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How I Knew I Was Ready to Get Remarried (Even Though I Was Terrified)

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I just got back from my honeymoon.

Like this week.

Our wedding day felt like a fairy tale. The ceremony was small—just our children, two witnesses, and a clergyman. We stood in a snowy city park and promised to love and honor and cherish each other. Then, to celebrate the union of our new family, we took the kids to high tea at a beautiful hotel and spent a quiet afternoon together. It was simple and perfect and lovely. 

But getting remarried after my divorce was not something I had planned on doing for a long time, if at all. So choosing to do it was a journey for me. Let me start at the beginning. 

When I was married the first time, I thought things were really good. I was married to a guy who loved the kids, changed diapers, did dishes, flew airplanes. Though I wasn’t deeply fulfilled, things looked all right. With three small kids, what we had was definitely worth keeping together. 

Apparently, he didn’t think so. One day we were saying “I love you” on the phone, and the next day, he was announcing he was done. 

Through the divorce and the years that followed, I often looked back on my decision to marry him and tried to imagine how I would have done things differently. But the truth was, I probably wouldn’t have. He was a good guy, we were in love with each other, and we did our best. After a while, though, he chose something else. And that wasn’t my decision to make. 

I think that’s why getting married again was so scary for me. What if I married another nice guy and he just ended up doing the same thing my first husband did? What if I was just conveniently blaming him for everything and the real problem was me?

So once I started dating, I really wasn’t looking for anything serious. I was more interested in getting to know people, and seeing beyond my own little world. 

One day, after dating a string of people who wanted to get serious, but who just weren’t right for me, I was signing cookbooks at a little event in Salt Lake City. A man came up to the table and asked me about my book and the kind of cooking I liked. He was sweet and nice, and on the drive home I thought, “That guy is going to ask me out.”

Sure enough, the next day, I got an email from him, explaining that he was an author as well. I Googled him, of course, and discovered I had bought his first book for my son for Christmas three years earlier.  

As it turned out, Matt and I were incredibly compatible, and the first time he kissed me, I got light headed and almost fainted. We may just have been off to something epic. 

But I was very cautious about falling in love with him. We kept things simple for as long as we could, and it soon became obvious that finding a better match would have been close to impossible. We liked the same things. We would put into words what the other person was thinking at the very moment they were thinking it. He was wonderful with my children. And they all agreed he was “awesome.” 

The more time we spent together, the more right everything felt. Matt was easy-going, thoughtful, and generous. The more evenings he spent at the house, helping the kids do their homework, or making dinner, the more peaceful our home became. When he was there, our family felt like it was finally starting to resemble what I had always thought it could be. Matt was exceptional, and better yet, he was madly in love with me. As our story unfolded, I realized slowly, and ever so quietly, that I was also in love with him, and every day, that love grew stronger. 

I knew that to let him go, I would have had to be crazy. 

But when we started talking about getting married, I was still scared. What if marriage only brought out the worst in me? What if after several months, I would turn into some selfish, hideous woman—the one my ex-husband believed me to be? 

The answer to that was easy: I always had a choice. I didn’t have to be selfish. I could choose to be my best self. I could choose to not make the same mistakes I had made before. 

But what about the choices I couldn’t make? What if Matt was nice at first, but then ended up choosing another path, just like my first husband?  

My experience had taught me two things: One, that even if he did, I knew I could hold it together. After being divorced for so long, I knew I would still be a whole person, whether I had been chewed up and spit out or not. 

And two, I knew that if Matt were to do that, it would hurt so much more than it hurt with my first husband. 

And that’s where I found my answer. Just by knowing how much more it would hurt, showed me how much stronger our feelings were for each other, and how much stronger our connection was. I could see that what we had was not based on a list of qualities I was searching for in a man. It was based on how I felt about the man himself. I knew that our whole relationship was built on love. 

When I stacked up everything, how Matt and I felt about each other, what I had learned about myself, the promise of a life together was so incredible, that taking the leap again, and getting married, was worth that risk. 

Have you been divorced and then re-married? Was it scary for you to take that leap?

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Photo: Getty