. I heard David telling my daughter-in-law at the reception that he and I might be the next ones to get married. We were all drinking, so I thought maybe it was the alcohol talking (haha).

The next day, David, my older daughter, and I were going to stop at Six Flags Magic Mountain (we have season passes) before driving home. I typed “Magic Mountain” into Google Maps. Unbeknownst to me, there are two Magic Mountains – one is Six Flags Magic Mountain, the amusement park. The other is Magic Mountain, a camp site that is accessed via a dirt trail. Both of them are in the same general vicinity. We couldn’t figure out why Google Maps kept wanting us to turn down this dirt road with a locked pipe gate. Finally, David told me to pull over into a parking lot so we could figure out why we were being led to the dirt road. David asked me if I entered “Six Flags Magic Mountain” and I said that I just entered “Magic Mountain.” I panicked. My ex-husband would have blown up at me, telling me how stupid I was and that he couldn’t believe I made such a dumb mistake. I started crying and apologizing over and over again. David started laughing and told me how much he loved me. Then he noticed I was crying and couldn’t understand why. I told him that I “ruined” his and my daughter’s day because now we would only have a few hours in the park. He said, “So what? We have season passes. Big deal. I think this is so funny and cute.”

At this point, it hit me. David is NOT my ex-husband. I am safe with him. I never have to worry that he will ridicule me, blame me for “ruining” things, or call me names. Maybe getting married to him will be okay. Maybe I don’t have to worry about a marriage between us ending in disaster.

The third thing also happened in March 2019, and it was a purely financial thing. As I mentioned, one of the reasons I was scared to finalize my divorce was due to the high cost of getting my own health insurance. David found out that he could add me to his health insurance (he got a different job in July 2018 with amazing health benefits), even before we got married. It would cost him money to add me, but if we are married, it doesn’t cost a cent to have me on his insurance. His employer offers FREE health coverage for employees, their dependent children, and spouses. They allow employees to add a “domestic partner” for a fee, and all he had to do to prove “domestic partnership” is show a utility bill or mortgage/rental agreement with both our names on it.

Once he discovered this and told me about it, I made the decision to face my fears and finalize my divorce. The combination of my son getting married, my sister getting married, the “Magic Mountain” debacle, and affordable health insurance were signs (to me) that I needed to finalize my divorce and take a leap of faith with David.

Within a few days of finding out about the health insurance, I visited a paralegal to help with finalizing the divorce (I wrote about this in a previous blog). David and I started talking more seriously about getting married, but he still hadn’t asked me to marry him “officially.” I told him that I didn’t need a fancy ring, or a “grand” proposal (I didn’t need sky writing or “Will You Marry Me” on a jumbotron haha), but I wanted a real proposal. I didn’t get that the first time around, that that was my one “big thing” I requested.

Over the next two weeks, anytime he and I went anywhere, I wondered if it would be the day he proposed. I look back at it and laugh. I was the one who fought getting married for YEARS, yet I ended each day disappointed that he didn’t ask me to marry him. I guess it’s what I get!

For fun (or maybe torture), I started looking at places where we could get married. One thing David said that he wanted was a “real” wedding where we invite people to attend. He wanted to get married in the presence of family and friends. So, I found a few places that seemed like they would be nice and that wouldn’t cost a million bucks. He came with me to look at one place, but we didn’t really like it too much.

On March 31, 2019, we had an appointment to look at a location in Placerville, California. David loves this area – lots of trees, in the foothills, etc. We went to breakfast before our appointment. I thought that he might propose at breakfast, but nothing. I was disappointed but didn’t let it show because I didn’t want the people at the Placerville venue to wonder why we didn’t look happy being there.

The moment we drove into the parking lot, I knew that this was the place where we would get married. It was beautiful. David didn’t say anything at the time, but later he told me he had the exact same reaction when we got there. We went inside, talked to a coordinator, he led us around the mansion to show us everything (we have full access to the venue during the wedding and reception, so guests can “spread out” if they don’t want to dance).

Before we got there, I told David that if we get married, I’d like to do it in January 2020. My middle son (active duty Air Force) and his new wife would be home for a visit, and I really wanted them to be at the wedding. If we chose this place, we would get married on a Friday evening since the venue is less expensive on a Friday versus a Saturday or Sunday. The two Fridays my son will be home are January 3 and January 10, 2020.

As we were looking around the mansion, David leaned toward my ear and said that “this is where we are getting married.” I felt the same way. I could already envision the whole thing.

