Why Get Married

//Why Get Married

Why Get Married

Really, why get married? There’s not a demand for it, socially, anymore. A couple can just live together for years upon years, have kids even, and never get married. And especially, if you’ve already been there, done that, had kids, built a life, wealth and so on, I mean, why bother?

I really liked being married, though. I liked having someone to work, play, talk, and eat with all of the time. This sentiment was expressed well in the movie Shall We Dance, with Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez. The character played by Sarandon hires an investigator because she thinks her husband, played by Gere, is having an affair. She asks the investigator, “Why do people get married?” He says, “passion”. She responds: “No, because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. I mean what does any one life really mean, but in a marriage you’re promising to care about everything, the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all the time. Every day you’re saying your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it, your life will not go unnoticed because I will be your witness.”

I liked having a witness to my life – my very best friend – and I really missed that when Hugh died.

So, what begins with passion, the Greek eros we discussed last week, after two weeks, or two months, or two years, or maybe, if you’re lucky two decades, usually settles into philia (deep friendship), storge (familial love), and pragma (longstanding love), hopefully with a bit of ludus (playful love) thrown in. In the beginning, you look at that person, your love, and fairy dust is sprinkled all around and you can’t ever imagine your beloved ever doing or saying anything that would remotely upset you. Then one day, he/she picks at her teeth or her underwear in an unpleasant way and poof. Just like that. The magic is gone and the witness is born.

But, there’s more. B and I are getting really tired of calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend – surely we’re too damn old for this? Can we not invent a better word? Partner gets confused, with business, or even alternative lifestyles, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Lover is TMI. Better half? Is this the best we can come up with?

Marrying at fiftysomething is quite different than marrying at twentysomething. I’ve been thinking a lot about my younger self, as B and I did a Canadian commitment ceremony for my family here this past weekend prior to our wedding in Florida next week. I remember waking up in my family home on the morning of my first wedding, nervous and excited. I was pretty disorganized back then. It didn’t bother me one bit, living messily, and I’m pretty sure today’s me would not get along with that person. My lack of organization meant that I didn’t worry about what could go wrong at my wedding because I wasn’t organized enough to extrapolate out. I’m fairly organized these days, with plans in place well ahead of time and a vision about how I want things to go. The difference is I’ve had enough experience to know things will go wrong (sh*t happens!), so you must go with the flow. I suppose the result is much the same, but the environment from which it originates is more aesthetically pleasing.

At twenty, my partnership with Hugh was about building everything: home, businesses, children. It was a dream of family: our family. Since, for B and I, that’s all behind us, what is the dream of the marriage of B and Rita?

It’s more than a title. More than a witness. It’s really a matter of commitment. I guess, what we expect to get out of it, as well as put into it, is essentially the same as any successful long-lasting relationship, minus the joint kids and bank account. Love. Respect. Understanding. A sense of home.

And we have similar goals, me and B. Continuous improvement. The whole mind, body and soul thing. He measures his results with spreadsheets, a hazard of being a recovering accountant. I measure mine with shelves full of journals, written in cursive, destined to become obsolete real soon.

I would starve without B. He would run out of clean clothes without me.

Since we did survive for more than four decades without one another, we know that’s a lie. It sure is fun to have someone to work, play, talk and eat with all of the time again. The partnership continues. Why not get married?

Photo credit Jennifer Raymer.



  1. Lori Quick February 24, 2016 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Congratulations to both of you! So happy you found each other! Really enjoying your blog Rita! So well written and thought-provoking!

    • Rita Hartley February 24, 2016 at 8:33 am - Reply

      Thanks Lori. And thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  2. Kathie February 24, 2016 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Wishing you so continued happiness ahead on the “married” road of life…relishing in much work, play, talking and eating together…Love Kathie, the kids and the grand kids!!!

  3. Marilyn Avent February 24, 2016 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Congratulations to both of you on your wedding. Wishing you many years of wedded bliss!!!

  4. Suzanne Boles February 24, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Congratulations! I’m soooo happy for you.

    Marriage again for me isn’t in the cards. I’ve been married twice. The first, when I was in my early 20s, lasted just under 5 years. My husband, Bob, and I were together over 30 years (married 28 years) when he died.

    I always said I don’t need to be married again. My assets are my own. My children are grown. I can still have a partner who’s there with me every day. Lives with me. Wakes up with me. If that’s what I want. In fact, I met someone. It’s early days, but looks hopeful. He says he’s happy to have a commitment ceremony. I could do that. But Bob was my husband, “till death do us part.” Everyone feels differently I guess.

    I’m glad it works for you. You deserve to be happy!

    • Rita Hartley February 24, 2016 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Thx for sharing Suzanne. We all have our separate stages and pages in life. A bit of this, some of that, depending on where we lie in life’s great mysterious journey. All the best for you on yours!

  5. Deb Shaver February 24, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Congratulations Rita ~ I am so happy for you and Brian.

  6. Heather February 24, 2016 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Beautifully said Rita! As it has been said, people who have enjoyed a great marriage are more likely to marry again after a death. You and Brian are wonderful and talented people who deserve great happiness. I’m glad you’re going to enjoy what comes next, together. Love Heather

  7. Leslie blumas February 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Sweet! Congratulations,

  8. Cathy February 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Again I am so happy for you two. Have a wonderful time in Florida and I can’t wait to see the pictures. Lots of love to you both xxx

  9. Kathy February 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    What a lovely post Rita! John and I will be thinking about you and B on Monday. Congratulations! And let’s try to plan a dinner and movie night to celebrate when you return.

  10. Teresa February 26, 2016 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Beautifully written Rita and a great topic.

    I made the choice of marrying the second time because I wanted to be one soul with my husband. We are soulmates.

    I wish you all the happiness, joy and love!


    • Rita Hartley February 26, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Thx for sharing Teresa. “One soul”. I like that!

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