We went back upstairs to the coordinator’s office, he went over various prices with us (the place is “all-inclusive” and there are different packages that even include the minister, DJ, catering, cake, etc.). The coordinator walked away for a bit so we could discuss it. Even though we weren’t actually engaged, David and I both decided to sign the contract as long as one of our two dates was available.

Our first preference was January 10, 2020, but that date was already taken. However, January 3, 2020, was still available. We decided to lock in the date right then and there, even though we technically weren’t even engaged.

Before we signed the contract, however, another coordinator walked into the office and asked if I owned a gray Honda Accord. I said, “Yes, why?” I noticed that a young couple and an older woman (the bride’s mom” were standing with her. They took me out to the parking lot. The groom had backed into my rear bumper when they were leaving. I could see the damage, but it was actually quite minimal, and likely not noticeable to anyone beyond me (I’m obsessive about noticing dings on my car). You could tell that the groom was gutted. I said, “You know what? It’s your lucky day." I went on to say that I’m getting married at this gorgeous venue and you can barely notice the damage. I can probably buff it out. Take the money you’d have to pay to fix my bumper and put it toward your wedding.

They thanked me profusely and David and I went back into the coordinator’s office. We signed the contract, paid the deposit, shook hands with the coordinator, and walked out the door. Before we went to the car, we walked around the outside of the venue. You can get married outdoors in the front of the mansion, so the grounds are quite lovely.

We walked to the street and were looking back toward the grounds and the mansion. At this point, David faced me and grabbed my hands. He looked at me in the eyes and told me that he never knew that his life could be so good. He told me that he loved me and our life together and that he was so thankful we were together. He pulled something out of his pocket, got down on one knee (on the concrete no less!), opened the ring box, and asked me to marry him. I didn’t even hesitate. I yelled “YES” and helped him get off the ground (we aren’t spring chickens, you know!). He put the ring on my finger and I kissed him, tears in my eyes. I noticed that he had tears in his eyes as well. I won’t forget this moment as long as I live.

He told me that he’d been carrying the ring around for the past couple of weeks, but he never felt like it was the right time. He said that he wanted to propose somewhere “special” where we could come back each year to reminisce/celebrate. He didn’t want to propose at a “chain” restaurant or sitting on our couch at home. He didn’t want to propose somewhere that might be out of business in the future. He said that he actually wanted to take me out of town on a weekend getaway to propose, but our schedules weren’t allowing for it (he worked on weekends at the time). He told me that he didn’t think the proposal was “good enough” for me.

I told him that his proposal was perfect. I didn’t care where we were when it happened. All I wanted was to be asked. I didn’t just want a ring shoved toward me.

I’ve been so happy since that day. On a regular basis, one of us will say, “Guess what?” When the other asks, “What?” we respond with, “We’re getting married” with a stupid grin on our face.

I never thought I’d feel so excited about getting married. I didn’t feel like this the first time around, and I thought that since I’m in my 40s, I would be “mature” about it. WRONG. I feel like a teenager with my first real boyfriend. I didn’t know it could be like this, and I am so very fortunate.

Our family and friends have all had such positive reactions to us making the announcement that we are getting married. I've heard a lot of "it's about time" comments, and I make sure people know that I was the reason it took so long. I don't want anyone thinking I forced David into this.

The best reaction came from my dad. My dad did NOT like my ex-husband, and he wasn't too excited when I told him I was marrying him. In fact, right before I told my dad about it, he made a comment that he was glad I never married him because he didn't like him. Additionally, David has always felt like my dad thinks that he's not "good enough" for me. So, when I told my dad, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. He was really happy for me. He said, "AWESOME." We talked about it for awhile, and then when I went to leave, he told me that he can see most couples not making it. When he hears that someone is breaking up, he is usually not too surprised. He told me that if David and I ever split up, he would be shocked. My dad's reaction made me feel so great about my decision, even though I already felt really good about it.

I’ve had so much fun with the wedding planning so far, which has been made so much less stressful since we decided to use an “all-inclusive” venue. The only vendor we had to hire separately was the photographer; everything else comes with our package. I could have even had them do the decorations, but that's something I wanted to do myself. I'm so excited about this wedding that not only have I already finished the decorations, but they are all boxed and labeled!

The best part? David has been a willing part of the process. He’s been involved with the decisions, not just saying “whatever you want” and making it seem like it’s MY wedding versus OUR wedding. In fact, I don’t know who is more excited – me or him. It’s wonderful


Guess what? I’m getting married!